Expired Driver’s License Guide

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Your driver’s license and car registration are two important components to your privilege to drive legally on public roads. 

Being sure to keep them valid and renewing them before they expire is an important part of being a responsible driver and avoiding traffic tickets and higher car insurance rates. 

However, sometimes life gets in the way and we let our driving credentials lapse. 

This page will provide you with an overview of what will happen if you let your driver’s license expire. 

If you need to learn about your options for renewing your driver’s license, check out our simple guides on that topic. 

Depending on the state you live in, there are a few things you can expect to happen if you let your driver’s license expire:

  • You can no longer legally drive. 
  • You may be charged a late fee.
  • You may be required to retake the DMV written exam and road test. 
  • Your car insurance rates may increase.

Expired License Grace Period

Grace periods can mean a couple different things when talking about an expired driver’s license. 

  1. There are some states that allow a grace period in which you can renew an expired driver’s license without having to retake your DMV written exam or road test. 
  2. There are also some states that will allow you to continue to legally drive for a certain amount of time with an expired license.

Find your state below to see how an expired license affects your ability to drive or renew it. 

How Long can your License be Expired?

As you’ll see below, the length of time a driver’s license can be expired varies by state. 

In most states, you cannot drive with an expired license. 

After that, the grace period for renewing an expired license ranges from about 2 months to 2 years. 

If the driver’s license has expired longer than the state’s renewal grace period, you’ll be required to apply for a new one and retake the written test and road test.

Remember, in most states, your driver’s license will expire on your birthday every 4 to 8 years. If your birthday is coming up and you haven’t renewed your driver’s license in a while, it’s worth taking a look to see if it’s time. 

How to Renew an Expired Driver’s License

For the most part, you’ll be able to renew an expired driver’s license just like you would if you were renewing it while it was still valid. 

If it hasn’t been expired for too long, you’ll typically still be able to renew online or by mail if you are eligible to do so. 

However, in some states, having an expired driver’s license will limit your options for renewal. 

With an expired driver’s license you may not be able to renew it online or by mail, and instead you’ll need to visit your local DMV office to do it in person. 

Remember, if your driver’s license has been expired for longer than your state’s renewal grace period it will be just like applying for a new driver’s license for the first time. This means you’ll need to:

If your license has expired for too long, you can find tips for how to apply for a license in your state. 

 If you need to study for the driver’s license written exam, be sure to study the driver’s handbook and practice with some of our free DMV practice tests

Driving with an Expired License

In all but a handful of states, it is illegal to drive with an expired license. 

While you still may be able to renew it without any penalties or without having to retake the DMV exams, you cannot get behind the wheel. 

What happens if you get pulled over with an expired license?

The consequences for driving with an expired license and getting pulled over can vary. 

Driving with an expired license or continuing to drive past the grace period is illegal and can get you in trouble with the law if you are pulled over. 

For a first offense, you can typically expect to receive a ticket and have to pay a fine. You may also have points added to your driving record.  

For multiple offenses of driving without a valid license you may face higher fines, having your vehicle impounded, jail time, and more points added to your record. 

All of the above can also lead to increased car insurance rates. 

However, mistakes do happen. If your license has just expired and you have only been pulled over for a minor offense, you may be able to leave with a warning from the police officer stating that you need to renew it as soon as possible. 

But, you should air on the side of caution. Renew your driver’s license before the expiration date to ensure that you will not face:

  • Tickets and fines.
  • Jail time. 
  • Driving record points. 
  • Expensive car insurance rates. 

Other Issues with an Expired Driver’s License

Driving is not the only thing that can be affected by having an expired driver’s license. 

For most people, a driver’s license is the main form of primary identification that they carry with them everyday. There are plenty of things we use it for and may not even think about, such as:

  • Going to the bank. 
  • Renting a car. 
  • Buying alcohol or going to a bar. 
  • Picking up tickets at will call. 
  • Getting on an airplane. 
  • Voting. 

Can you fly with an expired license?

An expired driver’s license cannot be used as a valid form of identification to board a plane. 

However, if your license has expired or you forgot it on the way to the airport, the TSA may be able to confirm your identity in other ways. 

Note that the TSA has made temporary adjustments to this rule in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their current guidelines state that they will accept an expired driver’s license or ID card up to 1 year after the expiration date (if the credential expired on or after March 1, 2020).

Also remember that as of May 2023, you will need to possess a Real ID compliant driver’s license if you want to use that as your proof of ID to fly. 

Can you rent a car with an expired license?

