Massachusetts residents will need to register their vehicles with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to keep their vehicles legally compliant.
How to Register a Vehicle in Massachusetts
To register a vehicle in Massachusetts, residents need to provide proof of insurance, vehicle title, odometer disclosure statement, and payment for the registration fees at their local RMV office.
NOTE: If the vehicle was gifted, or purchased new from a dealership, the vehicle paperwork will be slightly different. Registration fees are based on the vehicle type and length of registration.
Special vehicles, such as custom-built cars, ATVs, snowmobiles, and trailers, have registration requirements all their own. Before MA residents can legally drive in Massachusetts, they must register their vehicle with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).
New Residents of Massachusetts
New residents of Massachusetts, must convert their out-of-state vehicle registration to an MA registration with the Massachusetts RMV within 30 days. Residents of the state of Massachusetts will also have to title their vehicle, which may be done at the same time when they register their vehicle.
Massachusetts residents who have a vehicle that was registered in a previous state for more than 6 months, will be exempt from paying Massachusetts sales tax. Residents are similarly exempt if they purchased a vehicle in Massachusetts and had it delivered to an out-of-state address, and are now registering in MA. Also note that a vehicle will be exempt from titling if:
- It is model year 1980 or older.
- It was purchased before November 26, 1990.
If this is the case, MA residents will be exempt from the $75 titling fee.
Transferring a Registration From Out-Of-State
To convert an out-of-state registration with the MA RMV, individuals must first:
Go to a licensed MA insurance agent and present:
- Proof of a valid Massachusetts auto insurance policy.
- Have the agent complete an Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
- Make sure the agent signs and stamps the application. If there is a lien on the vehicle, the application must state the lienholder’s full name and the vehicle title number.
- Signed registration application.
Once MA residents have obtained insurance and a registration application from the insurance agent, they can visit their local RMV branch and submit:
- The signed Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
- An Affidavit in Support for Exemption from Sales or Use Tax for a Motor Vehicle Purchased Outside of Massachusetts (Form MVU-29), if applicable.
- The out-of-state title.
(If the title is currently held by a lienholder, Bay State residents must submit their out-of-state registration.)
- Payment for car registration fees and the $75 titling fee (see the registration fees section below).
The length of time the vehicle registration certificate is valid is based upon the type of license plate MA residents choose.
- Bay State residents must have a vehicle inspection performed within 7 days of registering their vehicle (please see “Vehicle Inspections” below).
The new title will be mailed to the MA resident or lienholder within 10 business days.
Massachusetts residents who have additional questions about registering their vehicle as a new resident, can contact their local RMV service center or call the RMV help desk at (800) 858-3926.
Registering a Vehicle in MA
The steps for registering a vehicle with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles vary depending on whether the vehicle was purchased from a dealer, or if it was purchased from a private seller or gifted/transferred from a private party.
Vehicles Purchased from a Dealer
Massachusetts residents who purchased a new or used vehicle from a dealer in Massachusetts, must:
- Have the dealer complete the Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
(If there will be a lien on the vehicle, make sure the lienholder’s information is included.)
Take the TTLREG100 application to an MA licensed insurance agent and submit:
- A valid MA insurance policy on the new vehicle.
- Have the agent stamp and sign the application.
Once the MA resident completes the application and purchased insurance, they can visit their local RMV service center and present:
- The completed Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
- One of the following proofs of ownership:
- Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin.
(Required for new vehicles only, and must include date sold, odometer reading, purchase price, and dealer signature on the back of the form.)
- Dealer re-assignment form or previous owner’s Certificate of Title. If a title exists for the vehicle MA residents must bring it into the RMV with them.
(Must include date sold, odometer reading, purchase price, and previous owner signature on the back of the Certificate of Title.)
- Bill of sale and previous registration certificate for vehicles that are age-exempt from titling Payment for registration fees, vehicle sales tax, and the $75 titling fee (if applicable). See the registration fees section below for details.
Bay State residents will receive a vehicle registration certificate and new license plates with a registration decal for their rear plate. The new title will be mailed to the Massachusetts resident or the lienholder within 10 business days. Residents of Massachusetts must also pass a vehicle inspection within 7 days of registering their vehicle.
Vehicles Purchased or Gifted from a Private Party
The process differs slightly based upon whether MA residents are purchasing the vehicle, or it has been gifted or transferred to them from a family member.
Residents of Massachusetts who have purchased their car from another individual through a private sale, must:
- Obtain auto insurance from a licensed MA insurance agent.
Have the insurance agent complete, sign, and stamp an Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
If there is a lien on the vehicle, make sure that the lienholder’s information is included on the application.
