Ask a Trooper: Which driver's license should I use?

Questioner ends up with duplicate licenses.

Sgt. Jesse Grabow

Question: I thought I lost my driver’s license. I searched high and low and for the life of me I couldn’t find it. Seriously, I looked near and far and didn’t leave a stone unturned. So I went and applied for a new driver’s license and received it. But just the other day, lo and behold and by the grace of God it appeared. Call it a miracle or maybe my mind is going. So now I have two Minnesota driver’s licenses that appear to be valid as they don’t expire for a few years yet. Which one should I be using and what should I do with the other?

Answer: I am very happy that you found your driver’ license and you did the right thing by applying for a new license when you truly thought it was lost. Anytime your driver’s license is lost, damaged or destroyed, you will need to apply for a duplicate license.

Minnesota law requires that every licensee shall have the license (driver’s license, instruction permit or provisional license) in immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle.

To answer your question about which license to use, the most current license is the one that is valid in the system. Once issued, a driver's license or identification card with the more recent issue date will be the valid card. Yes, there is an issue date that many people don’t notice. It is listed on there as: 4a ISS (followed by the date.)

For the older of the two, I would recommend shredding the card that was found after applying for the duplicate. If that license ended up in the wrong hands it could be used in criminal activity. Keep the card with most recent issue date.


I’d like to add that Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) generally does not forward mail. Minnesota law requires you to apply for a new driver’s license within 30 days of changing your address. Important information regarding your driving privileges and registration are sent to the address listed. If you fail to update your address, you will most likely not get what you need.

Send questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota to: Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol , 1000 Highway 10 W., Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. Follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at

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