Moving to a new state can be an exciting adventure, but it requires a bit of paperwork and a few extra errands. High on your moving checklist should be figuring out how to update your driver’s license. Not only is this helpful for things such as HR at the new workplace, but states legally mandate that you update your driver’s license within a certain period of time after a move.
I compiled some tips below to help you navigate the red tape of getting a new driver’s license, and some nuggets of moving wisdom.
The first step in figuring out how and where to update your driver’s license is to identify the government entity that handles driver’s licenses in your state. Oftentimes, it's called the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Their website will have a complete list of the documentation required to update your driver’s license, as well as the legally mandated timeframe. For some states, this means immediately. The sooner you can check this off your list, the better.
|State||State Transportation Department||Number of Days After Moving to Update License|
|Alabama||Department of Public Safety||30|
|Alaska||Division of Motor Vehicles||10|
|Arizona||Department of Transportation||Immediately|
|Arkansas||Office of Driver Services||30|
|California||Department of Motor Vehicles||10|
|Colorado||Division of Motor Vehicles||30|
|Connecticut||Department of Motor Vehicles||60|
|D.C.||Department of Motor Vehicles||30|
|Delaware||Division of Motor Vehicles||30|
|Florida||Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles||60|
|Georgia||Department of Driver Services||10|
|Hawaii||Department of Transportation||30|
|Idaho||Division of Motor Vehicles||Varies by county|
|Illinois||Office of the Secretary of State||90|
|Indiana||Bureau of Motor Vehicles||90|
|Iowa||Department of Transportation||60|
|Kansas||Division of Vehicles||30|
|Kentucky||Driver Licensing Division||90|
|Louisiana||Office of Motor Vehicles||30|
|Maine||Bureau of Motor Vehicles||30|
|Maryland||Motor Vehicle Administration||30|
|Massachusetts||Registry of Motor Vehicles||60|
|Michigan||Office of the Secretary of State||30|
|Minnesota||Division of Driver and Vehicle Services||Immediately|
|Mississippi||Department of Public Safety||60|
|Missouri||Missouri Department of Revenue||60|
|Montana||Department of Justice’s Motor Vehicle Division||30|
|Nebraska||Department of Motor Vehicles||60|
|Nevada||Department of Motor Vehicles||30|
|New Hampshire||Division of Motor Vehicles||30|
|New Jersey||Motor Vehicle Commission||60|
|New Mexico||Motor Vehicle Division||60|
|New York||Department of Motor Vehicles||Immediately|
|North Carolina||Department of Motor Vehicles||30|
|North Dakota||Department of Transportation||60|
|Ohio||Bureau of Motor Vehicles||60|
|Oklahoma||Department of Public Safety||30|
|Oregon||Department of Motor Vehicles||No time limit|
|Pennsylvania||Department of Transportation||30|
|Rhode Island||Division of Motor Vehicles||60|
|South Carolina||Department of Motor Vehicles||30|
|South Dakota||Department of Public Safety||90|
|Tennessee||Driver Services Division||90|
|Texas||Department of Public Safety||30|
|Utah||Department of Public Safety||90|
|Vermont||Office of the Secretary of State||Immediately|
|Virginia||Department of Motor Vehicles||60|
|Washington||Department of Licensing||60|
|West Virginia||Division of Motor Vehicles||30|
|Wisconsin||Division of Motor Vehicles||60|
|Wyoming||Department of Transportation||One year or immediately if from GA, MA, MI, TN, WI|
Once you know how soon you’ll need to update your driver’s license and where to do it, it’s time to search in your moving boxes for personal documentation. This will prove your identity and your new residency in the area. Before heading to the license office, check your state’s specific list of verification requirements. In general, we’ve found that you will need the following key pieces of documentation:
For all these documents, bring original copies rather than scans or photocopies. And don’t expect to be able to show an online bill from your phone as proof – you must bring hard copies.
Pro tip: Make sure you don’t have any big events coming up (like a flight) in the weeks after heading to get your license. When I went to change mine, I received a paper printout version of my new license signed by the DMV worker. They told me they would mail the hard copy within a few weeks. I’m not sure if I could have flown without the hard copy, and when I went to grab drinks with my friends, I brought my passport as identification to be safe.
Drivers under 18 may need to take a driver’s test in their new state or provide proof of completed driving classes – even if their license hasn’t yet expired. If your license from your old state has expired, you won’t be able to transfer your license to your new state. Instead, you will need to follow the steps to get a new license in that state, which will include a driver’s test (yes, like the one you took when you were 16).
You will also need to update your auto insurance when moving. Every state requires drivers to carry a minimum level of liability insurance coverage. Those requirements vary from state to state, and your insurance coverage rates vary from zip code to zip code.
While you’re considering changes to your policy, compare quotes with new companies in your area to see if you should stick with your same insurance company. You make the switch to someone who can better serve your coverage needs, budget, and service-level preference.
You must report an address change to your insurance company or else you could risk being dropped or having a claim denied, cautions The Zebra’s own licensed insurance agent Neil Richardson. This is because the insurance company wants to make sure they are rating your policy on the correct zip code and account for any other people who may live at the new location, such as a new spouse.
In general, you need to update your driver’s license for official and legal records (potentially with your job’s HR department), updating your car insurance, and to comply with state regulations. So while you may get away with keeping your old license for a while, there are eventual consequences.
Contrary to most pop culture references, the DMV visit is not the worse experience in the world, especially if you’re prepared. So grab a book and get it done now so that you can focus on more exciting things, like discovering the best taco place in your neighborhood or where to get the best thrift finds to decorate your new place. And welcome home!