Is the RMV Open? COVID-19 Response in Massachusetts

By: Carolyn Iovinelli, CPRIA

Carolyn Iovinelli joined the C&S Insurance team in 2019. She has been in the insurance industry since 1994, and has experience in personal, commercial, life insurance and medical malpractice.

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. If you are 75+ years old, you do have the option of making an appointment for a license or ID transaction during designated senior hours (Wednesday mornings at most RMV locations). Visit the RMV webpage to make an appointment, and select a “senior transaction” when prompted. Senior hours will be extended through March 2021.

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 the RMV locations that are open to individual MA drivers, by appointment only. (Updated January 2021):

What are RMV “drop-off” centers? Which transactions can I drop off for processing? And where?

The Massachusetts RMV is now offering drivers the option of dropping off paperwork for certain registration or title transactions. If you’re willing to wait at least four business days for processing, you can skip the online appointment system, and drop off your materials for the following types of services:

  • Registering and titling a vehicle
  • Transferring a plate to a new vehicle
  • Reinstating a registration
  • Applying for a registration only
  • Transferring a plate between two vehicles
  • Registering a previously titled vehicle
  • Transferring a vehicle to a surviving spouse
  • Registration Amendments
  • Plate Cancellations
  • PLEASE NOTE: Individual registration renewals must be done either online, by mail, or via automated telephone, and are not eligible for drop-off service.

Drop-off service is available at one of the following Massachusetts RMV locations.  Completed registrations, title applications (RTA forms), supporting documents and drop-center forms can be dropped, between 9AM and 4PM at:

  • Boston
  • Braintree
  • Chicopee
  • Greenfield
  • Haverhill
  • Milford
  • North Adams
  • Taunton
  • Wilmington

After dropping off, be prepared to make your payment online. You’ll get an email within four days of your drop off, explaining any payment due, along with further instructions.

If you’re going this route, make sure your RTA form is 100% complete and accurate, including a stamp from your insurance company or insurance agent.

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.

Can I still get a REAL ID?

Not right now. During the State of Emergency, the RMV has suspended the issuance of new REAL IDs unless it is part of a first time issuance, out-of-state conversion, or other limited circumstance.

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 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.


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