Obtaining a Massachusetts ID is not required, although if you want to avoid having to provide additional proof of identification when in stores or having to carry your passport as identification when you write a check in a store, you may want to consider applying for a Massachusetts ID card. An ID card and driver’s license (required if you plan on driving while in the U.S.) can be obtained through a Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) branch office. Note: In order to apply for a state ID/license, you need to have a Social Security number and pay a fee of $25.
You can begin the ID application process online at the Registry of Motor Vehicles website. Visit this site to learn more about Massachusetts ID requirements, decide between a Standard and REAL ID, and start your ID application.
116 Pleasant Street
Easthampton, MA 01027
18 Miner Street
Greenfield, MA 01301
For RMV branch office information (office hours, wait times, services, fees, directions, etc.) please visit: http://www.massrmv.com/BranchMap.aspx Scroll to the bottom and click on the branch you want information on.
NOTE ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS: You must apply for a Social Security number before you can apply for a Massachusetts ID or permit/license. You will be required to provide either:
a) A Social Security card OR
b) A Denial Notice from the SSA. If you present a Denial Notice, you must also present proof of acceptable visa status, an I-94 (Record of Arrival and Departure), and a current non-U.S. Passport.
NOTE: You must have a Massachusetts liquor ID if you want to use it to prove that you are of legal drinking age (21). The Massachusetts state ID card will not work for that purpose. You will need to use the same application form to apply for the Massachusetts liquor ID. The application fee is $25.00.
Note: It is recommended that you review the Driver License Manual before visiting the RMV. The fee for an initial permit is $30.
After acquiring your permit and taking driving lessons, you will be eligible for a road test ($35). You will need to schedule your road test, and if you successfully pass this test the RMV will issue you a driver's license. The license issuance fee is $50 and is valid for 5 years. You can find the application form at http://www.massrmv.com/Portals/30/docs/21042.pdf.
The RMV indicates that "if a student has a home country license, he or she is allowed to drive in Massachusetts for one year from the date of entry if the license was issued by a country that has signed the Road Traffic Convention of 1949. Check Appendix A of the Driver's Manual to see which countries are included.
If you don't know how to drive, you will need to contact a local driving school and arrange to take driving lessons.