How to Do a Change of Address at DMV

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Moving can get hectic, from introducing yourself to your new neighbors to adapting to a new routine. An easily overlooked task is updating your address with your local Department of Motor Vehicles. Every state requires you to update your address with the DMV after any move as soon as possible, especially if you are bringing a car with you.

If you're changing your address in person, make an appointment at your local DMV. If you've ever gone to the DMV without making an appointment first, it's likely that you have first hand knowledge of just how long the wait can be. This can be exceptionally frustrating on weekdays if you work since most DMVs are closed on weekends

How soon do you have to change your address? It varies. The window to request a change is typically within 10-30 days after your move. For example, in New York or California, you would have 10 days to change your address with the DMV whereas in Texas you would have up to 30 days.

How soon you need to inform the DMV depends on your state and county of residence, but in each state a request can be filed online, by mail, or in person.

Why Do You Have to Update Your Address?

Your vehicle registration and driver's license need to reflect your current address. It's also important that your DMV has a record of your updated address to locate you and/or mail you any important documents related to car ownership. For example, if you commit a traffic violation, the authorities need to be able to reach you or mail your ticket which must be paid by a certain date to avoid additional fines. Important documents can also include renewal notices, voter registration details and car registration renewals and stickers.

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How to Change or Update Your Address

Because filing an address change request is so important, many states have fast-tracked the process to take only a matter of minutes. In most states, you can complete a driver's license change of address online or by mail and will always have the option to complete the process in person.

Requirements for each method varies by state but usually you will not be eligible to change your address online if you:

  • Do not have a social security number.

  • Have a commercial driver's license in one state but residence address is in another state.

  • Have an Army Post Office of Fleet Post Office address.

  • Have an address outside of the United States.

  • Have applied for but have not received your REAL ID DL/ID card.

  • Have a leased vehicle.

Many states may offer convenient options to connect your updated driver's license address to other important credentials like your vehicle registration, car title, and voting credential if you opt for such services.(note that there may be applicable fees).

What Documents Do I Need to Bring to the DMV?

If you are going to the DMV in person, make sure that you have gathered sufficient documents to provide proof of identity before your visit to avoid having to reschedule or wait in line all over again. It is also important to be prepared to have acceptable methods of payment for an address change fee, a duplicate driving license fee or a vehicle registration copy fee, if applicable.

You may be asked to provide 2 documents demonstrating proof of residency (utility bills, pay stubs, auto insurance policy with your name and address listed, etc.). You may also be asked to provide the following:

  • Your current driver's license.

  • Your social security card.

  • Proof of your date of birth.

  • Proof of your previous address.

  • New mailing address, if different from the residential address

  • Vehicle registration number

  • Driver's license plate number.

To be safe, note that documents like utility bills and pay stubs should be dated within the past 30 to 90 days because older documents won't necessarily serve as proof that you still live there. And be sure to confirm your local DMV office hours before visiting in person.

It can take as much as two weeks for your change of address to take effect. When you receive your up-to-date credentials through the mail don't forget to properly destroy any old documents that list your old address.

DMV.ORG provides instructions on how to change/update your address with your local DMV office, including specific forms you may need, office locations and hours, and has details on any applicable fees and necessary documents.

Car Insurance

The DMV also communicates with your insurance company. So if you get a speeding ticket, you'll want to take a safe driver course ASAP, during the window of time you have before the DMV passes the information along to your insurer. You can prevent a rate hike by taking a course.

Also, remember that you should never pay too much for car insurance. To get the best rate and coverage, SmartFinancial will scour your area for deals that match your profile. It's simple, free and takes three minutes. Start by entering your zip code below.

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