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When and Where to Renew Your Driver’s License

Date posted: 05/30/2012

by Melissa Crumish on
in License & Endoresements

359 When and Where to Renew Your Drivers LicenseIt’s Drivers License Renewal Time Again

Depending on your state, you might receive a renew license notice. For example, Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation (DOT) sends license renewal cards to all of its drivers, but Mississippi doesn’t, putting the pressure on the driver license holder to be “expiration-date aware.”

So, it just depends.

Regardless of your state’s policy, there’s an easy way to determine your driver license’s expiration date – check the license itself. The expiration date is listed on the front. If the expiration date is approaching, make time to renew your license while it’s still valid.

Don’t delay. You risk getting ticketed if caught driving with an expired license.

Where to Renew License

How you renew your drivers license depends on your state and your situation. Some states require renewing in person, while others also give the options to renew by mail or online. Your mailing renewal reminder (if applicable) will explain how to renew.

Situations that may warrant renewing in person include:

  • You renewed your last license by mail or online.
  • Your drivers license has expired.
  • Your expiring drivers license is suspended, revoked, or cancelled.
  • You’re a certain age. Older drivers, for example, are generally required to pass a vision test.

NOTE: This only applies to states with multiple renewal options.

Renew License While Out of State

If you know you’re going to be out of the state when your drivers license expires, check into the possibility of renewing in advance. Some states allow license renewals up to six months prior.

Otherwise, contact your DMV for guidance. Some Department of Motor Vehicles, in lieu of renewing, allow for drivers license extensions. In Washington, for example, drivers can apply for a 12-month extension, provided certain situations are met.

NOTE: Most states waive drivers license renewal mandates for active military members while serving out of state.

License Renewal for New State Residents

Most states require applying for a new license within a certain period of time of establishing residency. Delaware, for example, gives new residents a 60-day window.

Provided your out-of-state license is valid, testing, in most situations, will be waived. Expect tighter scrutiny if you’re a teen driver younger than 18.

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