If your driver’s license is expired, you cannot rent a car. 

Part of your rental agreement is based on your legal ability to drive. 

All car rental companies require you to hold a valid driver’s license that is not expired and not suspended in order to rent a vehicle. 

Can you buy alcohol with an expired driver’s license?

Officially, no, you cannot purchase alcohol or enter a bar for people 21 years old and up if you have an expired driver’s license. 

However, if you go to a place where the staff knows you or your license has only just recently expired, you may still be able to buy alcohol. 

Is an expired license a valid form of ID?

If the answers above have provided any clues to this question, you already know that an expired driver’s license is typically not accepted as a valid form of identification.

When you need to prove your identity and age for anything official, legal, or government-related, you will need to provide an valid, unexpired driver’s license. 

Driver’s License Grace Period Rules by State

Find your state below for rules about driving with an expired license and renewing an expired license. Click through to learn about your options for renewing your license

Alabama

You can still drive with an expired license for up to 60 days after it expires. If it has been expired for more than 3 years, you’ll need to retake the road test and written exam.

Renewing a License in Alabama.

Alaska

There is no grace period that allows you to continue to drive with an expired license. If it has been expired for over 1 year, you’ll need to retake the written exam.

Renewing a License in Alaska.

Arizona

AZ driver’s licenses are valid until your 65th birthday, but photos will need to be updated every 12 years. If you let your license expire, you cannot still drive.

Renewing a License in Arizona.

Arkansas

If your driver’s license has been expired for more than 30 days, you’ll typically need to retake the written test. You cannot drive with an expired license.

Renewing a License in Arkansas.

California

There is no grace period for driving with an expired license in California. You can still renew it up to 6 months after the expiration date. After that you’ll need to submit a new application and pass your driver’s license tests. 

Renewing a License in California.

Colorado

You cannot drive with an expired driver’s license. If your license has been expired for over 1 year, you’ll need to retake the DMV tests.

Renewing a License in Colorado.

Connecticut

If you let your license expire, you will be charged a late fee when you renew it. If it has been expired for more than 2 years, you’ll need to take the written test and road test again.

Renewing a License in Connecticut.

Delaware

You’ll be charged a late fee for an expired license. You may be required to retake the written exam or road test if you let your license expire.

Renewing a License in Delaware.

Florida

There is no grace period for driving with an expired driver’s license. After 1 year, you may need to retake the written exam and road test.

Renewing a License in Florida.

Georgia

You cannot drive with an expired license. You can renew up to 2 years after the expiration date before you need to retake the exams.

Renewing a License in Georgia.

Hawaii

You cannot legally drive with an expired license, but you can renew it up to 90 days after it expires before having to test again.

Renewing a License in Hawaii.

Idaho

If your driver’s license has been expired for 25 months or more, you’ll need to take the DMV tests again.

Renewing a License in Idaho.

Illinois

1 year after your expiration date, you may need to pass the written exam and road test. You cannot drive with an expired license. 

Renewing a License in Illinois.

Indiana

If your license has been expired for less than 180 days, you’ll be required to pay a late fee. If it has expired for 180 days to 3 years, you’ll need to pay a late fee and pass the written exam. After 3 years, you’ll be required to pay a late fee and pass all the tests.

Renewing a License in Indiana.

Iowa

You can still drive for up to 60 days with an expired license. After that, you can receive a ticket. If you renew after 60 days, you may also need to pay a late fee and pass the driver’s license tests again.

Renewing a License in Iowa.

Kansas

Retests may be required if your driver’s license has expired. 

Renewing a License in Kansas.

Kentucky

If your license has been expired for over 1 year, you’ll need to retake the written test.

Renewing a License in Kentucky.

Louisiana

You have up to 10 days to renew after your license expires before you will be charged late fees.

Renewing a License in Louisiana.

Maine

If your driver’s license expires, you may need to retake your exams. There is no grace period.

Renewing a License in Maine.

Maryland

If your license has been expired for over 1 year, you’ll need to retake the written test and road test.

Renewing a License in Maryland.

Massachusetts

While you cannot legally drive, you can still renew an expired license up to 2 years after the expiration date. After that, you’ll be required to retake the RMV exams.

Renewing a License in Massachusetts.

Michigan

There is no grace period for driving with an expired license, but you may be able to renew without retaking the driver’s license exams up to 4 years after the expiration date.

Renewing a License in Michigan.

Minnesota

Driver’s licenses that have been expired for more than 5 years will require you to pass the written exam and road test again.

