Is the RMV Open? COVID-19 Response in Massachusetts

March 18, 2020

people in lineIs the RMV open in Massachusetts? Yes, but with limited access.

As our Bay State businesses begin to reopen, state officials are still encouraging MA drivers to stay away from RMVs, if possible. The registry is emphasizing that most transactions can either be completed online, or postponed while social distancing guidelines are still in place.

In fact, only “essential” transactions may be conducted in-person right now. Is your transaction considered essential? Keep reading to find out.

Meanwhile, for all the latest on Massachusetts’ RMV policies, visit the registry’s COVID-19 Information page.

Is the RMV Open?

Yes. Certain RMV locations are open for certain “essential” services, but only if you have a reservation. Walk-in visits are not allowed right now. Use this RMV link to make or cancel a reservation online. The RMV will then send you a confirmation email that you must show when you arrive.

Below is a list of locations and available services (updated as of 6/17/20):

  • Boston/Haymarket
  • Braintree – Opening on June 22nd as a B2B only from 9am-5pm
  • Brockton
  • Danvers – Opening on June 29th for learner’s permit transactions only from 8am-8pm
  • Fall River
  • Haverhill – Opening on June 29th as a B2B only from 9am-5pm
  • Lawrence
  • Leominster – Opening on June 15th for learner’s permit transactions only from 8am-8pm
  • Milford – Will stop processing commercial transactions on June 22nd and will be B2B and IRP transactions only
  • Pittsfield
  • Plymouth
  • South Yarmouth – Opening on June 22nd for general appointments and learner’s permit transactions; hours to be determined
  • Springfield
  • Watertown – Opening on June 15th for learner’s permit transactions only from 8am-8pm
  • Wilmington – Opening for learner’s permit transactions from 5pm-8pm; date to be determined
  • Worcester

Which transactions are considered “essential?”

Examples of ‘essential’ transactions include:

  • Obtaining a commercial driver’s license or commercial learner’s permit to assist with the supply chain during the State of Emergency declaration
  • Registering a newly purchased vehicle as your primary mode of transportation for employment or obtaining medication and other necessary treatments
  • Transferring your license or registration from another state for residency requirements.

Examples of ‘non-essential’ transactions include:

  • Registering a motorcycle as a secondary mode of transportation
  • Registering a secondary car or truck
  • Obtaining a REAL ID 
  • Registering a boat, utility trailer or camper for recreation purposes.

If you arrive for a reservation and it is unclear if your transaction supports an ‘essential service‘, RMV Management reserves the right to refuse to process the transaction.

I need help with a nonessential transaction. What should I do?

If you need to renew or reactivate a secondary vehicle (e.g. a camper, trailer, or motorcycle), the RMV has provided these options. If you are a C&S Insurance customer, our team may also be able to assist you from our in-house registry. Contact your C&S agent for more information.

Is the RMV open for commercial transactions?

Yes. See the list above for current info regarding walk-in, commercial transactions. You can also get the latest by visiting the registry’s COVID-19 Information page.

My license/learner’s permit/sticker/registration is about to expire. Can I get an extension?

Probably. Here are the most recent extensions issued by the RMV:

  • Driver’s licenses and ID cards, including Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs), that expired or will expire in March, April, and May 2020, will now expire in September 2020 and do not need to be renewed at this time.
  • Driver’s licenses and ID cards that will expire in June have been extended until October 2020; those that will expire in July have been extended until November 2020; and those that will expire in August have been extended until December 2020 and do not need to be renewed at this time.
  • The RMV also recently introduced an online renewal option for CDL holders if they are self-certified in the Non-Excepted Interstate (NI) category for medical certification.
  • Learner’s permits, including Commercial Learner’s Permits (CLPs), that expired or will expire in March, April, and May 2020, will now expire in December 2020. Learner’s permits that will expire in June, July, and August will also be extended until December 2020. This extension will allow additional time for permit students and driving schools to complete in-car instruction and a road test when those functions are authorized to restart safely.

So if your license is due to expire on July 15, 2020, the RMV is going to extend that expiration to November 15, 2020. You will still have an “active” status in the RMV system. Keep in mind though, you won’t get an updated license to reflect this new expiration date.

One key exception: this extension does not apply to customers whose “end of stay” in the United States is the same as the expiration date on their driver’s license, ID card, or learner’s permit.

I just bought a new car/truck. Do I need to get it inspected right away?

No. The RMV is currently extending the time during which your newly registered vehicle must be inspected. (Normally this needs to happen within 7 days of registration.) For the time being:

  • Any newly-registered commercial and non-commercial vehicle purchased between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2020 must be inspected by July 31.
  • Any newly-registered commercial and non-commercial vehicle purchased between April 1, 2020 and April 31, 2020 must be inspected by June 30.

Can I get an extension on my plate registration or inspection sticker?

Yes. All passenger plate registrations that were set to expire in March, April, or May, or will expire in June, have been extended until July 31st. For inspection stickers, vehicles expiring in March, April or May will also have an extension until July 31st.

Plate registration renewals can continue to be performed online at Mass.Gov/RMV during this time.

Are road tests still happening?

Class D and M road tests are cancelled through April 6, 2020. The RMV is asking folks to check back here for any updates regarding road tests.

CDL road tests are still being administered at this time.

Can I still get a REAL ID?

Not right now. The Massachusetts RMV has suspended issuing any REAL IDs until September 2020.

However, if your license is due to renew and you would prefer to get a REAL ID in place of a standard license, the RMV will waive the charge for you to get one later. All you need to do is renew your regular license online, then wait six months until the state’s emergency order is lifted. At that point, you can apply for an amended REAL ID license at no additional cost. Read Governor Baker’s June 12th letter for more info.

What about other RMV services?

If you’re looking to process any of the following, you must do so by mail:

  • Disability parking placards/plate (including disabled veterans plates)
  • Tinted glass waivers
  • CDL medical waivers

Do I still need to pay my vehicle sales tax?

Yes. If your sales or use tax is not paid on time, you will have to pay interest and penalties. Right now sales tax must be paid online. Here are the RMV’s instructions on paying vehicle (and trailer) sales tax online.

How can I contact the RMV with my specific question?

You can email the RMV with any specific questions by visiting this page and filling out the appropriate contact form.

Is it safe to visit the Massachusetts RMV?

Bottom line: if you can complete your RMV transaction online, you should make every effort to do so–rather than adding to the number of people who are physically in/around the buildings.

Meanwhile, state officials have taken steps to ensure the number of people inside the RMV does not exceed the current social distancing recommendations. The eight locations that remain open now exercise “enhanced cleaning” practices. These RMVs will also make hand sanitizer stations available.

Still have questions? We’re here for you! Call us at 508.339.2951.