Required Documents for Driver's License Renewal

By: Staff Writer May 31, 2012
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Depending on your state, you may have one, some, or all of the following license renewal options:

  • Online
  • Mail
  • In person

Renew License Online or by Mail

If your state allows you to renew by mail or online - as specified in your renew license notice - you'll receive instructions on how to proceed. Exact requirements vary by state, but in most instances the only "document" you need is your drivers license number.

If you have questions, contact your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office or other state driver's license agency.

Renew License at the DMV

Renewing a drivers license in person, however, is a different bird.

This is when you need to have your documents in order. Arrive at the DMV without a required document and you'll leave without a new drivers license, and depending on how long it takes you get your documents together for another trip, you could be at risk for an expired license. putting you at possible risk of driving with an expired license.

Each state maintains different policies, but in general you will need to provide some or all of the following documents:

  • Your current drivers license. In some states this is the only form of identification required, provided the license has not been expired for an extended period of time. In Ohio, for example, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) accepts licenses that have been expired no longer than six months.
  • Your full legal name. Depending on your state, you may need to provide either one or two forms.
  • Your Social Security number. If you are not eligible for a Social Security Number, you must provide proper proof of this (i.e. a letter issued by the Social Security Administration).
  • Proof of legal presence, identity, and date of birth.
  • Proof  of residency. This requires proof of a physical address. PO (post office) boxes are not recognized.
  • Proof of a name change (if applicable).

All documents must be original or certified. Most DMVs don't accept copies.

You can find a list of approved documents on your DMV's website. These lists are extremely detailed, giving no reason to arrive at the DMV with incorrect or incomplete identification.

NOTE: If you allow your license to expire, your DMV might require you to pass another knowledge and a road test. Take a drivers license practice test to prepare.

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