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In most states, you can renew your drivers license online, by mail or in person. However, be mindful that the online method is only available to certain applicants, depending on their age and citizenship status. During an online license renewal, you will be asked to identify yourself and pay the applicable service fees. To make sure that you are fully prepared to complete the process, you can download our informative online guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to renew your driving license quickly and easily. In it, you will also get step-by-step details about how to complete other important licensing transactions, such as replacing your license or updating your name or address.

2. By Mail

Certain motorists are eligible to renew their drivers licenses by mail. If your state DMV offers this option, you will be asked to fill out a renewal notice or request form and include certain supporting documentation in your application package. Additionally, you will need to provide an acceptable payment method for the renewal fees, typically a check or money order. All of these documents must be sent to a specified DMV mailing address. It is important to note that this method includes processing times, so it may take longer than others to complete. To minimize your wait time and to avoid delays, be sure to attach the correct paperwork to your renewal form.

3. In Person at the DMV

When renewing your driving license at the DMV, you may be required to pass a vision screening, to retake your photograph and to pay a service fee. Generally, you will need to present your existing license, fill out a drivers license renewal form and assess that your information is still up-to-date on the DMV’s records. Because many drivers are typically unsure of which forms to fill out in order to complete their transactions, delays are common when applying in person. Furthermore, potential mistakes on your application may require you to visit the DMV more than once to successfully renew your license


State motorists are required to request a Washington DC drivers license renewal every eight years through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in order to maintain their driving privileges. The DMV license renewal process can be completed in a few different submission methods, including online, in-person and by mail. In general, applicants for a renewal must meet some basic eligibility requirements in order to successfully complete the renewal process.

Residents who find themselves temporarily out of state can renew a DC drivers license online or submit a paper application by mail. However, to do so, they must meet certain additional eligibility requirements. Regardless of the method that a motorist opts for, it is important to note that renewing a driver’s license will always include a service fee. Once the application is completed, renewed licenses will be sent to their holders’ mailing addresses. To learn more about these renewal requirements and procedures, continue reading the sections below.

Eligibility for Drivers License Renewal in Washington DC

Regardless of whether motorists choose to visit a Washington DC drivers license office in person or submit their renewal requests by mail or online, they will need to meet the same basic eligibility requirements. On the other hand, certain additional requirements will apply to residents who have had an expired drivers license for a significant period of time or who have been issued a suspended or revoked license.

The specific eligibility requirements that a D.C. driver must meet will also depend on his or her driving record. In any case, most motorists will be required to submit the following documents when renewing a driver’s license in DC:

  1. Proof of identity and date of birth, such as a valid U.S. passport or a certified copy of a birth certificate.
  2. Proof of legal status in the U.S., such as a green card or a certificate of citizenship or naturalization.
  3. Proof of Social Security Number (SSN), such as a SSN card, W-2 form or pay stub.
  4. Proof of state residency, such as credit card statements and/or utility bills.

Instances When You Cannot Renew Your Drivers License in Washington DC

In general, motorists who have let their driving credentials expire for less than one year can still process a drivers license renewal request as long as they pass a driving knowledge test or enroll in a state-approved traffic school program. On the other hand, residents whose licenses have been expired for more than 545 days must retake both the driving knowledge test and road skills exam in order to renew a driver’s license in Washington DC. Furthermore, if you are 70 years of age or older, you must renew your driving credential in person at a local DMV office and provide a medical and vision report from a licensed physician.

How early can you renew your drivers license in Washington DC?

As a general rule, licensed residents are able to renew a driver’s license as early as one year prior to its expiration date. As a reminder, all state motorists are sent a DMV license renewal notice at least two months prior to the expiration date of their credentials. These notices include instructions on how residents can renew their documents. Moreover, this notice will also be sent electronically if the DMV has the driver’s email on file.

Washington DC DMV License Renewal Options

Overall, there are three main methods pertaining to how to renew a drivers license in Washington DC. While many applicants choose to submit the drivers license renewal form online for faster processing times, the D.C. DMV also welcomes forms sent by mail and provided in person. Furthermore, not all DC drivers are eligible for online renewals, thus being required to opt for the mail-in or in-person methods.

How to Renew Your Drivers License Online

Additional requirements generally apply to motorists renewing a drivers license online in Washington DC. For instance, in order to qualify for an online drivers license renewal, DC residents must:

  • Be younger than 70 years of age.
  • Possess a REAL ID-compliant credential, or a limited purpose driver’s license that has not been expired for more than 365 days.
  • Have your current name and address on file with the DC DMV.
  • Submit a valid credit card to pay for the applicable fees.
  • Have no record of a suspended or revoked license.
  • Have not renewed your license online during the last cycle.

 Drivers who meet the abovementioned criteria can submit a DMV license renewal request during the same time frame as applicants who opted for other methods. D.C. motorists who renew their drivers license online must take the following steps:

  1. Access the official DC DMV online portal. Take a driver assessment quiz to make sure that you are eligible for this online renewal.
  2. Enter your identifying information to locate your record.
  3. Complete the medical questionnaire.
  4. Pay the applicable service fee with a credit card.
  5. Submit your application.
  6. Print your 45-day temporary license, which must be kept with your current driving credential in order to extend its validity. You will receive your renewed license in the mail within ten business days.

How to Renew Your Driving License by Mail

Renewing your Washington DC driving license by mail is only possible if you already hold a REAL ID-compliant credential, a limited purpose license or a provisional license. Motorists who are eligible to utilize this mail-in method will receive a DMV license renewal notice that details further instructions, such as which documents must be included along with your request, what the acceptable payment methods are and which DMV mailing address the application package must be sent to.

How to Renew Your Drivers License in Person

Residents who do not meet the D.C. drivers license renewal requirements for the online and mail-in methods must visit a DMV in order to file this request in person. As a general rule, the driving license renewal fee will be the same for applications submitted in person, online or by mail. Drivers who wish to submit their license renewal requests in person must take the following steps:

  1. Locate the nearest DC DMV office to you.
  2. Gather the necessary supporting documents and bring an acceptable payment method.
  3. Fill out the Washington DC driver’s license renewal application form and submit it in person.

Washington DC REAL ID Drivers License Renewal

Many motorists wonder, “When I renew my license in Washington DC, will I receive a REAL ID-compliant credential?” In most cases, the DC DMV issues REAL ID licenses.

Note: By 2020, standard driver’s licenses will no longer be valid forms of identification at federal facilities.

Washington DC Drivers License Renewal Fees

The standard Washington D.C. driving license renewal fee for all applicants is $47. As a general rule, the DC DMC will accept payments by cash, checks, money orders or credit cards.

Last updated on Wednesday, December 5 2018.

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