Massachusetts ID and Driver’s License
Massachusetts ID Cards for Non-Drivers
The Registry of Motor Vehicles issues two forms of ID for non-drivers, one of which is a Liquor ID for people 21 years of age and older who want to buy alcohol.
Standard Massachusetts ID
Most international students do not have a U.S. driver's license and may may need another form of identification in addition to a passport and Mount Holyoke College ID. For instance, if you buy a cell phone, it is possible you will be asked for as many as three forms of photo identification.
Massachusetts identification cards (Mass IDs) cost $5.00 per year and are issued to eligible customers who:
- Are at least 14 years old
- Do not hold a valid driver’s license in any jurisdiction
- Are a resident of Massachusetts (contact the McCulloch Center; the office will supply a letter attesting to your residency)
Important: The closest Registry of Motor Vehicles is in Easthampton. It is there that you apply for your Massachusetts ID
To apply for a Mass ID, you must:
Decide what type of identification you want – a REAL ID (valid for federal purposes) or Standard ID (not valid for federal purposes). Need help deciding? Try our REAL ID: Real answers tool.
If you want a Standard ID, you may be able to complete your renewal online by entering the information from your lawful presence document (this is your I-20).
Massachusetts Liquor ID
You must have a Massachusetts Liquor ID if you want to use the ID to prove that you are of legal drinking age (21). The regular Massachusetts ID will not work for this purpose! This ID costs $25.00.
- You must be at least 21 years of age
- You may not hold a valid Massachusetts driver's license
- All Liquor ID applicants (21 years of age or older) must only present the following documents:
- 1 document that proves your Social Security Number (SSN) OR an SSN Denial Notice with non-U.S. Passport, Visa, and I-94
- 1 document that proves your date of birth
- A completed application
- The $25 fee
You cannot process a Liquor ID application online. However, you can get ready by completing the application online and answering a series of questions. At the end of the questionnaire, you will be provided with a complete application and list of required documents that you will need to bring with you to an RMV Service Center.
You will be given a temporary Massachusetts Liquor ID, valid for 30 days, at the service center, and a permanent Massachusetts Liquor ID will be mailed to you within 5–7 days once the transaction has been completed.
Massachusetts Driver’s License
International students who have an F-1 or J-1 visa are eligible to apply for a driver's license at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) in Easthampton, Chicopee, or Springfield.
In order to be eligible for a standard driver’s license or ID card, you need to provide valid, verifiable immigration documents as well as proof that you have been granted a legal stay in the United States for a total of at least 12 months. This will apply to all international students who are studying at Mount Holyoke for at least one year.
If eligible, the validity of your driver's license or ID card will be the same as your remaining length of stay in the United States. In other words, your license or ID will expire when your legal stay is over. Start your application online at http://mass.gov/rmv and answer a few questions to determine exactly what identification documents to bring to the RMV.
The RMV cannot issue a driver’s license to anyone that cannot prove U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the United States, in accordance with state and federal law.
Important: The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will issue licenses to those who have been granted a legal stay in the United States for at least 12 months and have at least 30 days remaining in their stay in the United States. They will use the SAVE system to verify lawful presence and duration of status, and licenses will be valid from the date of issue until the date that SAVE brings back showing the end of their approved stay in the United States. For F-1 students, this should be the expiration date of the I-20. For J-1 Exchange Visitors, this will be the expiration date of the DS-2019. Licenses cost $10 per year with a maximum validity of 5 years ($50).
Note that you must apply for and receive a Learner’s Permit before you are able to schedule the road test and obtain a driver’s license. See below for instructions on how to obtain a Learner's Permit.
The $30 fee for the learner’s permit written test covers the cost of processing your application and administering your test. If you fail the test or your permit expires, you will be charged this fee again for another test. Note that you must apply for and receive a Learner’s Permit before you are able to schedule the road test and obtain a driver’s license. In order to learn the rules of the road you should study the Massachusetts Drivers’ Manual and then take a few of the free practice tests available online before you take the Learner’s Permit test at the RMV.
If you don't know how to drive, you will need to contact a local driving school and arrange to take driving lessons. We recommend the following local driving schools:
Falls Driving School
470 Newton Street
South Hadley, MA 01075
Pioneer Valley Driving School
P O Box 2215
Amherst, MA 01004
There is a fee of $20.00 for the road test. The RMV charges this flat fee for any license application. This fee covers the cost of processing your application and scheduling a road test. If you fail the road test, fail to appear for the road test, or fail to cancel your appointment with more than 24 hours notice, you will still be charged the $20 fee. You must pay this fee for each road test you take or fail to cancel properly.
Scheduling a Road Test
Once you have passed the Learner's Permit test, you must call the RMV Telephone Center to schedule your road test. All road tests must be scheduled by the phone center. Normally, you may not make a road test appointment in person. If you wish, you may use the automated phone system to schedule a road test by calling 800-858-3926. Remember: In order to do the road test you must have access to an automobile and have a licensed driver to accompany you. The College does not supply a vehicle (or a licensed driver) for this purpose! If you have taken driving lessons at a local driving school, the instructor will accompany you to the road test and you will be able to use the driving school's vehicle to take the road test.
Students with a Driver's License from their Home Country
The Registry indicates that if a student has a home country license, that student is allowed to drive in Massachusetts for one year from the date of entry (see your I-94), if the license was issued by a country which signed the Road Traffic Convention of 1949. A complete list of countries which are signatories to this agreement is available in the online Driver's Manual from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Here is more information on International Driving Permits, International Driver Licenses and Driving Privileges for Foreign Licensed Drivers. NOTE: As of January 30, 2009, only international students who have a U.S. drivers' license (and have had this license for at least one year) will be able to obtain a van license and use MHC Fleet vehicles. You can, however, apply to use a Zipcar.