Massachusetts Car Title Transfer and Registration

Vehicle registration must be completed with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) in order to legally drive on MA roadways. So what do you need to take with you to complete your transaction the first time? It depends on how you own your automobile (leasing, making payments, or owner with title) and how you want to register (single, joint, business or transfer to family member) your automobile.

If you are new to the state, you must convert your out-of-state vehicle registration to a MA registration with the Massachusetts RMV within 30 days. You will also have to title your vehicle, which may be done at the same time as you register.

Titling Exemptions

If your vehicle was registered in your previous state for over 6 months, you will be exempt from paying Massachusetts sales tax. You are similarly exempt if you purchased a vehicle in Massachusetts and had it delivered to an out-of-state address, and you’re now registering in MA.

Also note that your vehicle will be exempt from titling if:

  • It is model year 1980 or older.
  • It was purchased before November 26, 1990.

If this is the case, you will be exempt from the $75 titling fee.

Converting Your Registration

To convert your out-of-state registration with the MA RMV, you must first:

Go to a licensed MA insurance agent and:

  • Obtain auto insurance.
  • Have the agent complete an Application for Registration and Title (Form RMV-1).
    • Make sure the agent signs and stamps the application.
    • If there is a lien on the vehicle, the application must state the lienholder’s full name and the vehicle title number.
  • Sign the application.

Vehicle Registration & Title Transfer Process

Once you have obtained insurance and a registration application from the insurance agent, go to your local RMV branch and submit the following:

The length of time your vehicle registration certificate is valid for is based upon the type of license plate you choose.  You must also have a vehicle inspection performed within 7 days of registering the vehicle.

Your new title will be mailed to you or your lienholder within 4 weeks if applicable.

To be sure you have everything you need before getting in line at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), visit, answer 3 to 5 questions to generate a checklist of what is needed. Military personnel often get tax breaks in many states, your checklist will indicate if this is the case.