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I want to transfer my learner's permit from New York state to Massachusetts. How can I do that?


It depends upon your age, if your driver's education certificate is accepted by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and other issues as to how you change over your New York learner's permit to a Massachusetts learner's permit or junior operator's license (JOL).

The Massachusetts RMV gave us the following information on how to convert out of state learner's permits so you can read through this information to see what relates to your situation and then contact the RMV for more information.

The RMV states that MA law allows Massachusetts to accept a Learner's Permit from another state, if issued under a law similar to the Massachusetts Learner's Permit law.

You will have to convert your out-of-state (in your case New York) Learner's Permit to a Massachusetts Learner's Permit before you will be allowed to take the road test. In order to do so, you must present a certified copy of your driving record (the certification date cannot be more than thirty [30] days old), from the state that issued your Learner's Permit. You must have held the Learner's Permit for at least six (6) months (with a clean driving record) and meet all the other requirements of MA laws.

You would not have a "clean driving record," and you would not be allowed to take the road test if, within the six (6) months immediately preceding the date of the test:

  • You had any surchargeable incident under Massachusetts law or the law of another state (at-fault accidents, moving violations, etc.);
  • You had your Learner's Permit suspended for drug or alcohol related motor vehicle violations; or
  • You had been convicted for the violation of any drug or alcohol related laws in Massachusetts or in another state ("convicted" includes charges that are "continued without a finding" or "placed on file").
  • An alternative disposition of a violation, including, but not limited to, having such violation continued without a finding, placed on file or a "responsible" finding on a civil motor vehicle infraction, shall be deemed to be a conviction to the MA RMV. You may not take a road test until six months from the date of the arrest or issuance of the citation.

You may convert your out-of-state driver education certificate to a Massachusetts driver education certificate by obtaining an Application to Convert Out-of-State Driver Education Certificate from any RMV full-service branch or by downloading it from the MA RMV website and complying with the conversion requirements.

The Registrar will allow the conversion to the Massachusetts Driver Education Certificate if she finds that the out-of-state driver education program you attended is comparable to the Massachusetts program, which currently consists of 30 hours of live classroom instruction, twelve (12) hours behind-the-wheel, six (6) hours of in-car observation, and a two (2) hour class attended by your parent or guardian on the content of driver education.

The Massachusetts RMV notes that they will not accept a Driver's Education Certificate from a state that does not meet or exceed the number of hours of classroom and in-vehicle instruction required of Massachusetts residents. If the out-of-state program qualifies, your new Massachusetts Driver Education Certificate will be mailed to you within two weeks of receipt of your out-of-state certificate. If you do not qualify, your out-of-state certificate will be returned to you along with a letter denying your application.

Keep in mind that a Massachusetts resident cannot obtain a full Massachusetts Driver's License before the age of 18. A person who is between the ages of 16 1/2 and 18 may, however, receive a Junior Operator's License (a driver's license containing age-appropriate restrictions) as early as 16 1/2 if he or she has successfully completed a driver education program approved by the Registrar.

If your New York permit transfers over to a Junior Operator's License in Massachusetts you will be subject to all of the provisions of the JOL Law, including the time restrictions, the enhanced penalties and the passenger restriction. However, the period of time you will be subject to the passenger restriction will depend on your driving record in the other state.

If the certified copy of your driving record from New York indicates that you have had a valid license for a full six (6) months, without suspension or revocation, you would not be subject to the passenger restriction at all. If the record indicates that you have only had your license for a portion of the six (6) months, without having been suspended or revoked, the Registrar may credit you for the that period of time towards the six (6) month passenger restriction.

The Massachusetts RMV specifically notes that as a Massachusetts resident you can no longer operate on the driver's license issued by your previous state of residence so you will need to contact them as soon as possible to change over your New York permit to a Massachusetts learner's permit or junior license depending upon your age and how long you had held your NYS permit before moving to Massachusetts.

You can get low cost car insurance quotes for Massachusetts here. 


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