Can I Use My Passport When Driving If I Lost My Driver’s License?

I’ve lost my driver’s license, can I still drive?
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Perhaps you have lost your driver’s license and since we all know that visiting the DMV is truly a pain, you may be wondering if you can temporarily use your passport as your driver’s license when driving? I mean, it’s a form of government-issued I.D., isn’t it?

The answer is: no, you cannot use your passport as a replacement for your driver’s license, and in fact, it’s actually illegal in all 50 US states.

Driver’s licenses are issued to individuals who have passed their written and road tests, and are capable of participating in traffic. Unless you find yourself in a situation where you’re literally in the middle of nowhere without your wallet, money, any identity documents, or your phone, then you should not drive without your driver’s license.

Consequences of driving without a driver’s license

Driving any vehicle requires the appropriate license, and this doesn’t just mean having it issued by the DMV, but actually carrying the physical copy of it with you when you drive.

While not having your current driver’s license on you may not result in getting arrested, for example, it will most likely result in a ticket. Therefore, if you lost your driver’s license, your best bet is to just apply for a replacement as soon as possible. Most states will issue a temporary driver’s license that is usually valid for up to 45 days and can be used when driving while you wait for your regular driver’s license.

Replacing your lost driver’s license

You can request to have your driver’s license replaced in one of two ways: online or in-person. If you value convenience and getting things done from the comfort of your home, then the online option is definitely a lot more attractive – it’s available 24/7 and you won’t have to wait for an appointment.

If you go for the in-person option (some states may not offer the online option), you’ll need to make an appointment at the DMV. While you may be able to walk-in and hope to be taken care of right away, it’s highly unlikely knowing the infamous DMV waiting times.

In some states you’ll need to file a police report for your lost driver’s license. It’s not required in every state, but highly recommended, as losing your driver’s license could potentially make you fall victim to identity theft.

If you’re interested in passports, you can also check out:

Replacing your driver’s license – the online option

Check out your state’s DMV website to find out whether your state offers an online replacement option. Your state may also require you to fill out a replacement license application that you will find on the DMV’s website.

Keep in mind that the personal information you enter in the application will have to match that kept on record at the DMV office. Once you’re done filling out your application, you’ll have to pay the applicable fee, which ranges from $15 to $30, depending on your state of residence.

Replacing your driver’s license – the in-person option

Replacing your lost driver’s license in person doesn’t differ much from the online option in terms of formalities. The most important thing in this case is to call or go to your DMV’s website to make an appointment. Once your appointment date comes around, you’ll have to hand in your filled out replacement application to a DMV employee and pay the applicable fee.

Whether you apply in person or online, the usual processing times for a replacement driver’s license is between 2 to 4 weeks.

Real ID driver’s license

Based on the Real ID Act of 2005, some states have already started adopting Real ID or “enhanced” driver’s licenses.

Real ID forms of identification are meant to prevent any tampering or duplication through the use of a security stamp (in some states this is actually a radio frequency identification chip like the one used in pets).

Although it’s not happening yet, Real ID-compliant government identification cards will become mandatory starting May 3rd, 2023, and you will be required to present a Real ID card when boarding a domestic flight or entering federal buildings, such as military bases (unless you have another form of a federal ID, such as your passport).

A Real ID driver’s license is also an accepted form of ID for land and sea border crossings to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. Some individuals who have lost their driver’s license choose to upgrade their document to the Real ID version while applying for a replacement.

Replacing the photo in your driver’s license

If you’re applying for a replacement of your lost driver’s license, you actually don’t have to take a new ID photo (if you opt for the Real ID version, you will have to take a new picture according to the federal rules). But, you may also want to consider it an opportunity to do so, especially if your old driver’s license pic was taken years ago when you still had your old haircut and style.

Make sure to check your local DMV’s website for the driver’s license photo replacement fees, as you will have to pay to update your pic. 

Passport Photo Online

While most DMVs won’t accept a DIY driver’s license photo and they’ll take the photo for you, if you need an ID photo for any other document, we’ve got you covered. Passport Photo Online is a super easy-to-use online photo tool that boasts an almost 100% compliance rate thanks to its very sensitive AI system.

The app is available for iOS and Android phones, and has been praised by Forbes and National Geographic, among others. With over 1 million users within the last 7 years, it prides itself in a meticulous verification process, making sure each photo meets the official requirements regardless of the country.


If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you lost your driver’s license, the first thing you should do is file a police report (although not mandatory, it’s highly recommended), and contact your local DMV.

You will then be able to file for a driver’s license replacement and probably receive a temporary driver’s license in paper form that will allow you to drive legally while you wait for the DMV to process your paperwork for a replacement. Drive safely!


Can I use my passport as a temporary replacement of my driver’s license when driving?

No. The only accepted form of identification when driving a vehicle in the US is your DMV-issued driver’s license or a temporary license that you can use while you wait for your replacement license.

How long does it take to get a replacement driver’s license?

It usually takes between 2 to 4 weeks to get your replacement driver’s license.

How much does it cost to apply for a driver’s license replacement?

The costs for a replacement driver’s license vary from state to state, however they range from $15 to $30.

Can you replace the photo in your driver’s license?

If you’re applying for a replacement alone, you don’t need to take a new photo, however if you’re upgrading your document to a Real ID driver’s license then you must take a new photo.

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