How to update your driver’s license after you move
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Whether you just moved one street over or across the country, odds are high your new Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) — or RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles), BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) or DOT (Department of Transportation) in certain states — requires you to notify them of your change of address.
We know, adding “figure out how to update my driver’s license” to your moving to-do list is not a pleasant prospect. But with this DMV change of address guide, you’ll get all the info you need to know.
It’s important not to procrastinate on your driver license address change. Most states have strict time limits on how long you have to get your current information into their system. In this guide, we’ll explore how that process works depending on where you’re moving from and your new address.
Do you need a new driver’s license after you move?
Whether or not you need a new driver’s license after you move depends on where you’re moving. Let’s look at in-state vs. out-of-state moves.
Do I need a new driver’s license if I move in-state?
States vary in which requires you to get a replacement driver’s license with an in-state move. All states require you to update your address with the DMV at a minimum, which may or may not result in an updated driver’s license. This allows the DMV to register your vehicle to the right address and ensures you get important mail (like future registration reminders) delivered to your new address. The good news? Most DMV’s allow you to process this change online.
Do I need a new driver’s license if I moved to a new state?
If you moved to a new state, the situation is entirely different. To minimize hassle on the frontend of your move, you might be wondering, “Can you live in one state and have a driver’s license in another?”
The answer is usually no, although there are some exceptions (college students, for example, might be off the hook). Generally speaking, the DMV of your new state will require you to get a local license and re-register your vehicle with them within a certain time period (usually 30, 60, or 90 days).
Whether you moved up the block or to a whole new state, locating your nearest DMV and determining how much time you have to change your license is a top priority. Below are a few tips for doing both.
How to find your local DMV
The DMV (or RMV, BMV or DOT) is a government agency that exists in each state. In Hawaii, each county maintains their own DMV instead of having state-wide DMVs.
The local DMV is responsible for issuing driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations, as well as making sure registrations stay up-to-date. You can thank them for the colorful sticker you replace on your license plate each year.
If you’re wondering how to update a driver’s license after your move and how long you have to do it, find the state in which your new address is located below.
Collect the proper documentation and personal information
Now that you know when to update your license, you might still have one question lingering. How do you complete your driver license address change? Finding out how to update your driver’s license really comes down to the type of update you need to complete.
If you just moved in-state, visit your state’s DMV website to see if you can handle your DMV change of address online. Usually, this requires filling out an online form.
But if you need to visit the DMV, you’ll want to do so with all of the right documentation in hand. Bring the following to ensure a smooth and successful visit:
- Personally identifying documents: Bring your social security card and passport with you to make the process easier on yourself. If the name on your driver’s license will be different from the name on your card (e.g., because you’re married and took your partner’s last name), bring your legal name change document (e.g., your married license) with you.
- Residency documents: Typically you need at least two documents proving that you live in the state. Your best bet is bills or statements from reputable companies (e.g., auto insurance bills, mortgage statements). Make sure these documents show both your full name and your current address.
- Proof of insurance: Some states want to see that your car is covered with the state-required amount of insurance before they’ll issue you a new license. Bring your insurance cards or another proof of coverage with you.
Documentation requirements can vary from state to state. A quick web search before your DMV appointment can help you ensure you’re bringing the necessary paperwork with you.
While you’re at the DMV, you might be required to fill out additional paperwork like a driver’s license application or change of address form. With the above documents, you shouldn’t have any trouble filling in the required fields.
What to expect at the DMV
DMV’s have come a long way in advances to processes and efficiency. Thanks to increased services online and the ability to schedule appointments, DMV visits are less time-consuming.
If you’re worried about long wait times, the best thing you can do is make an appointment. This lets you skip the first-come-first-served part of the process, minimizing your wait time there. It’s still recommended to show up a few minutes early to your appointment because some DMVs have specific sections for certain transactions and you want to be sure you’re standing or sitting in the right spot for your appointment.
If you’re getting a new license, be ready for some testing. That might include:
- Vision testing
- A written driver’s test
- A behind-the-wheel driving test
If you’re nervous about a possible test, many state DMVs offer sample tests online so you can brush up on the rules of the road.
Obtaining a new license usually comes with a fee as well. Most states charge around $20-40 for new licenses, but it varies. A simple search online or call to your local DMV should help you find how much the new license will cost you. Pay attention to the payment types your specific DMV accepts (e.g., cash, check, credit card).
Other steps you may have to take to get a new license after moving
The final step in the process is to give your auto insurance provider a call. Recall how we mentioned that you may need to show proof of insurance at the DMV? You will need to get in touch with your insurance provider to make that happen. You don’t want to get caught driving without valid insurance, after all. If you don’t have a license in your new state yet, you can use our guide to getting coverage without a license.
Ideally, when you call your insurer, they’ll be able to adjust your policy to your new address. If you moved in-state, this should be a simple change, but it might affect your rate slightly.
If you moved states, ask your insurer if they can transfer your policy to your new home state. If they can’t, you’ll need to switch to a new insurance provider and get a policy to cover your vehicle in your new home state.
Have your proof of insurance in hand if you have to pay a visit to the DMV in-person to get a new license.
Moving can be a hassle, and updating your driver’s license can feel like a complicated addition to the process. But it pays to take care of it quickly:
- If you moved in-state, you might need to report your change of address as soon as possible.
- If you moved to a new state, you are typically required to get an updated replacement drivers license within 30-90 days.
With online options for information, updating your license and scheduling appointments, this process is much more simplified.