Can You Have a Driver’s License in Two Different States?

When you can use an out-of-state driver’s license and when you need to have a license issued by the state where you’re driving.

All states have an administrative agency (in many states, it's the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)) that's in charge of licensing drivers. The requirements for obtaining a driver's license are similar across the United States. However, each state has its own licensing laws and generally requires state residents to hold a valid license to lawfully operate a vehicle.

But many drivers, at least from time to time, need to operate a vehicle in another state. This article discusses how state licensing requirements apply to out-of-state drivers, whether a driver can hold a license in two different states, and when a driver must obtain an in-state license.

Is My Driver's License Valid in Every State?

Having a valid license in your state of residence generally allows you to lawfully drive in every other state. However, most states have some limitations that apply to at least some out-of-state drivers.

Age Restrictions

States have different age requirements for obtaining a driver's license. For example, in some states, you can get a full driver's license at age 16, whereas in other states you might have to be 17 or 18 years old to get an unrestricted license.

Generally, states are inflexible with age requirements. So drivers who hold out-of-state licenses must meet the in-state age requirements to lawfully drive in the state.

Learner's Permits

All states have some form of learner's or instruction permit that allows permit holders to drive only while supervised by a licensed driver. Although many states honor out-of-state learner's permits, some states do not. Additionally, the terms of supervision sometimes vary by state. So, even in states that accept out-of-state permits, the rules might be a little different from those that apply in the permit holder's home state.

Can You Have a License in Two Different States at the Same Time?

Generally, you can't hold licenses from two different states at the same. To lawfully drive in any state, you typically must hold a valid license only in the state where you reside or recently did reside.

When you apply for a license in a state that you recently moved to, you'll typically be required to surrender your out-of-state license.

Do You Need to Get a New License When You Move to a Different State?

When you move to a different state, you can temporarily use your out-of-state license. However, all states require you to apply for an in-state license within a certain number of days of establishing residence in that state. In most states, you'll need to apply for an in-state license within ten, 30, or 90 days of establishing residency.

However, it's typically possible to "transfer your license" to your new state of residency without having to retest.

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