New to Rhode Island
Once you become a resident of Rhode Island, you'll need to visit the DMV in person and apply for a RI driver's license and register your car. After your move, you may also wish to register as an organ donor and register to vote in the state.
The Division of Motor Vehicles of the state's Department of Revenue is Rhode Island's main source for motor vehicle and licensing services. You'll visit the DMV for such services as:
- Driver's license application, instruction permits, and state photo ID cards.
- License renewal and replacements.
- Motorcycle licenses.
- Commercial driver's licenses (CDL).
- Name and address changes.
- Vehicle registration and renewal.
- Titling and license plates.
Other state departments that you may interact with as you establish residency include:
- The Department of Environmental Management, for boat registration and licensing.
- The Traffic Tribunal or municipal court, if you acquire a traffic violation.
- The Board of Elections, if you choose to participate in elections within Rhode Island.
If you have a driver's license from your previous state, you'll need to transfer it to Rhode Island within 30 days of becoming a resident. You'll need to visit your local RI DMV office in person and submit the required forms and payment. For more information, visit our Applying for a New License page.
If you're a teenager, you will only be eligible for a RI driver's license once you meet the state's graduated driver's licensing (GDL) program requirements. You may receive credit for driving training you received in your previous state. For more information, please refer to our Applying for a Teen License page.
NOTE: If you need a commercial driver's license (CDL), see our guide to Applying for a New CDL in Rhode Island.
If you're a new resident to Rhode Island, but you don't plan on driving, you can apply for an identification card instead. You can't use this for driving in the state, but it can be used as proof of your age, identity, and address. Learn more on our page about Identification Cards in Rhode Island.
If you're bringing your out-of-state car with you to Rhode Island, you must register it with the RI DMV within 30 days of establishing residency. Our page onCar Registration in Rhode Island explains how to do this in simple terms.
Registering Special Vehicles
A special vehicle can be a trailer, motorhome, moped, or other off-road vehicle. These vehicles also need to be registered with the DMV, but the process is a little different. Refer to our Rhode Island Special Vehicles page for more details.
Car Insurance Requirements
Before the Rhode Island DMV will allow you to register your car in the state, you'll need to provide proof of your auto insurance. Moving states can be a great time to assess your current policy and make sure it is still the best option for you. Compare quotes today by visiting our Car Insurance page.
Most vehicles in Rhode Island are required to undergo and pass an emissions inspection every 2 years; however, there are some exceptions. To check whether this requirement applies to you, visit our Car Inspections page.
Are you aware of the alarming number of people who are waiting for an organ donation? It's staggering! You can find out much more about this very important topic on our Organ Donation in Rhode Island page. Remember, even if you were registered as an organ donor in your previous state, you'll need to re-register in Rhode Island as each state keeps its own registry.
Similarly, if you want to vote in Rhode Island, you'll need to register first, even if you were registered to vote in your previous state. Make sure you don't miss any elections, check out our Voter Registration in Rhode Island page for more information.
If you're an active-duty military member stationed in Rhode Island, you may be exempt from some of the driver's licensing and registration requirements. Please visit our Drivers in the Military page for more information.
Our DMV Office Finder can help you locate any DMV office in the state. All you have to do is enter your zip code.
Before you get on the road with your new RI driver's license, you may want to read up on the state's road rules: