If you make a significant life change like moving – from one street to another or a new state – you need to update your driver’s license information.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires you to change your license and registration address when you move. These tasks usually have strict deadlines and associated fees, and you have to act quickly.
This DMV requirement makes it important to add “update my license” to your to-do list when you change your address.
This post will explore what you need to update your license and how that process works depending on your new address.
Why Should I Update My License?
Before we go into what you need to update your license, let’s first understand why the DMV requires you to update your license in the first place.
When you move, both your mailing and residential addresses change. How will the DMV or your insurance locate and reach you?
This is why all states require you to update your new address with the DMV at a minimum. Updating your address will result in updating your driver’s license and sometimes your registration.
This way, the DMV will register your license and vehicle to the right address to ensure you get important mail at your new address. The DMV or your insurance company may want to contact you for many reasons such as:
- Registration reminders
- Traffic violation offense
- If you’re involved in a car accident
- If you blow through a toll lane without paying
- When the authorities need to locate you
In addition, many states also use your driver’s license for purposes of establishing residence and domicile, voter registration, and tax purposes.
Besides, after moving, failing to timely update your address may result in a breach of your insurance contract. A breach of your insurance contract can lead to the insurance policy’s cancellation or even a claim denial.
Since your license and registration play such an important role for the Government – both state and federal – failing to update them is classified as a misdemeanor crime in most states.
How Much Time Do I Have To Update My License?
When you move, you first need to figure out how much time you have to update your license.
Generally, most states have strict time limits on how long you have to update your current information, including your driver’s license, into their system.
Typically, all states require you to update your license within 30, 60, or 90 days of moving. In Arizona, the state requires you to update your license within 10 days of your move if you’ve moved within the state and immediately if you’re moving into the state.
Whether you’re moving within the state or to another state, it is important to update your license immediately to avoid the penalties that come with an untimely license update.
Getting Started To Update Your License? Find Your DMV
Your first step towards updating your license is to figure out where, or which Government entity handles driver’s licenses in your state.
Usually, it is the DMV or the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) that handles drivers’ licenses in most states. In some states, it is the Department of Transportation (DOT).
The local DMV in your area is responsible for issuing vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses. They also make sure licenses and registrations stay up-to-date.
You can find the local DMV through their website. Your local DMV’s website will have a complete list of the documentation needed to update your driver’s license, as well as the mandated time frame. For states like Arizona, the time frame is immediate.
The sooner you can update your license and check it off your list, the better.
Ways To Update Driver’s Your License
There are two ways you can use to update your driving license:
You can update your license online through your local DMV’s website. If you moved in-state, you could visit your state’s DMV website to change your address online. Usually, you will fill out an online form.
Offline at the DMV’s offices
If you choose to visit the DMV/RTO personally for a driving license update, you will make at least two visits to the office. First, you will collect the application form and other forms and then make a second visit for document submission, verification, and fee payment of license update fee.
In both ways, it is important to prepare the required documents and be ready to pay the license update fees.
What Do I Need To Update My License?
You do not need the back and forth movement at the DMV. So, it is important to collect and carry the proper and required documentation and personal information.
Understanding how to update your driver’s license usually comes down to the type of update you need to complete, which is based on two things:
- How you’re going to update your license (the method).
- Your destination.
If you want to update your driving license online, you will download, fill and then scan the DMV license update forms.
If you’re willing to personally visit the DMV/RTO to update your license, it is recommended to make multiple photocopies of the required documents.
Here is a list of documents required to update your driving license:
- Personally identifying documents: You need to carry your driver’s birthdate, license, social security card, and passport. If you will have a different name on your driver’s license from that of your SS card (for example, because you got married and took your partner’s name), you must carry your legal name change documents.
- Proof of residence: Typically, most states require you to provide at least two documents to prove that you live in the state, such as bills or statements from reputable companies (e.g., utility bills, auto insurance bills, cable bills, or mortgage statements). You must ensure that these documents bear both your full name and current address.
- Proof of insurance: In some states, you need to prove that your car is covered with the state-approved and required insurer and amount, respectively. This will require you to carry your insurance cards or any other proof of coverage.
- Proof of payment. You can check online to find out the state-appropriate form of payment – cash, check, or credit card for your driver’s license update, then make the payment and provide proof.
Note: The documentation requirements for updating your driver’s license vary from state to state. You can do a quick web search before your DMV appointment to make sure you carry with you the necessary and appropriate documents. And for all the documents you carry, ensure you bring original copies together with the scans or photocopies.
What Should I Expect At The DMV?
Thanks to technology, many DMV’s have come a long way in efficiency and processes. DMV visits are less time-consuming today, but you will still have to wait in line. If you don’t want to worry about long wait times, you can make an appointment.
If you’re updating your license or getting a new one, expect some testing that might include:
- A written driver’s test
- Vision testing
- A behind-the-wheel driving test
Updating your license comes with a fee, especially if you’re from out-of-state. Most states charge between $20 and $40 for updating or new licenses, but this varies.
In Arizona, the fees for updating your license if you’re from another state or obtaining a new one vary based on age as follows:
- Ages 16-39: $25
- Ages 40-44: $20
- Ages 45-49: $15
- Age 50 and older: $10
Updating your driver’s license is important to avoid insurance and authority breaches. You may have to update your license immediately in some states, whereas you have up to 90 days in other states. You need to round up the required documents in advance to ensure you don’t miss anything when updating your license.