New to Washington DC

SUMMARY: New Washington, D.C. Residents

Upon establishing residency in Washington, D.C., there are a few tasks you'll need to complete. These include transferring your driver's license, registering your vehicle, and registering to vote. Active duty military members may be exempt from certain requirements based on your service status.

Washington, D.C. State Agencies

In the District of Columbia, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) oversees your vehicle- and licensing-related tasks; these include but are not limited to:

  • Applying for a license or ID card.
  • Registering your vehicle.
  • Titling your vehicle.
  • Obtaining a driving record.
  • Obtaining a motorcycle endorsement.

Other agencies handle other aspects of the process as you establish residency:

  • The Metropolitan Police Department oversees boat registration in the district.
  • The Board of Elections regulates voter registration and elections.
Just Moved?

Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.

Register Your Vehicle in D.C.

If you're bringing your out-of-state vehicle to Washington, D.C. with you, you must register it with the D.C. DMV within 60 days of establishing residency. This must be done in person at a DMV office; you cannot register your car online or by mail.

For more information, please refer to our Car Registration in Washington, D.C. page.

Special Vehicles

If you happen to own a trailer, recreational vehicle (RV), or other special vehicle, the registration process is a little different. To find out more, please visit our Special Vehicles in Washington D.C. page.

Car Insurance

Before the D.C. DMV will register your car, you must show proof of adequate car insurance. Moving to a new state is a great time to compare rates and ensure you're getting the best deal for your situation.

For more information about auto insurance and to compare quotes, visit our Car Insurance page.

Required inspections

If you're new to the district, you may be required to have your vehicle inspected for safety. All vehicles must also meet the state's emissions standards. For more information please visit our Vehicle Inspections in Washington, D.C. page.

Washington, D.C. Driver's License & ID Cards

Once you've moved to Washington, D.C., you must transfer your out-of-state driver's license over to the D.C. DMV. To do this, you need to visit your local DMV office in person with all required documents and payment.

NOTE: Depending on your specific situation, you may be required to pass the DMV written and/or road tests.

For more information, visit our Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in D.C. page.

If you're a teenager with an out-of-state learner's permit or intermediate driver's license, you may be able to transfer it to the equivalent permit in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit our page for teens applying for a driver's license.

Identification Cards

If you don't wish to drive in the district but need a form of identification, you can apply for an ID card from the Washington, D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Voter & Organ Donor Registration

When you change addresses in the U.S., your voter and organ donor registrations aren't automatically updated. You must change your information yourself to ensure you're able to vote at your new address, and that you remain on the organ donor list.

For more information, visit our following pages.

Out-of-State Military Members in D.C.

If you're an out-of-state resident temporarily residing in Washington, D.C. to fulfill military obligations, you will be able drive using your out-of-state driver's license.

For more information about any other exemptions or benefits you may receive while stationed in D.C., visit our Drivers in the Military page.

DMV Office Finder & Resources

If you need to locate your closest D.C. DMV office, use our handy DMV office locater.

You may also wish to study the Washington, D.C.'s helpful manuals before you hit the road:

DMV.ORG BBB Business Review