Foreign Service employees and their family members may move multiple times in a 5 to 10 year period. Those who fail to keep their U.S. driver's license current while posted overseas run into logistical challenges. Maintaining a valid U.S. driver's license, regardless of your assigned country, is necessary for a number of reasons. Here are a few:

  • Presenting a valid U.S. driver's license to the Human Resources Office at post is often a requirement for the paperwork needed to obtain a diplomatic license in your host country;
  • Some countries allow you to drive on a U.S. driver's license;
  • Renting a vehicle in the U.S. during vacation visits, emergency travel, or while on evacuation status often requires a valid U.S. driver's license;
  • Your vacation destination in the U.S. may not be the state in which you hold your driver's license so renewal while in the states might be difficult; and
  • Employees and family members who return to the U.S. for a domestic assignment might wait 4 to 6 weeks for the arrival of their vehicle from overseas. Whether you rent a vehicle in the meantime, borrow a car, or immediately purchase a car, a valid U.S. driver's license is necessary to get on the road!

The Overseas Briefing Center encourages all foreign affairs employees and family members to check the expiration date on their current license and take active measures to renew before the expiration date. Once the license expires, it is more difficult to obtain a new license. Resources that can assist you follow:

USA Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) Offices by State

District of Columbia | License Renewals
Driver licenses, IDs and vehicle registrations can be renewed online. Your driver license and ID can be renewed online for every other renewal period. Renewal is valid for eight years. If you are renewing a driver license by mail, check to make sure you have included the proper documents in your request and the . The license will be mailed to the address of record. Note: If your DC driver's license has been expired for more than 90 days you'll need to visit a DMV service location and pass a knowledge test.

Maryland | License Renewals
Maryland drivers licenses expire 5 years from the date of issue. You can renew your license by mail, online, at an MVA kiosk, and in person. Note: If your license has expired for more than one year, you will need to have your vision screened and pass the applicable knowledge and skills tests.

Virginia | License Renewals | License Renewals for Diplomats Outside of VA
Virginia licenses are valid for eight years and normally expire on one's birthday. You may renew your driver's license every other renewal cycle online, by telephone (1-888-337-4782) or by mail. For U.S. diplomats, use the link above. Note: If your license has expired for more than one year, you must re-take all tests (vision screening, two-part knowledge exam, and road skills test). If you are on active duty in the military stationed outside of Virginia or in the U. S. Diplomatic Service stationed outside of the U.S., or a civilian employee or contractor of the United States government or an agency acting on behalf of the U. S. government serving outside of the U. S. you may be granted a license extension for up to three years in lieu of license renewal. If you have accumulated 6 points within a 5-yr. time frame in Virginia, you cannot apply online. You must go down to the DMV in person to take the written test again.

National Driver Registry - According to the NDR, "When a person applies for a driver's license, the State DMV checks to see if the name is on our NDR database. If a person has been reported to the NDR as a problem driver, the license may be denied."

Disclaimer: This information is as of November 2012. Please check the official DMV site for updates. Every effort has been made to provide accurate and complete information. However, we cannot guarantee that there will be no errors. Neither the U.S. Government nor the State Department assumes any legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, or process disclosed herein, or represents that use of such information, product, or process would not infringe on privately owned rights.