Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Massachusetts

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The state of Massachusetts offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the past, or are current active military members.

Disabled veteran registration and driver license fee waiver

Disabled veterans are eligible to receive a Disabled Veteran license plate free of charge. In order to qualify, you must provide the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles with documentation provided by the Veterans Administration stating that your disability is at least 60% service-related, as well as the Application for Disabled Parking Placard/Plate. You can mail these documents to:

Registry of Motor Vehicles
Attn: Medical Affairs
P.O. Box 55889
Boston, MA 02205-5889

Or, you may apply at a local RMV office.

If you qualify for a disabled veteran license plate, you are also exempt from all driver license transaction fees in Maryland.

Driver’s license veteran designation

Massachusetts veterans are eligible for a veteran designation on a driver license or state ID card, in the form of the word “Veteran” at the lower right of the card. This allows you to easily display your veteran status to businesses and other organizations that offer benefits to military members, without having to carry your discharge papers around everywhere you go. In order to get a license with this designation you must have received honorable (or general under honorable conditions, or conditions other than dishonorable) discharge, and provide proof in the form of one of the following:

  • DD 214 or DD 215
  • Honorable Discharge Certificate

There is no additional fee for adding veteran designation to your driver license or ID card, however this designation can’t be added via online renewal. You must visit a RMV branch in order to request the indicator.

Military honor plates

Massachusetts offers a variety of military and veteran license plates designed to honor those who’ve served in a specific branch, conflict, or are recipients of a medal or award. Available plates include:

  • Bronze Star (vehicle or motorcycle)
  • Congressional Medal of Honor (vehicle or motorcycle)
  • Disabled Veteran
  • Distinguished Flying Cross (vehicle or motorcycle)
  • Ex-POW (vehicle or motorcycle)
  • Gold Star Family
  • Legion of Valor (vehicle or motorcycle)
  • National Guard
  • Pearl Harbor Survivor (vehicle or motorcycle)
  • Purple Heart (vehicle or motorcycle)
  • Silver Star (vehicle or motorcycle)
  • Veteran (vehicle or motorcycle)

There are no extra fees for these plates, however you must fill out the Application for Veterans Plates.

Military skills test waiver

Starting in 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created a rule that makes it easier for military personnel and veterans with military truck driving experience to leverage those skills against the CDL testing requirements. SDLAs (State Driver Licensing Agencies) are now permitted to waive the CDL skills test for these individuals, as long as they meet other qualifications. If you want to utilize this avenue to get your CDL, you’ve got to have a minimum two years of military truck driving experience, and that experience must have been within a year prior to your application.

The federal government has provided a standard form of the waiver here. Once you qualify, you will have to complete the written test in order to get your license.

Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012

Once this legislation was put in place, states were given authority to issue a CDL to active military personnel even if they are stationed in a state that is not their state of residence. Qualifying branches include all main branches, plus the Reserves, National Guard, Coast Guard, or Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Driver license renewal while deployed

Massachusetts military personnel on active duty who are deployed overseas or stationed outside of the state are exempt from driver license renewal during the period of duty. If you need to renew due to insurance or other reasons, you can request a non-photo driver license. This must be done by mail, and you must submit the renewal fee plus a copy of your military ID and the application. You can mail these documents to:

Driver Licensing
Registry of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 55889
Boston, MA 02205-5889

After you return from active duty you have 60 days to renew your expired Massachusetts driver license.

You may be able to renew your registration online if stationed out of state. If for some reason you do not receive a renewal notice, you can have your insurance agent complete, stamp, and sign a RMV-3 form and mail it, along with a check or money order for your fee, to:

Attn: Mail In Registration
Registry of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 55891
Boston, MA 02205-5891

Non-resident military personnel driver license and vehicle registration

Massachusetts honors out-of-state driver’s licenses and vehicle registration for non-resident military stationed within the state. Your dependents, however, will have to obtain a Massachusetts license.

Active or veteran military personnel can find out more at the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles website here.

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