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Snowbirds, students may renew driver's license early to keep it valid

Students leaving for out-of-state colleges and Minnesotans travelling south for the winter will want to check the expiration date on their driver's licenses before leaving the state. It may be best to renew early to be sure that the license status remains active, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS).

Drivers whose licenses expire in 2013 may renew after September 1, 2012, and prior to the expiration date without losing a year on the renewal cycle. The new license will expire four full years from the expiration date on the license, rather than four years from the renewal date. It is possible to renew prior to September 1, but the new license, in that case, will expire four years from the original renewal date.

Drivers applying for the "Under 21" license may do so before the expiration date, and the application will be processed normally. When drivers apply early for an "Over 21" license, the application will be held and processed five days prior to the holder's twenty-first birthday.

For out-of-state students and snowbirds, driver's licenses may be mailed to an optional mailing address provided on the application -- one that differs from the Minnesota resident address printed on the card.

Renewing early ensures that a driver's license displays a current photo and resident address; it also provides drivers peace of mind and a valid license while away from home. The early renewal service is also available to identification card holders.

To complete an early renewal, visit any driver's license exam station or an office that accepts driver's license applications. To find a location near you, visit the DVS website at or call 651-297-2005 and say "Driver's License" at the prompt. TTY/TDD is 651-282-6555.