Changes in Massachusetts Drivers Licenses

Changes in Massachusetts Drivers Licenses

On March 26, 2018, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will cut over to a system which appears to limit the availability of driver’s licenses to aliens and undocumented.  It may have serious adverse effects on some classes of aliens.

I attended a presentation by RMV to a group of immigration lawyers yesterday and it was very clear that the presenters had not thought through all the potential problems and did not have answers. The new system seems to delegate many decisions on whether or not to issue a driver’s license to the USCIS SAVE System. Although the presenters claim some autonomy over the issue decision, it appears that that most is delegated to SAVE and.



  • Previously, most drivers’ licenses were issued for 5 years. The new system allows issuance for lesser periods. The presenters say that the fee will be proportional.
    • All seem to require at least 12 months of authorized presence.
  • For those who enter as Permanent Residents, one has to wonder how the RMV will treat the annotation on the visa foil with regard to 1 year substitute for I-551.
  • Folks with Final Orders of Removal on Orders of Supervision with work authorization should be OK, but see next item for renewal.
  • Today, where Renewal Work Cards are not delivered for months after the expiration of the old card on a promise of continued authorization on the receipt, one must wonder how SAVE / RMV will handle the Driver’s License issue.
  • Expiring or Expired Conditional Residence Green Card will probably depend on SAVE. For those who fail the Removal of Condition interview and USCIS says their status is terminated, we are concerned that it will be the end of their driver’s license. (According to Case Law and practice, Permanent Resident Status continues until EOIR (the Immigration Court System orders Removal).

While there may be problems, our office stands ready to help our clients secure and maintain their right to drive legally in the state of Massachusetts. Please call the office if you need help, we will try.

The URL for information is There is a language selector in the top ribbon and the material appears available in several languages, including Khmer.

Drivers Licenses may be harder to get after 21-March-2018

 At the end of the day on March 21, the old system of Massachusetts Driver’s Licenses will end and it may be more difficult for non-Citizens to obtain a driver’s license. The Massachusetts RMV information is available in several  languages

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