Driver’s licenses expire after a specified time, and it is your responsibility to renew yours at DMV before the expiration date. Driving without a valid license is against the law and carries stiff penalties, so keeping up with renewals is an important task.
Renewing a driver's license is not hard, and it does not have to take much time, especially if you are eligible to renew online or by mail. However, not everyone qualifies for this, and some people do have to go in person to DMV to renew their driver's license.
About two months before a drivers license expires, DMV mails a notice to the last address they have on record for the driver, telling them it is time to renew. This notice contains instructions on state-specific renewal procedures, and it is essential to read and follow this information.
Renewing Your Driver's License at the DMV In-Person
If you are getting a driver's license for the first time, you will have to go in person to a DMV office. If you already have a driver's license, depending on the status of your license and how long it has been since you have gone in person to DMV, you may be required to make a visit to a DMV office.
DMV now schedules appointments for customers, and by making an appointment, you can save substantial amounts of time when you go in.
When renewing your driver's license in person, make sure you have these documents with you:
- A completed DMV renewal form
- Application fees
- Your old driver's license
During your in-person renewal appointment, you may be required to take a vision test, a written test, or a driving test.
When renewing a drivers license in person, you are given an interim permit when you leave the office, and the new photo ID is then sent to you in the mail within about 60 days.
Driver’s License Renewal by Mail
Each state DMV has its own specific rules for renewing by mail. In many cases, you can only renew by mail if:
- Your license is at least 60 days from the expiration date
- You are under 70 years old when the license expires
- You have not renewed by mail more than twice consecutively
- You only have a driver's license in only one state
- You are not on probation
If DMV is not sending you a renew-by-mail notice and you think you qualify, contact your state DMV office and ask if they have a Driver’s License Renewal by Mail form you can use to check your eligibility for this renewal method.
License Renewal Online
Many states are now offering drivers license renewal online for some people. If you are eligible for this renewal method, your DMV renewal notice will inform you and give you information on how to renew over the Internet.
In general, Internet renewal of drivers licenses requires:
- You have Internet access with a Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, or Explorer browser
- Your address and personal information has not changed
- DMV has verified your Social Security number
- You can pay fees with a valid credit card
Whichever method of license renewal you use, be sure to get your paperwork and fees to DMV on time.