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Driver’s licenses are important for more than just legally operating your vehicle. They can help you vote, get on an airplane, open a bank account, and enroll your child in school, among dozens of other day-to-day tasks. They’re commonly used to prove your identity and where you live.

Because they’re so essential, it’s vital that your driver’s license displays your current address. All states legally require you to update your address when you move.

Here’s what you need to know about changing your address on your driver’s license when you move:

Do I need to change my driver’s license when I move?

When you move, you’ll need to update your address with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles — note that depending on the state, this agency may be called the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or another name. This ensures that license renewal notices and other important legal notifications make it to the right place.

If you’re moving within your state, you can often change your address quickly online. We’ll go over how to update your address later in this article.

When you update your address with the local DMV, you can generally take that opportunity to request a new driver’s license that shows your updated address. Many states legally require you to do so, and some, like Nevada, will automatically send you a new license when you change your address.

Good to know: Not all states require you to get a new, physical driver’s license with your new address. The changes for the actual license and car registration will depend on where you move. For example, Tennessee law states that you must update your address with the state’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security but don’t have to update your physical license. The state of Pennsylvania will mail you an address update card that you must carry with your old license at all times.

However, carrying an ID with an outdated address can cause you problems when you go to use it — so it’s wise to go ahead and order a new license with your current address. Before deciding against it, check with your state’s motor vehicle authority to find out the legal requirements where you live.

Learn More: How to Get Car Insurance Without a License

Moving in your state vs. moving out of state

The rules for changing your address often are different for people moving within the same state and people moving out of state. Usually, they’re more stringent if you’re moving over state lines.

To get an out-of-state driver’s license, you’ll likely need to go to that state’s DMV office in person and apply. You’ll also usually need to bring along documents to prove who you are and where you live now, as well as proof of your Social Security number. Make sure to bring your driver’s license from your former state.

In some states, you’re also required to notify your former state that you’ve moved out. You may also need to turn in your license plate. Other states don’t require you to notify them of an out-of-state move.

Important: If you’re moving out of state, make sure to check the rules both for the state you’re moving to and the state you’re moving from.

Learn More: Can I Insure a Car That’s Not in My Name?

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How long do I have to change my driver’s license after moving?

Each state has its own requirements for how quickly you need to update your address with the Department of Motor Vehicles or other motor vehicle agency. In most cases, it ranges between 30 and 60 days. If you’re moving from out of state, you may have a longer or shorter grace period, but be sure to check.

Here are the requirements for each state:

Check Out: Can You Get Car Insurance With a Learner’s Permit?

How do I change my driver’s license when I move?

The process for changing your driver’s license when you move depends on the state you live in. Each state has its own system for managing address changes. In many cases, though, you can do so quickly and easily online.

If you moved within the same state, you’ll typically just need your driver’s license number and new address. You may need to provide your Social Security number, and you may also need to upload proof of your new address, such as a utility bill, lease, or mortgage document.

A few states have other means of verifying your address. In some states, you’ll need to update your address with the U.S. Postal Service first. The state’s DMV then uses that information to process your address change.

Keep in mind: If you moved from out of state, the process of getting a driver’s license in your new state tends to be a little more complicated. You may need to appear in person at a Department of Motor Vehicles (or other agency) office. Depending on your state, you may be able to book an appointment at the DMV online.

When you go to the DMV for your new license, you’ll often need to bring the following documents:

  • Driver’s license from your old state
  • Identification documents, like a birth certificate or passport
  • Social Security card, or other proof of your Social Security number
  • Proof of residency, like a utility bill

You generally must surrender your old driver’s license when you receive your new one. Your state may also require you to pass a vision exam and a knowledge exam, and you may have to pay a fee or fees to get a new license. Be sure to check with the applicable agency in your state for specific requirements.

What happens if I don’t change my license after moving?

Failing to update your address is a violation of the law, often treated as a traffic infraction. You may be required to pay a small fine if you fail to update your address with the DMV. This fine varies from state to state. It can be as small as $5 but is often higher. In some states, your driver’s license may be automatically suspended if you fail to pay traffic fines.

If your license is ultimately suspended, that can make it more difficult to update your information online, requiring you to visit a DMV office in person to make the change.

Check Out: What Happens If You Get Into an Accident Without Car insurance?

Do I need to update my car insurance?

Yes, you’ll also need to update your address with your auto insurance carrier when you move. Most insurance providers base their rates in part on where you live. Just like the instances of auto accidents or speeding tickets, moving to a different area could impact the amount you pay for car insurance.

If you’re moving locally, changing your address with your car insurance carrier will likely be a simple process that doesn’t affect your rates much. Most of the large insurers allow you to easily update your address online.

If you’re moving out of state, however, you’ll generally need a new policy. Insurance is heavily regulated at the state level, and each state has its own rules that govern the types of car insurance you must carry. Your insurance provider will be able to guide you through the process of buying a new policy and canceling your old one.

Learn More: Do I Need Car Insurance for a Leased Vehicle?

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About the author
Andrew Dunn
Andrew Dunn

Andrew Dunn is an award-winning mortgage and finance writer with a decade of experience covering the industry with articles published at Fox Business, LendingTree, Credit Karma, Axios Charlotte, and more.

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