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If your license has been recently lost or stolen, you will need to replace it as soon as possible. Without a valid license, you will not be able to drive legally in your state or present a valid form of identification when necessary. The two most common methods of replacing your lost or stolen license are visiting your local licensing location in person or applying for a replacement online. Under certain circumstances, you may also be able to replace your license or ID by mail. However, the fastest and most efficient way to replace your driving credential is online. To learn how to replace your license online, you can refer to our helpful drivers license guide. In addition to helping you through the replacement process, our guide will also teach you how to renew and change the name or address on your license.

Start simplifying your license replacement process today by visiting your state-specific page:

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How to Replace Your Drivers License in Your State.

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2. By Mail

Most states offer a mail-in application option to residents who have lost their license while out of the state. In most cases, military service members stationed outside of the state will also be able to apply for a replacement by mail. To apply, you will need to mail in a primary and secondary proof of identification, such as a birth certificate, valid U.S. passport, Social Security card or W-2 form. You will also need to send proof of a residential address such as a deed, voter registration card or utility bill. Depending on your state, you will be required to provide any combination of the aforementioned documents, in addition to other documents and information. You will also need to keep in mind that it may take several weeks to obtain your replacement license, as mail can often be delayed or unreliable.

3. In Person at a DMV Office

Finally, you can replace your lost or stolen license at your local DMV or licensing office. You will be required to bring all the documents previously mentioned as proof of identification and residency. If you are uncomfortable mailing these important documents to the DMV, then an in-person visit is more secure. However, you may need to reschedule an appointment if you forget your passport, citizenship certificate, car title or any other documents that you are using as proof of identification or residency. Additionally, if you make any mistakes on your form, you will not be able to receive your replacement license or ID the same day you apply for it at the DMV.


In the event of a stolen or lost drivers license, motorists will be required to obtain a replacement as soon as possible, unless they want to face severe penalties for operating a vehicle without their credential. Getting a duplicate drivers license may also be a necessary step for drivers who have moved to another location, and therefore need to update their address. The procedure of issuing a DMV duplicate license is usually administered by state motor vehicle agencies, which set the requirements and offer different application methods.

In general, motorists replacing drivers licenses may finalize the procedure online, by mail or via an in-person visit to a local DMV office. Prior to getting a DMV duplicate license, certain states may require licensees whose credential has been lost or stolen to report the case to the police. Learn more about how to replace drivers licenses by reading the following sections:

  • Methods to replace a drivers license.
  • Drivers license replacement requirements.
  • How to report a lost or stolen drivers license.

Methods to Replace a Drivers License

In order to conduct a drivers license replacement properly, motorists will need to follow the guidelines set by their state motor vehicle division. Though the methods to replace lost drivers licenses may vary from one state to another, licensees can generally utilize an online provider to complete the process, or submit the necessary paperwork via mail or in person at a nearby DMV location.

Most U.S. states allow motorists to obtain a drivers license copy online through their official internet service portal. Getting a copy of drivers licenses via the internet usually requires applicants to create an account and have a credit/debit card available so as to pay the set fees. Certain states, such as New York, impose specific eligibility requirements upon drivers who wish to replace their credential online. Drivers must also note that in certain instances, they will need to pay a non-refundable fee in addition to the regular driving license replacement price if they choose to get their credential via the internet.

Motorists who are not eligible for replacing drivers license online may still appear in person at a DMV branch or submit the required paperwork along with payment for the applicable fees via mail. Sending a mail-in request to replace lost driving licenses is a convenient option for licensees who are currently out of state.

Drivers License Replacement Requirements

Your application for a replacement drivers license cannot be processed unless you submit the right documentation to your state DMV. When replacing your driving license, you will be generally asked to complete and submit an application form, provide an acceptable proof of identification (current driving license, ID card, Social Security card and more), and arrange payment for the applicable fees by providing a valid debit/credit card, cash, check or money order in addition to other forms of payment.

Additional information and documents may be necessary depending on your state of residence, how you choose to apply and your circumstances. Getting a driving license replacement in person in Florida, for instance, may require you to submit proof of your residential address (two documents), such as a utility bill or bank statement.

Before applying for a DMV duplicate license, it is best to conduct in-depth research online or contact a local DMV branch and inquire about the exact documents and fees that apply in your case.

How to Report a Lost or Stolen Drivers License

Prior to requesting a drivers license copy online or via an alternative method, motorists are highly recommended to report their stolen or lost driver license to the police. Since driving licenses generally contain specific details about an individual, reporting the incident to a local law enforcement officer will be necessary for the purposes of protecting personal information, preventing identity theft, thus avoiding any future inconvenience.

Note that motorists applying for a drivers license replacement in certain U.S. states, such as Florida, may be required to file a report and submit a copy of the form in order to finalize the procedure. By presenting an official police report to the DMV, licensees may also become eligible for a fee waiver, and receive their duplicate drivers license free of charge. This decision, however, is left to the discretion of each state motor vehicle division.

Last updated on Wednesday, December 5 2018.

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