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How to Transfer Your Driver's License to Another State

How to Transfer Your Driver's License to Another State

When it comes to moving to a new state, a task as daunting as relocating is making sure your legal paperwork is in order. Moving to a new state means moving to a new legal jurisdiction. With the change of something important as your address, you’ll be required to adjust your foremost identification –your driver’s license.

Having your driver’s license changed to match your new current address should be at the top of your checklist when moving.

Moving in-state is far less complicated since all you have to do is have your street address updated on your id card. When moving out of state, you’ll have to get the appropriate state-issued identification card. In a way, it’s similar to transferring your driver’s license to another state if it isn’t expired.

Regardless, having your driving licenses updated after a move is required. Most states mandate that you have your licenses changed immediately or after a certain period of time.

The process of switching your drivers license between different states isn’t complex or overly expensive, but it can be lengthy and requires paperwork and cooperation with the State Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV.

Here is everything you need to know to prepare and quicken the driver license transfer process so you can focus on getting acclimated to your new home.

Why Is It important to transfer your driver’s license when moving to a new state?

After a move of any kind, obtaining a new driver’s license is just as important as having your driving license renewed before its expiration date.

After your move, a state may require anywhere from 30 to 90 days to make the necessary documents changes. Arizona, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont require the changes of licenses to be made immediately. California has a unique limit of 10 days, while Oregon has no time limit when it comes to switching licenses from another state.

And like driving with an expired drivers license, there are penalties for failing to update your driver’s license in time. You may be issued citations and fines. At the same time, it can cause some discrepancies with your car insurance company if you were to file a car insurance claim. It helps to plan your visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV ahead of time and look into what your new state’s time frame for switching licenses is.

What Do You Need To Get Your Drivers License Updated at the DMV?

The Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV can go by a variety of other names depending on the state. They may be called the Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Transportation, or Office of Driver Services. In any case, they all operate in the same bureaucratic fashion. And with any bureaucracy, it’s all about the proper paperwork and forms.

Here’s what you’ll need to bring to your new local Department of Motor Vehicles or DMV to update your license:

  • Driver’s license - Bring your current driver’s license you want to have updated. It should not be expired. If it is, you can get a new ID there, but it would lengthen the process.
  • Additional identification - Your social security card or passport qualifies as additional government identification. In most cases, it helps to bring both to the Department of Motor Vehicle or DMV. Physical documents are preferred as opposed to photocopies.
  • New residence address - Your new address is required. Proof of your new current residency can be provided in the form of bills or mail addressed to your new home. Again, bringing in more than one article of proof of residency is highly recommended.
  • Payment method - The DMV charges a fee for a new or updated driver’s license. You may have to look into what payment methods your state will accept –cash, check, or credit. It helps to bring at least two, as some DMVs will not accept cash.

How Do I Transfer My Driver’s Licenses After Switching States?

Now that you’re aware of what you need and where to update your drivers license, it’s time to talk about what you’ll be doing and what to expect during the drivers license switching process.

A visit to the Department of Motor Vehicle or DMV may seem unappealing, but one visit is all it takes for your driver’s license to be updated for your workplace’s HR records, car insurance company, and state regulatory requirements.

Here are the steps on how to breeze through the driving license update process:

  • Assemble your paperwork - The previous section lists all the required paperwork and documentation you must bring to the Department of Motor Vehicle or DMV. Take as much time as you need to make sure you have everything.
  • Head to the DMV - The Department of Motor Vehicle or DMV can be infamous for its wait times. Some states may have an online service where you can register in advance. Word to the wise: there’s usually a lunch rush between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm every weekday. The Department of Motor Vehicle or DMV is generally packed on Saturdays. A morning or evening trip may save you time.
  • Qualifying tests - After you present your case and paperwork for a driver license change, you may be required to take some tests that prove you’re an able driver. The most common of these tests is the vision test; this is important if you wear glasses or have contacts. There may also be a written test like the one you took to first get your driving license in driving school. Drivers with an expired driver’s license will have to take the driving test itself.
  • Make your payment - Like buying a new sticker for your cars plate, there is a fee you must pay the DMV for your new state driver’s license. A driver’s license fee can be anywhere between $5 to $30. Use the Department of Motor Vehicle or DMV’s most preferred method of payment.
  • Receive a new driving license - You’ll receive your new drivers license in the mail in a couple of weeks. The Department of Motor Vehicle or DMV will issue a temporary printout driver license for the time being –which functions just like a regular one.

What If My Current Drivers License Is Expired and I Need It Changed?

The expiration date on your driving license can never go ignored. People who move to a new state with expired out-of-state licenses don’t qualify for a drivers license update since there is no existing driver license to transfer; this may result in having to get a new id card altogether. This would involve the written, vision, and driving test, and you may have to take a driver’s education course as well. There are no real penalties except your time.

Similarly, there are other groups that must follow the new driver’s license route as opposed to transferring. Naturally, teen drivers are required to complete their state driver’s education courses before receiving their updated licenses. People immigrating from outside the United States may also have to start with driver’s education to obtain their driver’s license.

How Does My Car Insurance Play Into Transferring My Driving License?

Like your driver’s license, your car insurance will need to be updated. Each state has a minimum requirement for auto insurance coverage.

If you already have a car insurance policy during your move, that vehicle insurance can be transferred to the state you moved to.

Remember to always report your address change to your car insurer so you’d be able to file a car insurance claim if necessary. They may cancel or drop your auto insurance policy as a result.

You do have the option of switching car insurance policies or auto insurance companies in your new state. Shop around and compare vehicle insurance quotes to find the most economical car insurance option for you in the new state.

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