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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?

Once you move to a new state and establish residency, you will need to apply for a new driver’s license. Every state has its own requirements which can be found online at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website of your new state. The time allowed to apply for your 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

When Do I Become a Resident of My New State?

There are various steps to becoming a resident of a state, and each state has its own laws on what you need to do to apply for a driver’s license. Here are some examples from the more populated states:

  • California: You have 10 days to apply for a driver’s license once you take a job or become a resident by registering to vote, paying resident tuition, or filing or a homeowner's property tax exemption.
  • Texas: You have 90 days to apply for a Texas driver’s license once you move to Texas and establish your permanent residence.
  • New York: After moving to New York, and if you plan on living there with the intention of making it your permanent home, and you have been there for at least 90 days, you have 30 days to apply for a license.
  • Nevada: After you move to Nevada, you are allowed to use your out-of-state driver’s license for up to 30 days. At this point, you will need to show proof of a street address to obtain to Nevada license.
  • Florida: Within 30 days of moving to Florida you will need to do one of the following to establish residency: enroll your children in a public school, get a job, register to vote, file for a homestead exemption, or reside in Florida for more than six months.

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

If you already have a driver’s license from one state and have moved to a new state, you are legally required to get a new license once you have established residency—whether you own a car or not.

However, if you do own a car then be prepared to not just register your driver’s license but also change the registration for your vehicle. This can be done on your state’s DMV website and may require you sending in some paperwork.

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

If you are an out-of-state student attending college or university, most states will allow you to use your driver’s license from your home state. Be sure to check the laws of the state where you are going to school to ensure that you are in compliance.

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

If you do not apply for a new driver’s license in time, you may be treated as an unlicensed driver. This is a serious offense, and the penalties may include a misdemeanor on your record, a heavy fine, jail, vehicle impoundment, and license suspension. State laws vary; the best way to avoid legal issues altogether is to make sure you are in compliance with the laws of your new state of residence.

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

If you are having issues with your driver’s license and the law, you should speak with a criminal lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer will advise you of your rights and build your case so as to represent your best interests in court.

Photo of page author Sarah Tipton

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 02-07-2018 11:35 PM PST

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