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Idaho Driver's Licenses
and Identification Cards

FACT SHEET


Who needs a driver’s license?
Anyone who operates a motor vehicle on the public roads in Idaho is required to have a valid driver’s license.

When moving to Idaho you will need to apply for an Idaho driver’s license within 90 days of residing in Idaho, whether your out-of-state license has expired or not. If you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you are required to be licensed in Idaho within 30 days of residing in Idaho.

Students attending a college or university in Idaho and members of the U.S. Military on active duty and their dependents who hold a valid driver’s license from another state and who claim residency in that state, are not required to obtain an Idaho driver’s license.

Who cannot be issued an Idaho driver's license?
An Idaho driver's license cannot be issued to anyone who:
  • Is not a resident of the state of Idaho
  • Is not lawfully present in the United States
  • Is under the age of 15
  • Is under the age of 17 and has not completed the requirements of Idaho's graduated driver's license program
  • Is under the age of 18 and is not enrolled in school or has not completed school as required in Section 49-303A, Idaho Code
  • Has a suspended, revoked, or canceled status in Idaho or any other jurisdiction
  • Has been adjudged as an habitual drunkard or addicted to the use of narcotics
  • Has been adjudged as suffering from mental incompetence that would affect a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle and who at the time of application has not been restored to competency
  • May be afflicted with any physical or mental condition which brings about momentary or prolonged lapses of consciousness or control
  • Is required to take an examination and has not passed the examination

Where do I get a driver’s license or Identification Card?
Idaho driver’s licenses, instruction permits, or identification cards are issued through the county sheriff’s offices. You may apply at the sheriff’s driver licensing office most convenient to you.

What do I need to bring with me?
Proof of Idaho Residency—You must reside inside Idaho’s borders to be issued an Idaho driver’s license or ID card. Proof of residency can be shown with documents such as lease or rental agreements, utility bills, school enrollment records, etc. Your home address (where you live) cannot be your workplace, vacation residence, a part-time residence, P.O. Box, mail drop, or general delivery (that have been mailed to the applicant.) Please check with your local office to determine the acceptability of your documents.

Proof of Age and Identity—Driver’s license examiners are required by law to verify your identity and age before issuing you a driver’s license or ID card. If you have a valid, state-issued driver’s license or a state-issued ID card to surrender that meets the conditions of a primary document stated below, you do not need to provide any additional identity documents.

Note: If you do not have an acceptable driver’s license or ID card to surrender, you will be required to present a certified original birth certificate and an acceptable photo identity document (see primary and secondary document lists below).


If the documents described above cannot be obtained, the examiner will require a combination of documents from the primary and secondary document lists that provide proof of your legal name, date of birth, and identity (including a picture.)

Primary documents verify your age and identity, and must contain your full legal name and date of birth. These documents must be verifiable as authentic (the examiner must be able to contact the issuing agency to determine authenticity). The following are examples of primary documents:

  1. Out of state driver’s license or ID card (with a photo) not expired for five years or more.
  2. Idaho driver’s license or ID card not expired for five years or more.
  3. Original naturalization/citizenship document.
  4. Certified original birth certificate or certified abstract.
  5. Valid Immigration and Naturalization card from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  6. U.S. military photo identification card.
  7. U.S. passport or passport card
  8. Valid Foreign passport with a valid U.S. VISA.
  9. Idaho concealed weapons permit not expired for one year or more.
  10. Veteran’s Universal Access Card with photo.
  11. Native American ID card with photo.
Secondary documents will assist in confirming your identity, and must contain your name and enough information to establish proof of all or part of what is contained on the primary document. The following are examples of secondary documents:
  1. Out-of-state issued driver’s license or ID card (with photo) expired for five years or more.
  2. U.S. military discharge paper (form # DD214).
  3. Certified marriage certificate (meeting Idaho standards) with seal and document number showing that it was recorded.
  4. Certified divorce document from a court or state vital statistics office.
  5. Guardianship or custody documents, notarized or court certified.
  6. Certified court name-change document.
  7. Junior or senior high school (not college or university) photo activity card.
  8. Junior or senior high school, college, or military yearbook/annual.
  9. Idaho Automobile dealer/salesman photo ID card.
  10. Idaho Department of Corrections photo ID card.
  11. Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections photo ID card.
Either the primary or secondary document must contain a photo of you.

NOTE: ALL DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED MUST BE ACCEPTABLE TO THE EXAMINER OR THE IDAHO TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT.

Lawful Presence -- Individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States are not eligible for an Idaho driver's license or identification card. Proof of lawful presence may be required if you have not previously provided proof of U.S. citizenship. Acceptable lawful presence documents include:

  • Certified original U.S. Birth Certificate

  • Certification of Birth Abroad

  • Original Certificate of Naturalization/Citizenship

  • Permanent Resident card or Resident Alien card

  • Employment Authorization card

  • Valid Foreign passport with valid U.S. VISA and I-94 (Arrival/Departure record)

Social Security Card—Bring your social security number or the original card issued by the Social Security Administration. Your social security number will be verified. It will not be printed on your Idaho driver’s license or ID card.
If you do not have a Social Security Number, you may still apply for a driver’s license or ID card if you provide a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that you do not have a Social Security Number. You will be required to provide proof of lawful presence in the United States.

