Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Our Continuing Exploits in New England: The RMV, part 2

So, as promised (I know, you were all so hoping for this) a run down of the process of getting our car registered in the state of Massachusetts.

First, let me say, I hate going to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. I suspect that I'm not alone. It's a horrid, soul sucking place that is probably as close as one can get to purgatory (if you believe in that sort of thing, and in fact I don't) on Earth. It involves a great deal of waiting, paper work, and in my case, crossing my fingers that all of that said paperwork is properly filled out.

I have gone to the RMV five times. Twice to get my driver's license, another three times to deal with car registration, although on the fourth visit I waited around for about ten minutes, then decided it wasn't worth it and biked home. There were no tears this time, but I had a forty-minute bike ride (one way, and not including the extra time I spent lost) just to get a sheet of paper.

So, for all you Canadians out there, who might be moving to the United States, here are the details of what you need in order to import your Canadian vehicle (do note this is all specific to Mass and may be different in other states).

1) Import papers. You're supposed to get this when you cross the boarder, of course they didn't even look at our car when we crossed at Kingston-Lewiston, so we didn't have any. This is what I biked forty-five minutes for*. I had to go down to the Port Authority in Boston with a slew of papers. You need to show that you own the car, so I brought our Bill of Lading. You also have to have a Letter of Conformity from the manufacturer of our car to prove that it conforms with the requirements of the US (this was a relatively simple phone call to Mercedes Benz, then they emailed us their form letter). I think they took my Alberta registration, too. I rather insensibly forgot to bring my passport, but I think they customs officer took pity on me and just took my driver's license for proof ID.

2) RMV-1 form. This is the standard form required to register any car in Mass. I got mine from my Insurance Company (GEICO), and they filled out a portion of it for me. You can get a copy of the form, RMV-1 here. Fill it out as best you can, but the person at the RMV will definitely let you know if you're missing something. The woman I had on my last visit was surly, and I was worried she was going to find a way to deny me my registration, thankfully she didn't.

3) The third thing you need is an Affidavit in Support for Exemption from Sales or Use Tax for a Motor Vehicle Purchased Outside of Massachusetts. I couldn't find an online copy of it, but it was about four lines long, so it didn't take long to fill out, even if you have to get one when you arrive at the RMV.

4) Your current car registration. So, whatever papers you've got from where ever you moved from. In our case our registration was for the province of Alberta.

5) Your Mass license. Although, now that I think about it, I can't remember if the woman actually looked at it, but you have to fill it out on the RMV-1 form.

6) Cash or check. Credit isn't accepted for car registration. Don't ask me why, I don't know.

I think that's everything, or at least that's everything I can remember. You can check US Environmental Protection Agency for import requirements. You can also check the state RMV website for Converting an out of state registration.

Still with me?

Last but not least, you have to get an emission sticker within 7 days of registering your car (or I would assume that you have to go back to the RMV and pay more money, and nobody wants to do that). I had a little trauma there, too, but nothing major.

Once that sticker is on your windshield, you're done with the RMV. If we're here for longer than a year, I plan to do my renewal over the Internet. Now we just have to decide if we want to pay for the Somerville parking permit, which is only another $30-40 more.



*I biked because I didn't want to navigate through Boston traffic, on my own to a place I'd never been before and more than likely end up lost while trying to deal with traffic.

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