Expiration Alert! How to Renew Your Driver’s License in 7 Simple Steps


In most states, driver’s licenses require renewal every four years. If you received your first driver’s license at the standard age of sixteen, this means that you will be required to renew your license at the age of twenty. Although the expiration date will appear on your license card, most states do not issue any type of notification to warn drivers that their license is about to expire. It is important to keep your license up to date. Not only will you need a current copy of your driver’s license if you are pulled over by a police officer, many businesses, banks, and other organizations require a valid driver’s license as proof of your identity. The following are basic guidelines for renewing your driver’s license.

7 Tips for Driving License Renewal

  1. 1

    If possible, renew your driver’s license before the expiration date. In most cases, you will receive a temporary paper copy when you go to have it renewed. This paper copy will not be accepted as proof of your identity by some organizations.

  2. 2

    In most states, drivers are instructed to go to either their local courthouse or Department of Motor Vehicles office to renew their driver’s license. If you are unsure of where to go to renew your license, call your local courthouse for more information.

    initial screening at DMV
    Before you can get a waiting number at the Oregon DMV, you’ll be asked to show your documents and pay as part of the initial screening (Oregon DOT)

  3. 3

    Department of Motor Vehicles offices and courthouse offices are notorious for long wait times. Make sure that you set aside plenty of time to get your license renewed. Also make sure that you bring your expired driver’s license with you.

    NC DMV mobile offices provide license services to small towns and help eliminate long lines. Check your state for this service (NCDOTcommunications)

  4. 4

    When it is your turn, the attendant will ask that you update your contact information as it appears on your driver’s license. If you have had a change in address or changed your name because of marriage or divorce, make sure that you inform the attendant of these changes at this time. It is also important to update your demographic information such as your weight and hair color. This information is placed on your driver’s license to indentify you if you are ever involved in an accident or emergency situation.

  5. 5

    Smile! Typically, your driver’s license photograph is updated every time you renew your license. Make sure to face forward, smile, and look natural. This picture will be used to identify you for the next four years.

    photo station
    Don’t forget to keep your eyes wide open for the photo at the DMV photo station (Oregon Department of Transportation)

  6. 6

    Pay the license renewal fee. This fee is usually between twenty and forty dollars, depending on which state you reside in.

  7. 7

    You will be issued a temporary license either immediately or by mail within a couple of days. This license is only valid for a short amount of time, typically thirty days. This copy will serve as your identification and driver’s license until a permanent copy is mailed to you. Expect your permanent copy to be delivered through the mail within four to six weeks.

It is imperative to renew your driver’s license as soon as it expires. Driving with an expired driver’s license can result in a traffic citation and fines.

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Many people get to the DMV overconfident and underprepared because they fail to do some of the simple things that would allow them to pass easily. What follows are the 10 steps that every aspiring driver should take to prepare for his or her official knowledge exam.

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