How to Register your new Out-of-state Car in Massachusetts

If you have a purchased a new or used car from out of state, Congratulations!

Let’s gets get you started on the things you need to do to register your car in Massachusetts for the first time, whether you are transferring your existing registration or applying for a new registration.

First things first, you will need to purchase Car Insurance from a licensed Massachusetts insurance agent. Your agent will complete, stamp and sign the RMV-1 (Application for Registration and Title). You can download a copy of the RMV-1 at . This form must be accompanied by one of the following:

  • Certificate of Origin (for new vehicles)
  • Certificate of Title from the previous owner or dealer re-assignment form (for used vehicles)
  • Previous registration and bill of sale for older vehicles which do not have the above

Be sure to have filled out the date of sale, odometer reading and the purchase price on the back of the Certificate of Origin or the previous owner’s title. Regardless of which one you are using, both your signature and the previous owner(s) or dealer signature is required on the back.

If there is a lien on the vehicle, be sure to complete the lienholder information accurately.

The completed RMV-1, along with these documents, must then be taken to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, a service often provided by your insurance agent.

Let’s not forget Uncle Sam. The sales tax will be calculated at 6.25% of either the purchase price or the NADA (National Automotive Dealer Association) trade-in value, whichever is higher. If the dealer is registered with the Department of Revenue, this will be taken care of at the time of purchase. RMV fees for title and plates will also be collected. Plate fees vary by plate type. For specific RMV fee information visit

In the end you will receive a registration certificate, new plates, and a year of expiration decal for the rear license plate. The title will be mailed to you in the weeks to come, unless you have a lienholder in which case the title will be mailed directly to the lienholder.

Lastly, have the vehicle inspected by a Massachusetts Vehicle Check Inspection Station within 7 days. Just look for the Massachusetts Inspection symbol at your local gas station.

There are a number of additional restrictions when transferring your existing registration: You can transfer an existing registration from one vehicle to another ONLY if, the registration is still active, the owners on the registration will not be changing and both vehicles conform to the same plate standards. The RMV allows for a 7 calendar day grace period for transferring a registration, but again ONLY when certain conditions are met:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older
  • Your new vehicle must be of the same type (same number of wheels) as your previous vehicle
  • You must carry the transfer documents, which show the registration number to be transferred, in your vehicle at all times
  • You must no longer have possession of your previous vehicle
  • The registration plates must be attached to your new vehicle

You can always visit massDOT at for the latest information and additional information on special circumstances.

Congratulations on your purchase, and Drive Safely!



Guard Insurance Agency is a Trusted Choice independent insurance agency, representing multiple companies to get you the best price, offer individual attention in order to qualify you for all the discounts available, and of course, provide excellent service, voted Best of 2013, BestofSurveys.
Please be advised that insurance coverage cannot be bound or changed via submission of this online form/application, e-mail, voice mail or facsimile. No binder, insurance policy, change, addition, and/or deletion to insurance coverage goes into effect unless and until confirmed directly with a licensed agent.

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