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Getting a Driver's License in a New State

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If I Move to a New State, Do I Have to Change My Driver's License?

As soon as you become a resident of a new state, you must apply for a driver's license from that state. The time within which you must change your driver's license will vary from state to state. For example:

  • California - 10 days
  • Florida - 30 days
  • Illinois - 90 days
  • New York - 30 days
  • Texas - 30 days

When Do I Become a Resident of My New State?

Each state has its own laws regarding when someone becomes a resident of that state and is required to apply for a state driver's license:

  • California - You must apply for a California driver license if you take a job in or become a resident of California. You are a California resident if you:
    • Register to vote in California
    • Pay resident tuition at a California school
    • File for a homeowner's property tax exemption.
  • Florida - You are a Florida resident if you:
    • Accept employment in Florida
    • Live in Florida for more than 6 consecutive months
    • Enroll your children in a Florida public school
    • Register to vote in Florida
    • File for a homestead exemption
  • Illinois - You must apply for an Illinois driver license if you move to Illinois
  • New York - You are a New York resident if you:
    • Live in New York with the intent to make new York a fixed and permanent place to live
    • Live in New York for at least 90 days
  • Texas - You must apply for a Texas driver license if you move to Texas and establish a permanent residence in Texas

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

If you are a licensed driver and become a resident of a new state, you must apply for a driver license from your new state of residence even if you do not own a car.

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

Most states will permit an out-of-state college or university student to drive with a valid driver's license from the student's home state.

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

If you become a resident of a new state and fail to apply for a driver license within the deadlines established by each state, you will be treated as an unlicensed driver. The penalty for driving without a license varies from state to state, but many states treat the offense as a criminal misdemeanor that goes on your permanent record.

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

If you have been cited for driving with an invalid driver's license, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 06-28-2013 02:48 PM PDT

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