For-hire services such as taxis
Taxicabs and limousines licenses are authorized by state law but issued by local governments. Contact your local municipality to get the proper licensing.
If you want to drive for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft, you do not need to get a special license. However, you will need to meet certain age and driving-experience requirements. You may be ineligible to drive for a rideshare company if you have certain violations on your driving record. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities has detailed information on "suitability standards" for drivers with transportation network companies.
More: Rideshare insurance
Commercial driver's license (CDL)
Commercial vehicles are divided into three classes based on:
- How it will be used.
Each class requires its own special license. Depending which endorsements you have on your license, you may be able to operate vehicles in other classes.
- Class A—Any combination of vehicles with a gross weight vehicle rating (GWVR) of 26,001 or more pounds provided the GWVR of the vehicle(s) being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. Vehicles in this class might include double and triple trailers.
- Class B—Any single vehicle with a GWVR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle less than 10,000 pounds. This class includes tank vehicles or passenger-transport vehicles.
- Class C—Any vehicle or combination of vehicles that doesn't meet Class A or Class B but is designed to transport 16 or more passengers or transport hazardous materials. Vehicles in this class include school buses.
You can refer to the Massachusetts RMV for a full list of CDL testing requirements and endorsements.
Renewing your CDL
A Massachusetts CDL is valid for five years and expires on your birthday. You can renew a CDL one year prior to the expiration date. To renew, you will need to:
- Start your application online.
- Locate a Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) service center. Some centers have limited services. It's a good idea to confirm they can renew a CDL license before going.
- Bring documentation to show Massachusetts residency, Social Security number and lawful presence. You can refer to the RMV for a list of acceptable documents.
- Pay a fee. License classes A, B and C all have a $75 fee as of July 2018.
You can also decide if you want to get a Real ID commercial driver's license at renewal time. The Real ID will be mandatory beginning in October 2020 and will be necessary to fly within the United States or enter a federal building.
If you need to renew a license with a hazardous materials endorsement, you must meet the following requirements:
- Apply for and pass the Transportation Security Administration's security background check. It could take 60 days or more to get the results.
- Take and pass the hazardous materials endorsement exam. You can do this at the same time you renew your CDL.
If you are a CDL driver, federal law requires you to self-certify. This means you must notify the RMV if you intend to operate only within Massachusetts or if you'll cross state lines (interstate vs. intrastate). You must also notify the RMV if you're required to hold a medical certificate.
If you're renewing, upgrading or transferring an out-of-state CDL, you will need to complete a CDL self-certification form and provide a copy of the medical certificate.
You may also have to provide the RMV with documentation that shows you have received a diabetes, vision or skills evaluation from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Updated Aug. 23, 2018