Undocumented Massachusetts Immigrants Can Now Get Driver Licenses

Sample of Standard Driver License. Source via mass.gov

Starting July 1, 2023, undocumented immigrants living in Massachusetts can obtain a standard driver’s license. It is a hard-won battle for many immigrant families as the state legislature passed the Work and Family Mobility Act on May 26, 2022 and the state election ballot passed in November.  “Roads in Massachusetts are about to get a lot safer. Allowing individuals regardless of immigration status to apply for driver licenses will ensure that all drivers meet the same insurance requirements, take the same road test, and possess the same credentials. It’s expected that hit-and-run cases will decrease across the Commonwealth, giving all drivers – whether they are traveling to work or school, or the grocery store – the chance to breathe a little easier,” said Elizabeth Sweet, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition.

Eligible drivers can register online or in person at the RMV to take the learner’s permit exam which tests your knowledge of the driving laws in Massachusetts. The required documents include a foreign passport, a birth certificate, or ID card, Massachusetts residency, and a social security status, removing the red tape which previously required the driver be a legal resident of Massachusetts.

In preparing for the learner’s permit exam, customers are encouraged to study the Driver’s Manual and take a practice exam prior to the appointment. The study guide is available in Khmer and you are allowed to bring a certified interpreter on the day of the exam and for the road test.

The RMV fees required are for the learner’s permit ($30), the road test ($35), and the license fee ($50). Do not pay anyone else for RMV services. It’s probably a scam.

Once you have your learner’s permit, you can begin to practice driving with a licensed driver. If someone is helping you learn to drive, they must be a licensed driver at least 21 years old has at least one-year experience in driving, hold a valid driver’s license from Massachusetts or another state and sit in the passenger seat next to you while you drive. The same requirement for the day of the road test exam. You cannot show up for the road test alone. “MIRA and other immigrant serving agencies will closely monitor the roll out of the new driver licenses to ensure that the RMV is applying their new procedures equitably in all offices across the state,” said Sweet.