How to Update Your Driver’s License After Moving to a New State

Last Updated on September 24, 2023

If you have moved to a new state, then you need to update your license soon after your move.

Fortunately, all states make it easy to transfer a license. No matter where you’re moving from, you should find it easy to transfer your old license to your new state by contacting the local DMV or equivalent organization.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about updating your driver’s license after moving to a new state.

How Driver’s License Transfers Work

Here are the fast facts about transferring a license to a new state:

In most situations, you can easily accomplish these tasks by contacting the DMV online or in person. Call or visit your local DMV to transfer your license or ID, transfer vehicle registration, and change your address. To transfer your insurance to a new state, call your insurance provider.

Your new state may issue a temporary, paper driving license. Then, you wait for your new license to arrive in the mail within the next few days.

How to Update Your Driver’s License for a New State: Step-by-Step Guide

Every day, thousands of Americans move to a new state for the first time. When you become a resident of a new state, you must update your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and address with your state’s DMV.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1) Make an appointment with your new state’s DMV.

Step 2) Pass a vision screening test and other criteria. Many states require you to complete a basic vision test to receive a driver’s license. As long as your vision is 20/40 or better, you can legally drive. If you do not pass the vision test, you may need corrective lenses or glasses to obtain a license.

Step 3) Have your picture taken. The DMV in your old state will not share your photo with the DMV in your new state. Your new state’s DMV needs a photo for your driver’s license. During your DMV appointment, you will have your photo taken for your new license.

Step 4) Bring documentation proving status, identity, birth date, citizenship or legal presence, and more. To receive a new license in your new state, you typically need to bring all of the following to the DMV:

Out-of-state license or other document proving identity and birth date

  • Social Security Number (SSN) card
  • Proof of citizenship (like a US passport) or proof of legal presence in the United States (like a permanent resident card or green card)
  • Proof of physical NC address
  • Proof of liability insurance coverage

Not all states require proof of legal presence to receive a driver’s license. Check your state’s DMV requirements to verify citizenship and legal presence requirements.

Step 5) Receive a temporary paper license. The DMV will print off a temporary, paper license with your photo, driver’s license number, and identifying information. At this point, your old driver’s license is considered invalid (you cannot have a driver’s license in two states), and you are expected to dispose of it or surrender it. You can use the temporary, paper license to drive legally for the next 30 to 60 days. Then, a full driver’s license should arrive in your mailbox within 1 to 2 weeks.

Do I Need to Take a Road Test?

If you have a valid, active driver’s license from your old state, you will not need to take a road test to obtain a driver’s license in your new state.

As long as your new DMV accepts your proof of identity, you should be able to receive a new driver’s license from your new state without completing a license state, road test, or any other type of verification.

However, if you are obtaining a driver’s license in the United States for the first time after living outside of the country, then you generally need to complete a road test or driver’s test to receive your license. Some states recognize driver’s licenses from outside the country, but most do not.

How to Update Your Address When Moving Within a State

If you are moving within a state, you may not need to visit the DMV in person. Instead, most states allow you to update your address online.

You must notify the DMV of your change in address within 30 to 60 days of moving to the new address.

Contact the DMV online, by phone, or in-person to confirm your change of address. The DMV may require the following:

  • Proof of new address
  • Proof of age and identity (like your driver’s license)
  • Proof of citizenship or legal presence (like your US passport or US permanent resident card / green card)

How Long to Wait Before Updating Your License

Moving to a new state is a hassle. Moving is tough, and you may have lots of paperwork to do.

Different states have different rules about updating your license. Some states require you to update your license immediately after moving, for example, while others give you 30 to 60 days. Other states give you up to one year to update your license – but only if you’re from certain states.

Here are the number of days you have before needing to update your license in each state:

  • Alabama: 30
  • Alaska: 10
  • Arizona: Immediately
  • Arkansas: 30
  • California: 10
  • Colorado: 30
  • Connecticut: 60
  • Washington, DC: 30
  • Delaware: 30
  • Florida: 60
  • Georgia: 10
  • Hawaii: 30
  • Idaho: 90
  • Illinois: 90
  • Indiana: 90
  • Iowa: 60
  • Kansas: 30
  • Kentucky: 90
  • Louisiana: 30
  • Maine: 30
  • Maryland: 30
  • Massachusetts: 60
  • Michigan: 30
  • Minnesota: Immediately
  • Mississippi: 60
  • Missouri: 60
  • Montana: 30
  • Nebraska: 60
  • Nevada: 30
  • New Hampshire: 30
  • New Jersey: 60
  • New Mexico: 60
  • New York: Immediately
  • North Carolina: 60
  • North Dakota: 60
  • Ohio: 60
  • Oklahoma: 30
  • Oregon: 30
  • Pennsylvania: 30
  • Rhode Island: 60
  • South Carolina: 30
  • South Dakota: 90
  • Tennessee: 90
  • Texas: 30
  • Utah: 90
  • Vermont: Immediately
  • Virginia: 60
  • Washington: 60
  • West Virginia: 30
  • Wisconsin: 60
  • Wyoming: 365

Generally, you should apply for a new license soon after moving to a new state. Although states may recommend starting the process immediately, most states do not require you to begin applying for a license the day you cross the state line. Contact the DMV or visit in person soon after arriving to avoid complications.

Final Word

People move to new states every day. Each state’s DMV has a well-established process for giving a new driver’s license to a new resident.

Yes, you need to update your driver’s license after moving to a new state. Most states require you to update your license within 30 to 60 days of arrival.

To update your driver’s license after moving to a new state, contact the local DMV or visit the DMV in person. You may need to provide your old license, proof of citizenship or legal presence, proof of insurance, and proof of address to receive a new license for your new state.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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