Procedure for Dealing with a Lost or Stolen Driver's License

by Joshua on November 30, 2014

Having a driver’s license is one of greatest liberties to its holder. A symbol of freedom and mobility, it allows access and ease in commuting for business, pleasure, or emergencies. Having a license in possession does more than just permit the driver to be on the road; it gives him higher status in life.

Lost or Stolen License

If you have had the unfortunate event of losing your driver’s license or having it stolen from you, all is not lost. There are several important things you must do to replace it. These steps should be taken immediately, especially if you need to drive, because it is illegal to drive without a current license. Since each state runs their own Department of Motor Vehicles organization, the state you reside in will dictate which instructions you follow. As the necessary actions will vary, check with your particular state for their policy by logging onto .

Ways to Request and Report

There are several ways to report your drivers license missing and request a new one. They are:

  • Online
  • Email
  • US Postal Mail
  • In Person
  • Phone

Again, the options that are available to you will depend on the state you reside in and whether the missing driver’s license was last possessed in your state. If you are out of the state that you live in and lost your license out of state, you should report it in your resident state. The only exception to this is if you are moving to a new state. Then you may be able to fill out a new application in your new state rather than having the old state issue another license only to get it transferred to your new state. In this case of moving from state to state, you should check with both your old and new states to be certain.

General Guidelines

Most states would strongly suggest reporting your lost or stolen driver’s licenses to the police department or other law enforcement agency for two reasons. One is to protect you from identity theft. The other is that this would enable you to get the fee for the replacement license waived. Contact the law enforcement agency or the police dept in your area to verify both the requirement and fee waiver for you.
After filing the report, confirm how you are going to apply for a duplicate driver’s license. Once you choose the option you want, fill out your state’s form for another license. For example, in California, it is Form DL44 and in New York it is Form MV44. Sometimes your state’s DMV website, also found at, will have a link to the file for downloading. Others will only have the form available in one of their office locations.

Remember to make sure your address is up to date with the DMV in your state. They will be sending your replacement driver’s license to you and you don’t want it to get lost in the mail!

Next, you will have to pay a fee unless your state is waiving it for you. The exact fees depend on your state. The range averages from $17.50, which is in NY, to $30, which is in CA. Florida’s fee is $25. Of course senior citizens, in any state, can have their licenses replaced for free. The cost for replacement also weighs on the type of license you need to replace, like commercial vs. regular class.

Finally, you will not be required to take any tests, but you will need to have your picture taken again, as well as your thumbprint.

List of Acceptable Documents of Proof

The following is a list of what most DMV offices accept as proof of your identity. Make sure you pick at least two of them, but the more you bring, the better chance you have at being able to complete the application process. Remember to bring them you if you are visiting an office in person; you don’t want to have to come back twice. The documents of proof that most accept are:

  • Original or Certified Birth Certificate
  • Current Passport
  • Social Security Card
  • Last Paycheck stub
  • Vehicle title or Registration

As you submit everything, the agent at your DMV will verify your photograph, social security number, proof of identification and residency. Once all the paperwork has been filed, you will receive an interim license so you can drive in the meantime. This license is valid for up to 90 days. Before it expires, you should expect to receive your replacement driver’s license by mail within 60 days from filing the application.

If you prepare beforehand, the process should go fairly smoothly and quickly. The less time you allow passing between losing your driver’s license and getting a new one, the quicker you will be back on the road to freedom and mobility.

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