How much work will be involved with replacing a lost driving license will depend on the state where you live.Credit: Dreamstime
Sooner or later most of us end up having to replace a lost or stolen driver's license. Apart from the frustration and worry involved in the loss, there is the question of what will be involved in replacing your license. Just how much time and effort will be involved will depend on the rules and regulations of the state in which you live.
Almost all states recommend you report your loss to the police right away if you didn't watch you dog chew it up, accidentally drop in into the lit barbecue or witness its demise directly in some other form. If your license has been stolen you will also want to avoid the threat of identity theft by reporting the loss to one of the three major credit report agencies: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. These days a driving license is as much a form of identification as it is a permit to drive a car.
The next step in replacing a lost or stolen driver’s license is getting to your Department or Registry of Motor Vehicles. It is illegal to drive without a license. So don't do it. Instead, take public transportation or find a friend to give you a ride to your Department of Motor Vehicles. You can avoid the visit altogether if you live in a state that allows you to apply for a reissued license on the Internet or by mail.
If you are lucky enough to live where the Internet is an option for replacing your license go directly to the site to get instructions. You will need to put in your social security number, birthday and license number plus pay a small fee that is usually between $5 to $20. Some states where you can get your license reissued on the Internet are New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Washington DC, Indiana, and Georgia.
In Pennsylvania and a number of other states you can handle the transaction by mail as an alternative.
Not all states give you the option of replacing your lost or stolen license on either an Internet site or by mail. Here you will still need to appear in person at your Registry or Department of Motor Vehicles bringing official identification – original documents only. Some states that require you to make a personal appearance are Texas, Oregon, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Hawaii and North Carolina. See if you can make an appointment first by phone to save yourself from being stuck waiting in long lines.
Different states have different requirements to replace a lost driver's license. Call your registry to find out what you must do in your state. Be prepared for one of the three choices: online, mail or personal visit.