Physical Certification—If your ability to operate a motor vehicle is affected by any physical or mental condition which brings about momentary or prolonged lapses of consciousness or control (examples: epilepsy or seizures, crippling arthritis, paralysis, Parkinson’s, heart trouble, insulin-dependent diabetes, Alzheimer’s, strokes, multiple sclerosis) you will be denied a license/permit until you provide a written certification from a physician that you can safely operate a motor vehicle.

Liability Signer—If you are under 18 years old, you need to have a birth parent (listed on birth certificate) or legal guardian with you to sign consent for you to be licensed. The identity of the liability signer will be verified.

School Enrollment or Completion—If you are under 18 years old, you will need to provide acceptable proof of enrollment and attendance in or graduation from a recognized high school or equivalent program.

Driver Training Completion—If you are under 17 years old, you must provide proof that you have completed an approved driver training program and met the requirements of the Supervised Instruction Permit under Idaho’s Graduated Driver’s License Program.

One License Law—When applying for an Idaho Class D driver’s license, you must surrender any driver’s license or ID card issued to you from another state, U. S. Territory, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia. You do not need to surrender a driver’s license issued in a foreign country. However, once you are issued an Idaho driver’s license, you are not allowed to use or show your foreign license for the purpose of operating a motor vehicle. If you are applying for an Idaho Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you must surrender any license(s) issued to you by any jurisdiction(s).

What tests will I need to take?
Vision Screening—Your vision will be tested and you must meet a minimum standard of 20/40 vision in at least one eye, with or without corrective lenses. If you wear glasses or contacts during the screening, a lens restriction will be placed on your driver’s license. If the lens restriction is placed on your driver’s license, you must always wear your glasses or contacts when operating a vehicle or you could be cited and lose your driving privileges for a period of time.

Written Knowledge Test—If you are a new applicant for an Idaho driver’s license or your Idaho driver’s license has been expired for more than 25 months, you will be tested on your knowledge of Idaho traffic laws, highway signs by shape and symbol, traffic signals, pavement marking, and equipment required on motor vehicles.

Skills Test—A skills test is required for any applicant:
  • who has never been licensed before,
  • who has completed driver’s training and the supervised instruction period,
  • whose license has been expired for 25 months or more,
  • who presents or surrenders a driver’s license issued by a foreign country (except Germany and Korea), or
  • whose vision does not meet minimum standards.
A skills test may also be required for any applicant:
  • having any mental or physical impairment that might affect the safe operation of a motor vehicle,
  • when an examiner has concerns about the applicant’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, regardless of prior license, experience, or age.
What if I want to use a name other than the one appearing on my current driver’s license, ID card, or on other documents that I present for identity purposes?
You will need to provide one or more of the following certified documents, dated after the current record, as acceptable proof of a legal name change:
  • Certified marriage certificate(s) meeting Idaho standards
  • Certified divorce document(s)
  • Adoption record
  • Court name-change documents(s)

When can I renew my license?
You may renew your Idaho driver’s license in person up to 25 months before the expiration date. A Class D license renewal is valid for either four years or eight years. If you are between the ages of 21 and 62, you may choose the eight-year renewal. Your vision will be checked, and if the examiner thinks it is necessary, a skills test, visual examination, and/or medical examination may be requested. If your driver’s license has been expired for 25 months or more, you will be required to take the written knowledge test and the skills test. If your CDL is expired for 25 months or more and you wish to retain CDL privileges, you will need to take the written knowledge test for class D, all written tests pertinent to the CDL, and a skills test in the class of vehicle that matches the class of CDL you are applying for.

What else should I know?
DONOR DESIGNATION—If you are 18 years of age or older, you may request to have the “DONOR” designation appear on your license or ID card. The designation identifies your wish to donate your organs and/or tissues upon your death to those waiting for transplants. If you want to make limitations, change, or update your donor status, you may do so at www.yesidaho.org or call 1-866-YES-IDAHO.

Selective Service Registration—Federal law requires all males who are 18 to 25 years of age to register with the Selective Services System. Eligible males will have the opportunity to register when they apply for a driver’s license or ID card.

Additionally, the Selective Service System receives notification of all applicants who decline the opportunity to register.


Address Change:
Idaho law requires you to notify the DMV of any address change no more than 30 days after the move. Keeping your address current with the department helps assure that you will receive notifications to renew your driver's license by mail (if you qualify) and also receive any other important correspondence, such as notices of suspension. It also allows law enforcement personnel to notify you or your family if there is an emergency.

This brochure does not discuss all of the eligibility requirements. For further information, please consult the Idaho Driver’s Manual.

This brochure paraphrases the language of the Idaho Motor Vehicle Code and the Idaho Driver’s Manual. Courts go by the actual language of the Code, not this text.

If you have any questions,
contact your local County Sheriff’s (driver’s license) office or the Idaho Transportation Department / Driver Services at

PO Box 7129,
Boise, ID 83707-1129

Or browse our web page at: http://dmv.idaho.gov
Page Last Modified: 12/14/2012 8:47:24 AM

Division of Motor Vehicles / Driver Services Section
(208) 334-8735


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Idaho Transportation Department
3311 W. State Street ยท P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707-1129