The Mass DOT has released an official letter detailing regulations on the use of temporary plates and purchasing vehicles out of state.
Massachusetts does not issue temporary registration plates for its own residents but it does recognize temporary registration plates validly registered in other states to non-residents of Massachusetts who are temporarily operating in this state (assuming the plates are not expired or suspended.) Thus, a Connecticut resident operating a motor vehicle in Massachusetts on validly issued temporary Connecticut registration plates is OK, but a Massachusetts resident operating a newly purchased motor vehicle in Massachusetts with validly issued temporary Connecticut plates is not.
A Massachusetts resident who purchases a motor vehicle in another state must apply for and attach valid Massachusetts registration plates to the vehicle before he/she can drive the vehicle back to Massachusetts.
This is actually rather obvious as MA shouldn’t have any say in the registration laws of another state. Basically, if you are a MA resident, having temp plates is illegal, but if you are a resident of another state with Temp plates of that state, you are free to drive in MA legally.
Unfortunately, MA makes it quite tricky to purchase out of state vehicles because you must complete all necessary paperwork up front and have all legal documents with you beforehand (title, registration, RMV-1, etc.)
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