A vehicle identification number (also known as a VIN) is a unique serial number used to identify individual motor vehicles. In 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standardized the format, requiring all motor vehicles to have a 17 digit vehicle identification number. The first three digits identify the manufacturer, and the remaining digits describe the year, make, model, and other vehicle specific characteristics.
• Vehicles with a missing or destroyed vehicle identification number
• Vehicles with a new motor
• Kit cars
• Homemade trailers with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 3,000 pounds.
A Massachusetts-Assigned Vehicle Identification Number is used for Certificate of Title and vehicle registration purposes and is considered the vehicle's identifying number after assignment.
A Massachusetts-Assigned Vehicle Identification Number contains the prefix “MA” and five digits. The Vehicle Identification Number is issued on a pressurized decal with adhesive backing and tamper-proof features. Each decal carries a control number for accountability purposes.
Applying for a Massachusetts-Assigned Vehicle Identification Number
Massachusetts-Assigned Vehicle Identification Numbers are assigned and affixed to the vehicle by the State Police at any Massachusetts salvage inspection site by appointment only. The State Police will inspect the vehicle to ensure the vehicle and any parts used to restore the vehicle are not stolen and whether the vehicle is eligible for a Massachusetts-Assigned Vehicle Identification Number.
1. A completed Application for Replacement of Vehicle Identification Number
2. Fee for Affixing a Massachusetts-Assigned Vehicle Identification Number. Please see the Title Fees section for the applicable fee.
At the time of the scheduled appointment, the customer must bring the following documentation to the inspection site:
• Two copies of the Application for Replacement of Vehicle Identification Number
• The original receipt of fee payment from the RMV Service Center
• Ownership documents, including:
o Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin if the kit is new
o Certificate of Title if the vehicle is used or if chassis is used
o If applicable, receipts showing proof of acquisition of all major component parts used to restore the vehicle. In case of used parts, the receipts must contain the Vehicle Identification Number of the vehicle from which the parts were taken
At the time of the inspection, any restorations to the vehicle must be complete, and the vehicle needs to be operational. On all 1987 and newer model year vehicles, the manufacturer's label, as required by the Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Standard, must be attached to the major parts of new car models designated as high theft vehicles and to replacement parts for these models. Although this is not an emission/safety inspection, the vehicle must have all of the equipment required by Motor Vehicle Regulations 540 CMR 4.06 to qualify for a Massachusetts Assigned VIN. If a vehicle does not meet the requirements, the inspector will give a customer guidance on next steps.