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 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. When moving out of state, you’ll have to get the appropriate state-issued license. In a way, it’s similar to transferring your license to another state if it isn’t expired.
Regardless, having your license updated after a move is required. Most states mandate that you have your license changed immediately or after a certain period of time. The process isn’t complex or overly expensive, but it can be lengthy and requires paperwork and cooperation with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Here is everything you need to know to prepare and quicken the process so you can focus on getting acclimated to your new home.
Why is it important to transfer your driver’s license when you move to a new state?
After a move of any kind, obtaining a new driver’s license is just as important as having it renewed before its expiration date. After your move, a state may require anywhere from 30 to 90 days to make the necessary changes. Arizona, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont require the changes to be made immediately. California has a unique limit of 10 days, while Oregon has no time limit.
And like driving with an expired license, there are penalties for failing to get your license transferred in time. You may be issued citations and fines. At the same time, it can cause some discrepancy with your insurance company if you were to file a claim. It helps to plan your visit to the DMV ahead of time and look into what your new state’s time frame is.
What do I need in order to get my license updated at the DMV?
The Department of Motor Vehicles 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 DMV to transfer 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 license 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 DMV. Physical documents are preferred as opposed to photocopies.
- New residence address – Your new address is required. Proof of your relocation can be provided in the form of bills or mail addressed to your new home. Again, bringing in more than one article of proof 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 update my driver’s license after an out-of-state move?
Now that you’re aware of what you need and where to update your license, it’s time to talk about what you’ll be doing and what to expect during the process. A visit to the 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’s how to breeze through the license update process:
- Assemble your paperwork – The previous section lists all the required paperwork and documentation you must bring to the DMV. Take as much time as you need to make sure you have everything.
- Head to the DMV – The 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 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 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 license in driving school. Drivers with an expired license will have to take the driving test itself.
- Make your payment – Like buying a new sticker for your license plate, there is a fee you must pay the DMV for your new state accurate driver’s license. A driver’s license fee can be anywhere between $5 to $30. Use the DMV’s most preferred method of payment.
- Receive new license – You’ll receive your new license in the mail in a couple of weeks. The DMV will issue a temporary printout license for the time being –which functions just as a regular license.
What if my current license is expired and I need it changed?
The expiration date on your license can never go ignored. People who move with expired licenses don’t qualify for a license change since there is no existing one to transfer; this may result in having to get a new license altogether. This would involve the written, vision, 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 license. 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 license?
Like your driver’s license, your car insurance will need to be updated. Each state has a minimum requirement for auto coverage. If you already have a policy during your move, it can be transferred to the state you moved to (much like your license). Remember to always report your address change to your insurer so you’d be able to file a claim if necessary. They may cancel or drop your policy as a result. You do have the option of switching policies or companies in your new neighborhood. Shop around and compare quotes to find the most economical option for you.