Once Bay State residents purchase insurance and have completed their application, they can visit their local RMV service center and present the following:
- A completed Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100) with the insurance agent’s stamp and signature.
- The Certificate of Title from the previous owner, signed by both the MA resident and the seller.
If the title has room for the sales price, include it where indicated. If it does not, submit a bill of sale indicating the sales price.
- The bill of sale or previous vehicle registration, if the vehicle was age exempt from titling (see “Titling Exemptions” above).
- A statement of mileage (odometer disclosure statement).
- Payment for the registration fees, sales tax, and the $75 titling fee, if applicable.
Massachusetts residents will receive their Massachusetts car registration and license plates immediately, and they can expect their new title to arrive within 10 business days. MA residents must also complete a vehicle inspection within 7 days of the date of registration.
Gifted or Acquired Vehicles
Residents of Massachusetts who received a vehicle as a gift or acquired it in another way from a friend or family member may be exempt from paying sales tax if they received the vehicle from their:
- Father or mother.
- Husband or wife.
- Sister or brother.
- Son or daughter.
To register a gifted vehicle:
- Visit an insurance agent licensed in MA to purchase insurance on the vehicle.
- Have the insurance agent complete, sign, and stamp an Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
- Verify the information on the form and sign the form.
- Next, go to a local MA Registry of Motor Vehicles service center and present the following:
- The Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
- A completed Affidavit in Support for Exemption from Sales or Use Tax for a Motor Vehicle Purchased Outside of Massachusetts (Form MVU-26).
One of the following:
- The previous owner’s Certificate of Title that includes:
- The odometer reading.
- The signatures of the MA resident and the previous owner(s).
- The date of transfer.
- “GIFT” written for the purchase price.
- A bill of sale, if the vehicle is exempted from titling
- Payment for the Massachusetts vehicle registration fees, the $75 titling fee (if applicable), and the $25 gift fee. See the registration fees section below.
Massachusetts residents can expect to receive their new title in the mail within 10 business days. Make sure to complete a vehicle inspection within 7 days of registration.
Transferring an Existing MA Vehicle Registration
Bay State residents may transfer an existing vehicle registration to a newly-purchased vehicle if:
- The vehicle registration is still active.
- The owner(s) listed on the registration will not change.
- Both vehicles meet the same license plate standards (i.e. cost the same to register).
Bay State residents have 7 days from the time they sell or dispose of their old vehicle to transfer its registration to the new one, as long as:
- Residents are at least 18 years old.
- The new vehicle is the same type as the old vehicle (e.g. same number of wheels, cost to register, etc.).
- Massachusetts residents carry the transfer documents containing the old registration number at all times during the grace period.
- The resident sold or otherwise disposed of the old vehicle.
- The old license plates are attached to the new vehicle.
To complete the registration transfer, follow the steps described above for registering a new vehicle based on how the vehicle was acquired (i.e. purchased from a dealer, private sale, gifted, etc.). Notethat there will be an additional $25 transfer fee.
Vehicle Registration Fees in MA
Massachusetts vehicle registration fees vary depending on factors such as:
- The type of vehicle being registered (i.e. passenger car, motorcycle, etc.).
- How often the MA resident chooses to renew their car registration (annual or biennial).
Residents of Massachusetts can choose to order standard or specialty plates. Some base fees for registration are:
- Passenger vehicle registration (2 years): $60.
- Motorcycle registration (1 year): $20.
- Title fee: $75.
- Duplicate registration: $25.
Sales Tax Requirements & Exemptions
Sales tax is calculated at 6.25% of the purchase price of the vehicle. Bay State residents may be exempt from paying sales tax on a vehicle if:
- The vehicle is being gifted or transferred from a family member.
- The vehicle was purchased out of state and registered there for over 6 months.
- Residents of MA previously purchased a vehicle in Massachusetts but had it delivered and registered in a different state.
MA residents who are registering a vehicle purchased in Massachusetts but previously registered elsewhere, must include the following items with the registration documents described above in order to claim their exemption:
- The bill of sale or letter of invoice.
- The Letter of Delivery including:
- Name, phone, and address of the seller.
- The name of who delivered the car.
- The address for where the vehicle was delivered.
- The name of who took delivery of the car.
- Delivery method (e.g. driven by seller, towed, etc.).
- The signature of the person who sold the car, or authorized representative if the vehicle was bought from a dealership.
Non-Residents in MA
Non-resident students who maintain residency in another state and are living or commuting to Massachusetts (for the purposes of school, work, etc.) do not have to register their vehicle with the MA RMV.
However, all non-resident students operating a vehicle in the state with an out-of-state registration must submit a Nonresident Driver Statement (Form REG102) to their local police department. Failure to comply may result in a $200 fine.
