Massachusetts ID and License

Apply for a Massachusetts ID

Since most of you do not have a U.S. driver's license, during your time at Mount Holyoke you may need another form of identification in addition to your passport and MHC ID. For instance, if you are trying to buy a cell phone, it is possible that you will be asked for as many as three forms of identification featuring your picture. Also, if you are on a domestic (within the U.S.) airplane flight, you must present a picture ID (and a MHC ID is not acceptable)--and we recommend that you DO NOT carry your passport around with you. This is why it may be a good idea to consider applying for a Massachusetts ID card which costs $25.00.

Important: Since the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Hadley has closed, the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives is no longer able to organize trips for international students to apply for a Massachusetts ID or driver's license. However, you still may apply by going to the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Easthampton.

Here is what you will need to have with you when you apply:

  1. ID application form (print, fill out and sign)
  2. your passport and I-94
  3. your I-20 form
  4. your social security card (you must bring along the actual card)
  5. bring along another document for "proof of signature."  Please check the following list of acceptable documents for this purpose.
  6. a letter provided by our office confirming your full-time student status and residency in Massachusetts.
  7. $25.00 to pay for the ID (you may pay with a credit card, cash, or a check made out to "Registry of Motor Vehicles")

Apply for a Massachusetts Liquor ID

Please note that 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! You may use the same application form to apply for the Massachusetts liquor ID. However, this ID costs $25.00.

If you do not have a social security number, you should apply for one and wait until you get it before you apply for a Massachusetts ID card. Take a look at additional information about social security cards.

We will prepare the letter (mentioned above) that you must present to the Registry official when you apply. You must also complete an application form before you travel to the registry. You must also bring several other documents with you. Here is a list of acceptable documents which you should consult.  Please bring the appropriate documents along with the filled-out application form and the letter from our office.

Apply for a 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 Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) - 195 Russell Street (Rte 9), Hadley.

If you already have a driver's license from another state, but would like to obtain a Massachusetts driver's license, you must still pay all of the application, testing, and license fees for Massachusetts, regardless of whether you must take a road test. Normally, if you hold a license from most foreign countries, you will need to pass both the written and the road tests.

Learner's Permit Test / Permit Fee = $30.00

The learner’s permit written test fee 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. You'll need to study the Driver's Manual in order to prepare for the test.  Be sure to make sure that you have all of the documents you need before you go to the Registry.  Here is a list:

  • Learner's Permit application form (print, fill out and sign)
  • Your passport and I-94 (to prove your visa status)
  • Your social security card (you must have the card; knowing the number will not be enough)
  • A letter provided by our office confirming your full-time student status and residency in Massachusetts.
  • Birthdate (this will be included in the letter we give you)
  • Signature (this will be on the application form. However, you must bring something--such as a cancelled check--that can be used to compare/verify your signature. If you do not have a cancelled check, here is a list of acceptable documents which you should consult to find another document for "proof of signature.")
  • Residence (This will be included in the letter we give you)

Please read Obtaining a Class D Permit and License BEFORE you apply for a Learner's Permit.

Driving Schools

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
Telephone: 413-538-8876

Pioneer Valley Driving School
P O Box 2215
Amherst, MA 01004
Telephone: 413-253-7432

License Application / Road Test

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, she is allowed to drive in Massachusetts for one year from the date of entry 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. If your home country license is not in English, you should also carry either an International Driver's License or an English translation (which should be signed by a bilingual Notary Public or by the Dean of International Students).  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, or participate in the Mount Holyoke LyonShare (car rental) Program.