Everybody spends their childhood dreaming of a day when they will be able to drive, but almost nobody thinks about the many confusing laws and regulations that drivers must abide by. Because there are so many stipulations, and because these laws can change drastically from state to state, some people have asked if they can drive their car to another state.
You can drive your car anywhere in the United States as long as the vehicle is registered in the state that you live in and it is being operated in accordance with all state laws.
Continue reading to learn more about driving out of state and each state’s rules regarding out-of-state drivers.
Is It Legal to Drive with an Out of State License?
Whether you are on vacation or visiting relatives, there is bound to come a time when you must drive your vehicle to another state, but can you legally drive with an out-of-state license?
In the United States, it is legal to drive in any state so long as:
- The vehicle follows all local rules regarding insurance and inspection.
- The vehicle is registered in the owner’s state of residence and the registration is current.
- The driver holds a valid driver’s license to drive in the United States, issued by their current state of residence.
- The driver’s license allows them to drive the type of vehicle they are driving.
- The driver is driving a rental car that is up to date with its registration and insurance.
So long as you are driving with a valid license and the vehicle you are driving has current tags, you can drive across any state line for an indefinite amount of time. However, moving across state lines changes things a bit.
Can I Drive out of State with a Learners Permit?
Learner’s permits are given to inexperienced drivers so that they can gain experience and practice driving. However, these temporary licenses come with a lot of restrictions, which leaves many people wondering if they can drive out of state with a learner’s permit.
The answer to that question depends entirely upon the state and its local laws. For example, non-residents may drive in the state of Maine with only a learner’s permit, while the state of Arizona does not allow non-residents to drive without holding a valid driver’s license.
Most states will honor learner permits from other states. However, one of the biggest issues with this is the overlapping of rules. For example, you may be able to get your learner’s permit as early as age 14, but you could not use it to drive in a state that makes teens wait to get their permit until they are 16 years old.
It is always a good idea to contact the local DMV in any state that you plan to drive in to ensure that you are following all the local rules. Additionally, since it is the local law enforcement that you would be dealing with if you were to be pulled over, giving them a call is a good idea as well.
How Long Can I Drive with An Out of State License?
Since people often only go out of state for a brief period, this is not a question that comes up a lot. However, there may be times when you are forced to be out of state for an extended period and in that situation, you might want to know how long you are allowed to drive with an out-of-state license.
If you are driving a car that is road legal and registered in the vehicle owner’s state of residence, you may drive anywhere in the United States for an indefinite amount of time. However, moving across state lines complicates things just a bit.
When you establish residency in a new state, you only have a certain amount of time (the exact timeframe will vary between states) before you are mandated to transfer your license to your new state of residence. However, there may be some exceptions to this rule. For example, most states do not require college students or military personnel to register for a new license.
Below you can find a chart that shows how long new residents have before they must transfer their license and a link to each state’s driving handbook. It is assumed that non-residents hold a valid license from another state.
|Alabama||Non-residents may drive without an Alabama license for 30 days after becoming a resident of the state.|
|Alaska||Non-residents must obtain an Alaska driver’s license within 90 days of establishing residency.|
|Arizona||Drivers must obtain an updated license if they spend more than seven months of the year in the state or within 60 days of moving.|
|Arkansas||Drivers must obtain an Arkansas driver’s license if they have been in the state for more than six months as a non-resident or within 30 days of becoming a resident of the state.|
|California||New residents must apply for a California license within 10 days of establishing residency.|
|Colorado||You must apply for a Colorado driver’s license if you own or operate a business in the state, have resided in the state for more than 90 days, or have obtained gainful employment within the state.|
|Connecticut||New residents must transfer their out-of-state license within 30 days of establishing residency.|
|Delaware||Individuals must apply for a Delaware driver’s license within 60 days of becoming a resident of the state.|
|Florida||New residents must obtain a valid Florida driver’s license within 30 days of establishing residency in the state.|
|Georgia||New residents must apply for a Georgia driver’s license within 30 days of becoming a resident of the state.|
|Hawaii||After moving to Hawaii, individuals will have 30 days to transfer their out-of-state license to a Hawaii driver’s license.|
