Sh*t! You Lost Your Driver's License — Now What?
I've lost/gotten my wallet stolen several times now, which makes me an expert on replacing IDs. Luckily, it's a pretty easy process, but many DMVs do require you to make a trip in person. Take it from me — try to get everything taken care of ASAP. Going out to eat or drink will be a pain in the ass, and you'll run into trouble if you get pulled over. Here's what you need to know about getting a new license if you lost yours.
1. Report a lost or stolen driver's license.
Consider reporting it to the police as soon as it happens to prevent someone from using your identity.
2. Make an appointment with the DMV.
If you're able to take time off work to make a walk-in visit during the week, go with that option to take care of it as soon as possible. Depending on your DMV, appointments might not be available for months, so only make an appointment if your DMV requires it or if you can't go during operating hours. Some states do allow you to apply for a replacement over mail or online under certain requirements. Check the site to see which rules apply to where you live.
3. Bring all necessary documents.
DMVs will typically require the same documents you presented for proof of identification and residency when first applying for a license. But with some states requiring a Real ID by the end of 2020, you should check your DMV site for a list of necessary documents that may include an official passport, birth certificate, and a permanent resident card — not copies!
4. Fill out the form.
Each DMV has its own form and many don't provide them online. Fill them out during your visit and present it with all other necessary papers.
Pro tip: Take a couple blank forms home with you in case you lose your ID again in the future! You'll still have to wait in line, but at least you won't waste another second filling it out at the DMV.
5. Pay the fee.
California's replacement fee is $46, while it's only $11 in Texas, so all states vary.
Pro tip: Bring cash to be safe. Some DMVs (like California) don't accept credit cards, but they all do accept cash.
You will get a receipt after paying and/or an interim license that's valid until you receive your replacement in the mail. Expect it to arrive in two weeks to two months, depending on your state.