Massachusetts ID and Driver’s License

Massachusetts ID Card

Photo of a sample Massachusetts ID card

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 MHC 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. The Massachusetts ID costs $25.00. 

Important: The closest Registry of Motor Vehicles is in Easthampton.  It is there that you apply for your Massachusetts I.D.

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

  1. Massachusetts ID application form (print, fill out and sign)
  2. Your passport and I-94 (to prove your visa status).  You should print out your I-94, which is online at
  3. Your social security card (you must bring along the actual card; knowing the number will not be enough). If you do not have a social security card, you can still apply for a Massachusetts I.D. You must go to the Social Security Office in Holyoke and obtain a letter stating that you were denied a social security card.  You will give this letter to the official at the Registry instead of a social security card.  Note that this letter must not be older than 60 days old when you submit it along with the other documents required (see below).
  4. your I-20 form
  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 the McCulloch Center 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")

Please also refer to the information about Massachusetts IDs on the Registry of Motor Vehicles web site.

Massachusetts Liquor ID

Photo of a sample Massachusetts Liquor ID card

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 may use the same application form to apply for the Massachusetts Liquor ID.   Please also refer to the information about Massachusetts Liquor IDs on the Registry of Motor Vehicles web site.The procedure (and documents needed) for obtaining a Massachusetts Liquor ID is the same as applyin g for a regular Massachusetts ID.  See the section above for more details.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 documentswhich you should consult.  Please bring the appropriate documents along with the filled-out application form and the letter from our office.

Massachusetts Driver’s License

Photo of a sample 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 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 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
Telephone: 413-538-8876

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

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.