Renewing Your Driver's License
You may renew your driver's license as early as one year prior to the expiration date on your license.
DMV will mail you a renewal application prior to the expiration date of your driver's license or you can opt to receive an electronic renewal reminder. If you choose to receive your renewal notice by mail, make sure that your current address is on file with DMV. If your address has changed, then update your address with DMV.
Renew and Upgrade to a REAL ID
Before you renew, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) wants to be sure you're ready for an upcoming, important change in federal identification requirements called REAL ID.
Beginning October 1, 2021, Virginians who wish to use their state-issued driver's license to board a domestic flight must present a REAL ID compliant version of the license, marked by a small star in the upper-right corner. Other federally approved forms of ID will also be accepted, including a U.S. Passport or some military IDs. REAL ID also affects access to secure federal facilities and military bases, so visitors should verify identification requirements prior to their visit.
All applicants for a REAL ID compliant credential, including current Virginia credential holders, must apply in person, but you can start the process online. As the enforcement deadline for REAL ID approaches, DMV offices are expected to become increasingly busy, so beat the rush and upgrade now. For more information, visit DMV's REAL ID page.
The renewal fee is the same as the licensing fee. For example, an 8-year driver's license with no classes or endorsements costs $32. You may pay your fees with cash, money order, check, debit card, or major credit card. There is an additional $10 fee if you upgrade to a REAL ID license.
Your renewed license will be valid for eight years and will expire on your birthday. However, if you are age 75 or older, your renewed license will be valid for five years (Virginia code 46.2-330)
Individuals required to register with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry (Virginia Code Chapter 9 of Title 9.1) will be issued licenses valid for five years.
Temporarily Living Outside of Virginia?
If you are a military, diplomatic, or civilian employee or contractor stationed outside of the U.S., you may be granted a license extension for up to three years in lieu of license renewal. For more information, refer to Temporarily Outside of Virginia.
1. Renewing online or by mail
Every other renewal cycle, you may renew your driver's license online or by mail. Your renewal notice will indicate if you are eligible to renew by one of these methods or whether you must renew at a customer service center.
NEW: Because of COVID-19, DMV is offering most current eight-year credential holders who are required to renew in person the option to use online services and obtain a new two-year driver's license or ID card. This will postpone the requirement for those customers to visit a DMV customer service center until it is time for their next renewal. If you would like to renew your license for eight years, or if you need a REAL ID compliant drive's license, you must still make an appointment at dmvNOW.com/appt to visit DMV in person. For more information, visit dmvNOW.com/2YRDL.
There are several conditions which will prevent you from renewing online or by mail. To find out if any of these apply to you, refer to Ineligibility To Renew by Mail or Online.
NOTE: If you decide to renew online and upgrade to a REAL ID compliant credential, you may start the process online but must visit a customer service center with your documents.
2. Renewing at a Customer Service Center
You may renew at a customer service center during any renewal cycle. You will be required to pass the vision screening test and a new photograph will be taken.
Suzy Q & A Explains How to Renew Online
Proving Legal Presence When Renewing
- If your valid, unexpired license was issued prior to January 1, 2004, you are "grandfathered" and do not need to prove legal presence at renewal.
- If you hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) you will be required to present federally acceptable proof of citizenship, legal permanent resident status in the United States or certain temporary status. If you have presented an acceptable proof of U.S. citizenship or Legal Permanent Resident status to DMV since January 1, 2004, you will not be asked to do so again.
- If your license has expired for as much as one day, you must provide proof of legal presence when applying to renew. However, this requirement is waived if you have provided DMV with evidence since January 1, 2004, that you are a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident of the U.S.
- If required, you must present proof of legal presence in person.
- If you are authorized to be in the U.S. temporarily and have been issued a limited duration driver's license, the license cannot be renewed. A subsequent license will be processed as an original license. However, you will not be eligible to receive an original driver's license if your authorized stay in the U.S. is less than 30 days from the date you apply.
- Each time you apply for an original driver's license, you must show one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence and two proofs of Virginia residency. Proof of your social security number is required, if you have been issued one. For more information about identification and residency requirements, refer to Applying for a Driver's License.
- If you are temporarily authorized to be in the U.S. and present a valid legal presence document without an expiration date, you will be issued a limited duration license that is valid for one year.
For more information, refer to "Obtaining a Virginia Driver's License or Identification (ID) Card" (DMV 141).
If your license has been expired for more than one year and you do not have proof that you previously held a license in Virginia, another state, or U.S. territory, then you must retake the vision screening, the two-part knowledge exam, and the road skills test).
Possessing a License and/or an ID or CDL
If you currently hold both a driver's license and an ID card, you must surrender your ID card before you can renew your driver's license. You may hold either a driver's license or a commercial driver's license (CDL), but not both.