Vehicle Inspections in Massachusetts
Once MA residents register their vehicle, they have 7 days to successfully complete a vehicle inspection. A vehicle inspection involves two parts:
- Safety test.
- Emissions and smog check.
All vehicles must complete the safety test, and most vehicles must also complete the emissions and smog check, but there are exceptions.
Motorcycle Registration in Massachusetts
Before individuals can ride a motorcycle on the roadways of Massachusetts, they must register it with the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).
New Residents of Massachusetts
After establishing Massachusetts residency, individuals have 30 days to register the motorcycle.
BEFORE going in to transfer motorcycle registration, residents of Massachusetts need to do both of the following:
- Buy Massachusetts motorcycle insurance.
- Have their insurance agent sign the Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
MA residents can finish applying for their MA motorcycle registration by heading to their local RMV office with:
- A completed and signed Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
If there is a lien on the motorcycle, include the lienholder’s information on the application.
- One of the following sales tax documents:
If MA residents owned their motorcycle for:
- More than 6 months prior to the individual’s move: A completed Affidavit in Support for Exemption from Sales or Use Tax for Motor Vehicles Purchased Outside of Massachusetts (Form MVU-29) to qualify for sales tax exemption.
- 6 months or less before moving: A bill of sale to determine the amount of MA sales tax MA residents need to pay.
- Proof of MA motorcycle insurance.
- Proof of ownership, such as the:
- Out-of-state title.
- Registration IF a lienholder holds the title.
- A Power of Attorney from the leasing company, if applicable.
- Payment for the $20 registration fee PLUS any other applicable fees.
After registering a motorcycle, Bay State residents have 7 days to have it inspected at a certified inspection station.
Registering a MA Motorcycle
The process to register a motorcycle with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles varies depending on whether residents are:
- Applying for a new registration.
- Transferring an existing registration to a new motorcycle.
MA residents who are applying for a new motorcycle registration, the process varies by whether they bought it from either a dealer or private seller. To begin the registration process, MA residents need to:
- Ask the dealer to complete an Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
If there is a lien, include the lienholder information on this form.
- Purchase Massachusetts motorcycle insurance.
The insurance agent will need to sign and stamp the registration application.
Once these steps have been completed, Bay State residents need to complete their registration application by providing the following items at their local RMV:
- The completed and signed Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
- Proof of MA motorcycle insurance.
- A bill of sale.
The appropriate proof of ownership:
- New motorcycles: Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin.
- Used motorcycles: Previous certificate of title WITH a completed Dealer Re-Assignment form.
If the bike’s age exempts it from needing a title, provide its previous registration instead.
Payment for sales tax due (6.25% of the purchase price.
- The $20 registration fee AND any other applicable fees.
After residents of Massachusetts have registered their motorcycle, they have 7 days to have a safety inspection completed at a certified inspection station.
After buying a motorcycle from a private seller, there are steps that need to be taken BEFORE registering with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Bay State residents need to:
- Acquire MA motorcycle insurance.
- Have an insurance agent sign the Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
Then, MA residents can apply for registration by submitting the following at their local RMV office:
- A completed and signed Application for Registration and Title (Form TTLREG100).
- Proof of ownership, such as:
- The motorcycle’s properly assigned and signed title, to include the odometer reading and sales price.
MA residents who can’t include the sales price on the title can submit a bill of sale in addition to the title.
- The Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin.
A bill of sale AND the motorcycle’s previous registration, if the bike is exempt from titling because of its age.
- An odometer disclosure statement, if there isn’t space on the title.
- Proof of motorcycle insurance.
Payment for the:
- $20 registration fee.
- 6.25% sales tax.
- Other applicable fees.
Within 7 days of the registration date, Bay State residents need to have their motorcycle inspected at an MA-certified inspection station.
Transferring Motorcycle Registration
In Massachusetts, residents may transfer their existing motorcycle registration to a newly-purchased motorcycle as long as:
- MA residents are at least 18 years old.
- The registration on the existing motorcycle is still active.
- The owners listed on the current registration will not change.
- Both motorcycles cost the same amount to register.
Massachusetts residents need to complete their transfer within 7 days of selling or disposing of their old motorcycle by:
- Attaching the old plates to the new motorcycle.
- Following the steps above for registering after a private sale.
- Paying the following:
- $20 registration fee.
- $25 transfer fee.
- Any other applicable fees or taxes (see below).
Motorcycle Registration Fees & Taxes
MA residents may be required to pay the following fees and taxes when they register their motorcycle with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles:
- Regular motorcycle registration: $20.
- Specialty motorcycle registration:
- Reserved plates: $40.
- Antique plates: $40.
