The United States is a mobile society, with over 30 million people relocating from one state to another in 2020. That's a lot of folks who need to establish residency at a new address!
If you're one of those people, you'll need to renew your driver's license in addition to getting a cable provider and new bank. It's not just busy work. It's against the law to have a driver's license from one state once you become a permanent resident elsewhere.
Read on to learn what you need to know about renewing a driver's license when you move.
Can I Renew a Driver's License in Another State?
The short answer is, yes, you can — and indeed, you must.
Because each state has its own rules and regulations, you need a new driver's license each time you establish residency in a new state to be compliant with the laws of that state.
Must I Prove Residency?
Yes, you'll be asked to prove residency when you renew a driver's license in a new state.
Not surprisingly, each state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has its own list of documents you can use to prove that you are now a legal resident of their state. Here are some of the typical acceptable documents:
Rental or lease agreement.
Medical documents showing your current address.
A resident hunting or fishing license.
To find the list of documents required by your state, check their DMV website.
What Steps Do I Take to Renew a Driver's License in Another State?
Check the DMV website. As we've already noted a couple of times, each state has its own rules and requirements. The state of Colorado, for instance, won't allow licensed individuals under the age of 21 to renew their license until they turn 22. Thus, knowing the exact process in your state is an important first step.
Note the period of time you have to renew the driver's license in the new state. Yes, this also varies state by state! Typically, you'll get at least 30 days to make the switch, but some states — Arizona, for instance — want you to get that new license immediately. Others allow a more generous 90 days.
Know what you'll need to bring to the DMV when you renew your driver's license. In addition to the required proof of residency, you'll need to provide your Social Security card or other proof of your birth date. You'll need to bring a form of payment, too, because every state charges a fee for license renewal, and some charge an application fee as well. Many — not all — states require you to pass a vision test when renewing an out-of-state license, so if you wear glasses, make sure to bring them.
Head to the closest DMV. To renew a driver's license in another state, you usually need to show up in person. Some DMVs allow you to make an appointment online so you won't need to grab a number and wait for hours. Others let you fill out the application online.
What Happens if My Current License is Expired?
Be prepared to go through some extra hoops if your current license is expired.
Some states require you take a vision test in addition to filling out your application at the DMV itself. You may need to take a driver's test as well. If the idea of that makes you nervous, taking an online driver's ed course may give you confidence.