If I have a MA driver's license and now live in Philly, can I buy a car and register it in PA?

So let's say I'm originally from Boston, where I lived for about 20 years, and therefore have a Massachusetts driver's license. 

Note: although I have a driver's license, I have never owned a car of my own. Then two years ago, I moved to Philadelphia for a new job, and have been residing here ever since. Now I would like to finally buy my own car, but as you can imagine, it would be quite an ordeal trying to buy a car in the Philly area, find the time to lug it all the way back to Boston, do the VIN check with Boston PD, wait at the Mass. DMV to do the registration, wait for them to send the plates to my Mass. address, etc...

So could I just do all that -- registration, VIN check, emissions test, etc. -- all in Pennsylvania where I currently live? Could I register a car with PA plates even though I have a MA driver's license?

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  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    Actually, no you don't have a Mass driver's licence.  You moved to PA two years ago, which means you haven't had a valid driver's licence for roughly one year and 11 months.

    When you move to a new jurisdiction, you have between 15 and 90 days (it varies by jurisdiction) to switch your licence, registration and insurance (if applicable, and the licence is) over to the new jurisdiction.  If you don't switch over by the magic deadline, any and all of the above are no longer valid.  No exceptions made, no excuses accepted.

    Here's what you wanna do.  Go to the nearest PennDOT office, and tell them you just moved to PA last week.  You've been in and out of PA over the last couple of years, but you officially lived in Beantown until last Friday.  You were crashing at friends' and co-workers' places until you just recently got a place of your own.  Then give them your new PA address, and ask them to transfer your Mass licence over to your brand new (remember, last Friday) place of official residence.

    If you do this right, and if nobody asks too many detailed questions, you'll totally get away with it.  Nobody needs to know you've been living anywhere but your Boston address any longer than last Friday.

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    • Snezzy
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      Obi is right, as he usually is. The rules you must follow are those of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, not your own version of the rules.

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  • 1 month ago

    Yes, but you will also have to switch your license over to PA as well.  

    The vehicle has to be titled and registered in the same state you live in - which is the state on your driver's license, and it will have to be the same state forms on the insurance policy.  

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  • May
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    First.  You are making this waaaay too complicated because It isn't.

    This is a much misunderstood subject that so many people have all wrong. You don't need a drivers license to buy a car...or a loaf of bread or a pair of shoes, or a bunch of bananas.  Despite what many people mistakenly believe You don't even need a drivers license to register or to insure a car.  To insure a car, all that is needed is to have an "insurable interest" in the vehicle that you want to insure.  To register a car requires only that you are a legal resident of the state where you want to "register" the vehicle. Think of all of the people who do not have or cannot obtain a drivers license but yet own, have a vehicle registered and insured so that others may chauffeur them.  Think Companies, the wealthy, the disabled, the elderly.

    .

    For you since you want to DRIVE and since you live in PA. simply go to a PA. DMV office and start the process of getting a drivers license.

    Remember the words.... "INSURABLE INTEREST"and also remember......You ONLY need a drivers license to DRIVE !

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    • Anonymous
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      This is partially true.  Some insurance companies WILL issue a policy if you don't have a license, but they will EXCLUDE you as a driver.  You STILL have to be a legal resident of that state, and you STILL need to have a valid driver listed on the policy. 

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  • 1 month ago

    Even if you could, you can't drive it. Having a license from a state where you don't live is basically the same as not having any license. To be allowed to drive, you must get a license from the state where you live.

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  • 1 month ago

    i would ask the dmv this question

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  • Ron
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    You will not be able to keep that MA drivers license

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  • Scott
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    First, get a PA driver's license. Then buy a car and register and insure it in PA.

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  • oikoσ
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Yes, but you will be expected to get a PA driver's license soon. Getting pulled over with registration and driver's license from different states is a recipe for trouble.

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  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    i would ask the dmv this question

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