It is illegal to drive without a license in all 50 states, so if yours is lost, destroyed or stolen, you should replace it immediately. Many states allow their drivers to apply for a replacement online, and some also provide a printable copy that you can use in the interim. The process for applying for a replacement license and obtaining an online copy varies by state.
Applying for a Replacement License Online
Each state's department for motor vehicles provides a website containing information on the various requirements for driving in the state. Often, there is a section for online services that describes the option to apply for a replacement license if yours is missing or has been stolen. The process involves completing a form with identifying information, such as your name, license number and Social Security number, and paying the processing fee. Most states accept payment with a credit or debit card only. The fee varies by state.
Some states, such as Texas and New Mexico, provide a temporary license for drivers to use while they wait for the replacement license to arrive by mail. It is automatically generated at the end of the application process, and it contains the same information that will be printed on the new license. The temporary license is valid for a limited time and must be destroyed when the permanent license arrives.
In most states, you must renew or replace your driver's license in person if some information, such as your name or address, has changed or you need a new picture or vision test. You can't apply for a duplicate copy of your license if it has been suspended, canceled or revoked. Many states recommend reporting a stolen license to the police department in case of identity theft. Other states require it and want this done before you can apply for a replacement.
The temporary license is usually valid for at least one month. For instance, it is valid for 60 days in Maine and 45 days in Texas.
In some states, the temporary license is the receipt or confirmation page you receive at the end of the application process.
Tina Amo has been writing business-related content since 2006. Her articles appear on various well-known websites. Amo holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in information systems.