Renewing Your License in West Virginia
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In order to legally drive, you must possess a valid driver’s license and you must renew that license every two years until the age of 21, and then every five years per the Drive for Five program. The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) allows you to renew your license up to two years before its expiration date, which is generally your birth date.
Driving also means you’ll need car insurance. Check out our Insurance Center for details about the State's minimum liability coverage requirements, as well as tools to help you shop for a low car insurance rate.
You have two options to renew your Class E, Class D, or motorcycle-only driver’s license every five years, both of which are discussed in detail further below:
- By mail
- In person
You can check your driving record to determine whether your driver’s license is valid.
NOTE: If you need to renew your commercial driver’s license, please refer to our CDL section.
If you’re license is expired, you must renew in person at your nearest DMV Regional Office.
If your license has been expired for more than six months, the DMV requires you to go through the full examination process. This means you must complete all paperwork, provide all documents, and take all the tests you took as a first-time applicant.
If you’re not sure how long your license has been expired, or what requirements you must meet, you can check your driving record for details.
NOTE: If your license has been expired for more than six months, you must use your full name when applying, requiring either a certified birth certificate or a valid passport.
Various situations can cause your driver’s license to become suspended, and sometimes these situations may slip your mind or remain in the system even though the DMV has already reinstated your driving privileges. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check your driving record from time to time if you’re unsure about your license status.
If your license is suspended, the reinstatement process and fees will vary depending on the reason for the suspension. Our section on license suspension provides all the details you need for reinstating your suspended driver’s license.
Because insurance companies usually increase your rate once your license has been suspended, you may also be interested in information about getting a lower car insurance rate. If this happens to you, check out our Insurance Center for the tools to shop for a lower rate.
Our Replacing a Lost License provides all the information you need for getting a duplicate driver’s license.
If you don’t renew your driver’s license within the two years leading up to the expiration date, the DMV will send you a renewal notice.
The notice includes all of your information as shown on your license, and because the DMV generally sends the notice a few weeks before it’s time to renew, you should have plenty of time to gather up the necessary documents to prove any changes you’ve made since you last applied or renewed.
If you don’t receive your renewal notice, or are confused about when to renew and what to bring with you when you do, contact the main DMV office in Charleston at (304) 558-3900. It's also a good idea to make sure your address is current for future DMV mailings.
The DMV doesn’t offer the option of renewing your driver’s license online.
Because drivers can renew their licenses up to two years before they actually expire, the DMV typically only allows military personnel to renew their driving privileges by mail. We explain the process in our Drivers in the Military section.
If you’re not military personnel but are out of state and need to renew your license, please call the main DMV office in Charleston at (304) 558-3900 for possible arrangements.
Most drivers must renew their licenses in person. As the time draws nearer:
- Download and complete a Driver’s License/Photo ID Application.
- Gather up one proof of identification and two proofs of residency from the list of approved documents. (If you’re a non-citizen, you’ll also need to provide the same documents proving your legal status as you provided when you first applied.
- Have proof of Social Security card.
- Collect proof of any changes you’ve made to your name or gender, as well as proof of corrections to your birth date or Social Security number.
- Be prepared to pay the appropriate fee, which will vary depending on the second digit of your age.
- Be prepared to have your picture taken and provide your signature.
- Choose whether you want to give your thumb print for identification purposes.
- Call ahead to your nearest DMV Regional Office for hours of operation.
NOTE: Keep in mind that you must pass a vision exam when you renew your driver’s license.
Taking a supplemental training course is an excellent way to fine tune your driving skills, and an especially good idea if you've allowed your license to stay expired for more than six months and must take the exams again when you renew.
Be sure to ask your car insurance provider if completing a training course will qualify you for a discount; if it doesn’t, consider shopping our Insurance Center for a provider that does offer such discounts.
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