Checklist to Replace Your Driving License

replace your drivers license

If you lost your driver’s license, you need to replace it as soon as possible. All 50 states require you to have a driver’s license to operate a vehicle.

Also, since it is a valid form of identification, if it is stolen, the thief could also steal your identity.

Licenses contain your address, name and driver’s license number. That is why, if you lose your license, you must report it to the police and obtain a replacement drivers license that is valid. You will receive a police report, and this process can help prevent fraud.

To replace your driver’s license, you must follow your state’s guidelines. All states require the submission of certain documentation to go through the replacement process, like your U.S. Passport. This will allow the DMV to confirm that you really are who you say you are. Additionally, some states will give you an option to replace your credentials online, in person or by mail. Learn about everything you need to know when it comes to driver’s license replacements below.

Information Needed to Replace Your Driving License

Each state’s process to obtain a duplicate driver’s license varies. However, all states require similar documentation and a license replacement fee. Regardless of the state you live in, you will likely need to provide the following items:

  • A completed driver’s license application
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Proof of your identity, such as your:
    • U.S. Passport
    • A college ID card
    • A military ID card
  • Proof of legal presence, such as your:
    • Birth Certificate
  • Proof of residency in the state
  • Cash, check or a credit or debit card for the copy of driver’s license fee

The documentation required is different from state to state. Some states may not ask you for all the information that is listed above. However, to ensure you bring in all of the necessary documents your state requires, you can contact your local DMV. The DMV may also need for you to have your picture taken and provide your thumbprint.

How to Replace Your Driver’s License

Once you have all the required documentation with you, the next step is to replace your lost driver’s license. This process can be done by mail, online or in person at your nearest DMV.

Get a Driver’s License Copy Online

Applying for a DMV duplicate license online is the easiest method to use. You can complete the process on your computer without having to go to distant DMV locations. You also have the luxury of applying for a replacement license as soon you discover it was lost or stolen. However, not all states let you replace your credentials online. Some states do not offer an online option, while others do but have limitations. Some restrictions your state may have that will not allow you to complete the process online include:

If you do not fall into any of the categories listed above, you are able to replace your license online if your state provides the option. Make sure to have a printer nearby, so you can print your temporary license.

Note: If you need to replace your driving credentials but are within your driver’s license renewal period, renew your driving license instead to save an extra transaction.

Replace Your Driving License by Mail

Not all states provide you with the option of getting a driver’s license copy by mail if you are currently in the state. For example, in Oregon, you are only able to replace your license in person at a DMV office.

However, if you are out of the state or overseas, the Oregon DMV will provide you with the option of replacing your documents by mail. In any case, be aware that this process will take much longer than completing it in person. You should only replace your credentials using this method if you will be away for an extended period of time. In order to receive a copy of your driver’s license by mail, many states require the following:

  • A completed driver’s license application
  • A check or money order for the replacement fee
  • Your signature on a blank sheet of white paper in black ink
  • Proof of your address
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Proof of your legal presence, identity and date of birth
  • Your current out-of-state address

If you are an active-duty military member or a member’s spouse/dependent stationed out of state, you can use the same process for your military driver’s license. The only difference is that you will need to include a copy of the front and back of your military ID.

Replace Your DMV License in Person

You will be able to replace your lost driving license in person, regardless of which state you live in. Just remember to make a DMV appointment ahead of time. You can spend hours at the DMV office if you go in without one.

If you had an expired driver’s license, the only way to attain a replacement is in person. However, before replacing your credentials, you will have to pay for renewal fees as well. Additionally, if you had a revoked or suspended driver’s license, you will have to meet your state’s reinstatement requirements before receiving new credentials.

Consequences for Not Replacing Your Driving License

Your license is your main source of identification. It allows you to identify yourself when making purchases or cashing a check. Not having your ID with you means you cannot cash checks, make certain purchases or drive. Additionally, you may receive a traffic ticket if pulled over by a police officer.

However, a traffic ticket is not the worst thing that can happen to you if you lose your license. Someone can impersonate you if they have your license. They can purchase alcohol, commit traffic violations that will go on your driving record and write your driver’s license number on checks.

That is why, if you lost your driver’s license, it is crucial to report it to the police and the ID Theft Protection Service. Although it is not required by the DMV, doing so will place fraud alerts and help prevent identity theft.