Renewing a License in Minnesota.

Mississippi

You will be charged a late fee if your license expires, but you can renew up to 1 year after the expiration date without having to retest. 

Renewing a License in Mississippi.

Missouri

You cannot legally drive with an expired license, but you can renew up to 6 months after the expiration date before you will be required to retake the DMV exams.

Renewing a License in Missouri.

Montana

While you cannot legally drive with an expired license, you can still renew it up to 3 months after the expiration date with no penalties or testing requirements. 

Renewing a License in Montana.

Nebraska

You can renew an expired license up to 1 year after the expiration date before you’ll need to retake the tests. You cannot drive if your license has expired. 

Renewing a License in Nebraska.

Nevada

A late fee will be charged if your license is expired over 30 days. If it has been expired for over 1 year, you’ll need to pass the written exam. After 4 years, you’ll be required to pass all of the exams again. You cannot drive with an expired license. 

Renewing a License in Nevada.

New Hampshire

You cannot legally drive after your license expires. If it has been expired for less than 1 year, you can still renew it. If it has been expired between 1 and 3 years, you’ll be required to provide proof of your identity and residency again. After 3 years, you’ll be required to pass the driver’s licenses tests again. 

Renewing a License in New Hampshire.

New Jersey

There is no grace period for an expired license. You’ll be required to pay a late fee when you renew it. If it has been expired for over 3 years, you’ll need to retake the MVC tests again.

Renewing a License in New Jersey.

New Mexico

While you cannot legally drive, you can still renew an expired license for up to 1 year after the expiration date.

Renewing a License in New Mexico.

New York

You will get a ticket if you drive with an expired license. If it has been expired for over 2 years, you’ll be required to pass the DMV tests again.

Renewing a License in New York.

North Carolina

You can still renew an expired driver’s license online up to 2 years after the expiration date. After that, you’ll need to visit a DMV office in person and possibly retake the tests. 

Renewing a License in North Carolina.

North Dakota

After your license has been expired for 1 year, you’ll be required to take the written test and road test again.

Renewing a License in North Dakota.

Ohio

You cannot drive with an expired license, but you can renew it up to 6 months after the expiration date. 

Renewing a License in Ohio.

Oklahoma

After 1 year, you’ll need to visit your local driver’s license office and provide proof of your identity, citizenship, address, and Social Security Number.

Renewing a License in Oklahoma.

Oregon

If your driver’s license has been expired for over 1 year, you’ll need to apply for a new one and pass all the DMV tests again.

Renewing a License in Oregon.

Pennsylvania

You can still renew an expired license as long as it is within 6 months of the expiration date. You cannot drive without a valid license. 

Renewing a License in Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island

If your license has been expired for more than 5 years, you’ll need to apply for a new one.

Renewing a License in Rhode Island.

South Carolina

Driver’s licenses that have been expired for less than 9 months can still be renewed. After that you’ll need to pass the DMV tests.

Renewing a License in South Carolina.

South Dakota

There is no grace period for expired licenses. If it expires, you may be required to retake the tests. 

Renewing a License in South Dakota.

Tennessee

You can renew your driver’s license up to 30 days after it expires without any penalties, however you will not be able to drive. After 30 days, you’ll be charged a late fee and may need to retake your driver’s license tests.

Renewing a License in Tennessee.

Texas

You cannot drive if your license has expired, but you can renew up to 2 years after the expiration date without having to retest.

Renewing a License in Texas.

Utah.

If your license has been expired for more than 6 months, you’ll need to retake the written exam.

Renewing a License in Utah.

Vermont

There is a 14-day grace period renewing your license. 

Renewing a License in Vermont.

Virginia

If your license has been expired for more than 1 year, you’ll need to retake the tests.

Renewing a License in Virginia.

Washington

After 60 days, you’ll be charged a late fee to renew an expired license.

Renewing a License in Washington.

West Virginia

If your license has been expired for over 6 months, you’ll need to retake the tests.

Renewing a License in West Virginia.

Wisconsin

You can still renew your driver’s license up to 1 year after the expiration date, but you cannot drive without a valid license.

Renewing a License in Wisconsin.

Wyoming

There is no grace period for an expired license. If it expires, you may need to pass the tests again.

Renewing a License in Wyoming.

Washington DC

A driver’s license that has been expired for over 1 year will require you to pass the knowledge exam or complete traffic school. After 1 year 6 months, you’ll also need to pass the road test.

Renewing a License in Washington DC.