- Vanity plates: $70.
- Motorcycle inspection: $15.
- Registration transfer fee: $25.
- MA sales tax: 6.25% of the sales price.
Registering a Boat in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, the Boat, ATV, and Snowmobile Registration Bureau oversee all vessel titles and registrations in the state.
MA Boats Requiring Title & Registration
Bay State residents are required to register ALL motorized boats used on Massachusetts’ public waters, with the following exceptions:
- Vessels currently registered in another state that will be used in Massachusetts for no more than 60 days.
- Watercraft without a motor.
- Boats documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Additionally, residents of MA must title vessels measuring 14 ft or more that are designed to be motorized. This includes all boats with motors AND those with the equipment necessary to attach a motor. Residents of MA are also required to pay their sales or use tax of 6.25% by the 20th day of the month following their boat purchase.
Vessels exempt from the titling requirements include:
- Watercraft owned by an entity of the U.S. government.
- Vessels documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Dealers’ boats used only for promotional demonstrations.
- Vessels registered in another state being used on MA waters for up to 60 days.
MA residents who are not sure whether their boat qualifies for titling and/or registration can call the Boat, ATV, and Snowmobile Registration Bureau at (617) 626-1610.
Title & Registering a Boat in MA
Before submitting the title and/or registration application, make sure the boat has a valid hull identification number (HIN).
If the vessel is missing a HIN, Bay State residents need to schedule an inspection with the Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) by calling (800) 632-8075. Once the inspection’s complete, MA residents will receive an inspection certificate, which is required to provide with the vessel title/registration application.
Complete the titling and registration process by providing the following items at a Boat, ATV, and Snowmobile Registration Bureau regional registration office:
- A completed Registration and Titling Application (Form ELE #1).
- A pencil tracing of the vessel’s HIN.
- If applicable, bring the HIN inspection certificate Massachusetts residents received from the MEP.
- The bill of sale.
Proof of purchase of the MA sales tax, such as:
- A printed receipt showing proof of paid taxes online using MassTaxConnect.
- A Certificate of Payment of Sales or Use Tax for Boat, Recreation, or Snow Vehicle (Form ST-6).
- A Claim for Exemption from Sales or Use Tax on Boat, Recreation or Snow Vehicle (Form ST-6E).
- The properly assigned boat title, if applicable.
MA residents who bought the vessel from someone in a non-titling state, need to submit the boat’s registration instead.
- The original Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin if the boat is brand new AND 14 ft. or longer.
- Payment for the necessary vessel title and registration fees.
MA Vessel Title & Registration Fees
The fees to title and register a boat with the MA Boat, ATV, and Snowmobile Registration Bureau are as follows:
Initial/renewal vessel registration (depends on the length of the boat):
- Less than 16 ft: $44.
- 16 ft to less than 26 ft: $66.
- 26 ft to less than 40 ft: $88.
- 40 ft and longer: $110.
- Original boat title: $27.50.
- Per lien added: $16.50.
- Vessel title: $16.50.
- Registration certificate: $11.
- Online transactions fee: $1.50.
- Massachusetts sales tax: 6.25% of the watercraft’s purchase price.
All payments submitted by mail must be in the form of check OR money order made out to the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” In- person and Online transactions can be paid with a credit card.
Renew & Replace MA Registration & Title
Vessel registrations in Massachusetts are valid for 2 years. The Boat, ATV, and Snowmobile Registration Bureau will mail a renewal notice about 1 month before the expiration date.
MA residents can renew their boat registration by providing details about their vessel AND the applicable renewal fees:
Use the Massachusetts Environmental Police’s renewal portal.
Use the pre-addressed envelope included with the renewal notice.
Visit a regional registration office with the current registration.
Massachusetts Boater Requirements
The Boat and Recreation Safety Bureau has certain age and education requirements when it comes to operating vessels on Massachusetts state waters.
If MA residents are:
- Younger than 12 years old: Individuals can only drive a motorized boat if directly supervised by someone who’s at least 18 years old.
- Younger than 16 years old: Individuals CANNOT use personal watercraft (PWC) under any circumstances.
- Between 12 and 15 years old and want to operate a motorboat by themselves: Residents of MA must complete a boater education course.
- 16 or 17 years old and want to operate PWC by themselves: Individuals must complete a boater education course.
To fulfill the Boat and Recreation Safety Bureau’s education requirement, Bay State residents need to take a classroom course with one of Massachusetts’ approved boating education providers. Even if MA residents aren’t required to take a course, doing so will make them a safer operator AND could reduce their boat insurance rates.
Accepted Forms of Payment
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) accepts these forms of payment:
- Money order
- American Express
- Debit/Credit cards