How to Get a Driver’s License in a New State?

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 Do I Have to Get a New Driver’s License When I Move to a New State?

Once an individual moves to a new state and establishes residency there, they will need to apply for a new driver’s license. Each state has its own requirements for obtaining a driver’s license that can be found online on the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website of their new state.

The time that an individual has to apply for their new license after establishing residency varies with each state, for example:

  • California: 10 days;
  • Texas: 90 days;
  • New York: 30 days;
  • Nevada: 30 days;
  • Florida: 30 days.

A new state may allow you to use your driver’s license from your old state for a period of time. If an individual does not make the required change, they may be considered an unlicensed driver and may face legal consequences.

When Do I Become a Resident of My New State?

There are various steps an individual should follow to become a resident of a state. Each state has its own laws that govern the process for obtaining a driver’s license.

For the purpose of getting a license in a new state, here are some guidelines by state:

  • California: An individual has 10 days to apply for a driver’s license once they take a job or become a resident by:
    • Registering to vote;
    • Paying resident tuition;
    • Filing or a homeowner’s property tax exemption;
  • Texas: An individual has 90 days to apply for a Texas driver’s license once they move to Texas and establish their permanent residence;
  • New York: After moving to New York, if an individual plans on living there with the intention of making it their permanent home and they have been there for at least 90 days, they have 30 days to apply for a license;
  • Nevada: After an individual moves to Nevada, they are allowed to use their out-of-state driver’s license for up to 30 days;
    • At this point, they will need to show proof of a street address to obtain a Nevada license;
  • Florida: Within 30 days of moving to Florida, an individual will need to do one of the following to establish residency:
    • Enroll their children in a public school;
    • Get a job;
    • Register to vote;
    • File for a homestead exemption;
    • Reside in Florida for more than six months.

What if I Move to a New State, but I Do Not Own a Car?

If an individual already has a driver’s license from one state and they moved to a new state, they are legally required to get a new driver’s license once they have established residency, whether or not they own a car. If an individual does own a car, they will have to change their driver’s license as well as the registration for their vehicle.

These adjustments can be made on the state DMV website. It may require the individual to send in paperwork.

What if I Am an Out-of-State Student?

If an individual is an out-of-state student who is attending a college or university, the majority of states will allow them to use their driver’s license from their home state. It is important for an individual to check the laws of the state where they are going to school in order to ensure they are in compliance.

Does My Driver’s License Allow Me to Legally Drive in Any State?

Whether an individual’s driver’s license will allow them to drive in any state legally depends on the purpose of their stay in the other state. If the purpose is a non-permanent stay, meaning they are just visiting another state or on a business trip, even if they are frequent, their home state driver’s license will be acceptable for driving in the state.

However, this changes if the stay is permanent. Permanent stays begin when individuals start paying taxes in the state.
If an individual moves to another state to live, their driver’s license from the previous state will only be valid for a period of time, typically 30 days. The individual will have to visit their local DMV and apply for a new license.
Typically, this will involve paying a small fee and possibly an eye exam or written exam, depending on the rules of the state.

What Are the Requirements to Apply for a New Driver’s License?

The requirements for applying for a new driver’s license will vary by state. For example, in the State of Alabama, an individual must provide:

  • Two forms of identification, one from the primary list that contains a photo and their Social Security card, or three forms of non-photo identification, one from the primary list and their Social Security card;
  • Acceptable proof of school enrollment form or proof of graduation if the applicant is younger than 19 and applying for the first time;
  • Two proofs of a principal residence;
  • A $5 testing fee;
  • Proof of car insurance and a vehicle that will pass inspection if the applicant is 18 years of age or older; and
  • The payment for purchasing the license itself.

It is essential for an individual to consult the rules in their state, as the requirements may be different. In addition, it may require two trips to the DMV office, one to determine the exact requirements and one to get the actual license.

Most of the information, however, can now be found online. It is also important to note that there may be different types of licenses. For example, in New York State, an individual may get:

  • A standard driver’s license;
  • A REAL ID license that can be used to board domestic flights;
  • An enhanced license that can be used to board domestic flights as well as enter the United States at land crossings from Canada, Mexico, and certain Caribbean countries.

Can I Transfer My Driver’s License to Another State Online?

There are some states that allow individuals to transfer their driver’s license to another state online. In Alabama, for example, an individual can go to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) website.

To transfer their driver’s license, an individual must have their current driver’s license and Social Security Number ready. They can then pay the license fee by credit card at the end of the transaction.

What if I Fail to Apply for a Driver’s License From My New State of Residence?

If an individual does not apply for a driver’s license from their new state of residence, they may face a penalty for not changing out-of-state licenses. This may include being treated as an unlicensed driver.

Being an unlicensed driver can be a serious offense, as penalties may include:

The laws of each state vary. The best way for an individual to avoid legal issues is to ensure they are in compliance with the laws of their new state of residence.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Driver’s License Problem?

If you have any issues, questions, or concerns related to your driver’s license, it is important to consult with a traffic violation lawyer as soon as you can. Your lawyer can advise you of your rights and help you build your case to present in court.

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