|Idaho||New residents will need to apply for an Idaho license within 90 days of establishing residency. However, residents who hold a CDL must transfer their license within 30 days.|
|Illinois||Drivers will need to transfer their license within 90 days of becoming an Illinois resident.|
|Indiana||Individuals must apply for an Indiana driver’s license within 60 days of establishing residency.|
|Iowa||New residents of Iowa will need to transfer their license within 90 days of establishing residency.|
|Kansas||New residents have 90 days to trade their out-of-state license for a Kansas driver’s license.|
|Kentucky||Drivers must apply for a Kentucky license within 30 days of establishing residency.|
|Louisiana||New residents must apply for a Louisiana license within 30 days of establishing residency.|
|Maine||Once residency is established, new residents have 30 days to surrender their out-of-state license and apply for a Maine driver’s license.|
|Maryland||Drivers have 30 days to apply for a Maryland license once residency is established.|
|Massachusetts||Drivers have 30 days to report a change of address and transfer their license. However, a person must spend more than 183 days in Massachusetts before meeting the definition of a resident.|
|Michigan||Michigan does not provide a “grace-period” and residents must transfer their license as soon as residency is established.|
|Minnesota||Non-residents have up to 60 days to obtain a Minnesota license once residency is established.|
|Mississippi||New residents must transfer their current license within 60 days of becoming a resident.|
|Missouri||Missouri does not offer a “grace period” and individuals must apply for a Missouri license as soon as residency has been established.|
|Montana||Residents must apply for a Montana license within 60 days of moving into the state.|
|Nebraska||New residents must apply to transfer their license within 30 days of establishing residency in Nebraska.|
|Nevada||Drivers must transfer their out-of-state license within 30 days of being granted residency.|
|New Hampshire||New residents have 60 days from the date that residency is established to transfer their license.|
|New Jersey||New residents must apply for a New Jersey license within 60 days of establishing residency.|
|New Mexico||Drivers must surrender their out-of-state license and apply for a New Mexico driver’s license as soon as residency is established.|
|New York||Drivers have 30 days from the date of established residency to transfer their license.|
|North Carolina||Within 60 days of establishing residency, new residents must apply to transfer their out-of-state license.|
|North Dekota||Drivers have up to 150 days to transfer their license, but only 60 days after establishing residency.|
|Ohio||New residents have 30 days to complete their license transfer once residency has been established.|
|Oklahoma||Drivers only have 10 days to report their address and apply for a new license once moving to Oklahoma.|
|Oregon||Once residency is established, drivers must apply for an Oregon driver’s license within 30 days.|
|Pennsylvania||Drivers have 60 days to transfer their license once residency is established.|
|Rhode Island||Drivers must update their out-of-state license to a Rhode Island driver’s license within 10 days of becoming a resident of the state.|
|South Carolina||Drivers only have 10 days to apply for a new license once residency is established.|
|South Dekota||South Dakota does not have an official timetable for when new residents must transfer their licenses.|
|Tennessee||New residents must transfer their license within 30 days of establishing residency.|
|Texas||Drivers must turn over their out-of-state license and apply for a Texas driver’s license within 90 days of establishing residency.|
|Utah||Utah does not have a “grace period” but requires residents to have a valid Utah license when driving. Individuals who live in Utah for longer than 12 months are considered residents of the state.|
|Vermont||New residents must apply to transfer their license within 60 days after moving to Vermont.|
|Virginia||New residents must apply for a Virginia license within 60 days of establishing residency.|
|Washington||After becoming a resident, drivers have 30 days to transfer their license.|
|West Virginia||Drivers must transfer their license within 30 days of establishing residency.|
|Wisconsin||Drivers have 60 days from establishing residency to transfer their out-of-state license.|
|Wyoming||New residents only have 10 days to report their new address and request a new license.|
Source: State DMV Websites
How Do I Transfer My Driver’s License to Another State?
What you will have to do to transfer your license will depend on which state you move to, and the process varies in difficulty from state to state. For example, in some states, the process is as easy as proving residency and supplying a couple of documents, while other states might ask you to retake certain tests before you are eligible to receive a new license.
It is recommended that you call the local DMV in the area that you are planning to move to ahead of time so that you can prepare yourself for the process well in advance. Make sure you ask the agency what documentation you will need, whether you will have to retake any tests, and how much the entire process will cost.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.