When applying for a driver’s license in Massachusetts, you must provide your social security number to the Mass. RMV. The Registry will not use your social security number as your license number or print it on your license. However, the RMV will cross reference the number provided with the Social Security Administration to insure that the number is valid.
Pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 24B, providing a false social security number or someone else’s social security number when applying for a Massachusetts license is a felony which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in state prison and a mandatory revocation of your license or right to operate. Only when the Social Security On-Line Verification system confirms your social security number will you be allowed to proceed with the transaction. If the verification system shows that the Social Security number belongs to someone else, the case will be referred to the RMV Special Investigations Unit and no license, learner’s permit, or ID car will be issued. If there is a discrepancy, you will be sent to the Social Security Administration to clear it.
The RMV requires each license, permit, or ID applicant to provide his or her social security number, because it is a “universal identifier,” particularly given the high mobility of U.S. drivers. The social security number allows the Registrar to properly screen Massachusetts drivers through the National Driver Register, thereby detecting bad drivers while minimizing any inconvenience to good drivers.
Anyone applying for a Mass. Driver’s License or Learner’s Permit must provide proof of their address, date of birth, and signature. This proof must come from 3 separate approved documents. The Massachusetts Registry generally does not accept photocopies and requires original documents. The Registry accepts most non-expired immigration documents such as a Permanent Resident Card or “green card,” employment authorization card, and other such INS documents. Only certain classes of visas are acceptable. In lieu of a social security card, the Registry will also accept a federal social security number (SSN) card denial notice as acceptable proof of identity. This must come from the Social Security Administration and it cannot be more than 60 days old.
The Registry will also check your name and social security number with the National Driver Register and the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS). The NDR is an interstate database of driving records and the PDPS is a system which tracks problem drivers whose licenses are suspended or revoked. If your license or right to operate is suspended or revoked, the Registry will not issue you a Massachusetts license or renew your existing license. Instead, the RMV will direct you to the state where the suspension or revocation was initiated. It often makes sense to consult with a lawyer if you have a NDR block on your license.