Licensing Process

To get your driver’s license in Massachusetts, you’ll move through multiple licensing stages. As you progress, you’ll also need your parents’ permission at each step.

Learner’s Permit

At age 15 and 9 months, you may begin the classroom portion of driver education. When you turn 16, you may apply for a learner’s permit. You (and a parent or guardian if you are under 18) need to bring a completed permit application to a full service RMV office. Proof of identification is required, plus you will be required to pass a vision test. You must pass a 25 question written/computer-based driver’s exam to obtain your learner’s permit.

A learner’s permit is valid for two years and allows you to drive accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years old with at least one year’s driving experience. You must complete at least 40 hours of supervised practice.

Keep track of your practice driving with the AAA Driving Log.

Junior Operator’s License

If you are under the age of 18, you may apply for a driving test once you have completed all the requirements of driver education (30 hour classroom, 12 hours driving, 6 hours in-car observation, two-hour parent class), have completed an additional 40 hours of supervised practice (30 hours with a driver skills development program), and have had the learner’s permit for at least 6 months. When you pass the driving test, you will be issued a Junior Operator’s License.

When you are a Junior Operator (between the ages of 16 ½ and 18), you may not drive during the first 6 months with any person under age 18 in the vehicle (other than yourself or an immediate family member) unless you are accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years old. You may not operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 12:30 a.m. – 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by your parent or legal guardian.

Full License

At age 18, if you have held a junior operator license for at least 12 months, you are eligible for an unrestricted driver’s license.

Now is a good time to set up a parent-teen driving agreement to help you and your parents establish expectations related to both their rules and those of the state.

Licensing Authority

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is in charge of distributing all driver’s licenses for all drivers in the state.

  • Conducts the written exam and road test for your learner’s license and intermediate license.
  • Provides study materials to help you get ready for the exams.
  • Keeps track of your license status and can suspend your license if you get too many tickets, don’t keep insurance on your car or commit other violations.
  • Parent-Teen Driving Agreement – Signing a formal agreement with your parents helps in multiple ways.
  • Driver-ZED – Offered by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Driver-ZED is a computer-based program to help you practice driving on your PC.