Skip to content
Back to Top

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Central Issuance?

Why did DMV change the way it issues licenses?

DMV made this change to protect the identities of Alaskans. The newly designed card will include numerous security features to protect your identity and reduce fraud. The new card design and central issuance process is part of a nationwide effort to make it harder for criminals to obtain your identity. The central issuance process is a safer and more secure way to handle one of the most important documents a person possesses.

What does “central issuance” mean?

Central Issuance means your driver license or ID will be printed and mailed from a secure centralized facility in the U.S., Fort Wayne, Indiana, to be exact. You will no longer receive your permanent license or ID over the counter. Instead, you will be issued a temporary card, and DMV will mail a permanent hard card to your address of record in about two weeks.

How does the temporary card work?

The temporary card functions the same as your current hard card. The temporary documents contain a photo and all of the information contained on your current card, including the readable barcode. It will be valid for 60 days, until your new hard card arrives by mail. You will be able to keep your current driver license to use for photo identification until you receive your new license in the mail. Temporary cards are only issued over the counter and not available for online renewals.

Do I have to get a new license right away?

No. Your current license or ID is valid until it expires. Upon renewal you will be issued a new card.

Is it safe to mail my driver’s license, permit, or identification card?

Yes. It is safe to mail your card. The process used is similar to that used by the financial services industry to mail credit and debit cards. You will even be able to track the status of your license when your temporary credential is issued.

Does central issuance affect both driver licenses and identification cards?

Yes. All driver licenses, permits, and identification cards issued by the DMV will be centrally issued and mailed to your address of record.

Do other states use this new procedure?

Yes. Approximately 26 states (and counting) have moved to a central issuance process. Central issuance is part of a nationwide effort to reduce fraud and is a best practice within the motor vehicle community.

Can my card be expedited?

No. All cards will be mailed in the same manner. There is no express method available.

What happens if I need to get a card on the same day?

DMV will be unable to issue a permanent card on the same day. However, your temporary card functions the same as your current card and is valid for 60 days until your permanent card arrives in the mail.

Can I arrange to pick up my driver license, learner permit, or identification card at DMV?

No. As a measure of fraud prevention all cards must be mailed to the address of record.

How long will it take for my new driver license or identification card to arrive in the mail?

Your new card should arrive in approximately two weeks. However, your temporary card is valid for 60 days. You can find out where in the process you permanent card is by using the DMV's online service

What happens if I don’t receive my driver license or identification card?

Your card should arrive in approximately two weeks. But, if it does not, you can track your card by accessing the link on your temporary card. You may also call DMV at 907-269-5559.

Will my current license or identification card still be valid?

Yes. Your current driver license or identification card is valid until the expiration date indicated on the card.

Can I live at one location and have my license mailed elsewhere?

Yes. The DMV will mail the license to the address on record with DMV. There are times when your residence address is different than your mailing address.

Will my new license or ID be recognized by businesses, banks, other states, law enforcement, etc.?

A temporary license is valid for driving. Your temporary license, identification card or state employee identification card may not be accepted as a form of identification for boarding planes, gaining entry to federal buildings, military bases or financial transactions.

I changed my address before my permanent card arrived. Will the post office forward it?


Will the driver license and identification card renew by mail option still be available?

Yes. If you renew your card online, then you will be mailed a temporary license or identification card that is valid for 60 days. This process is similar to DMV's current process. If you renew your license or identification card online, then your permanent card will be mailed to you, and you should receive it in approximately two weeks.

Does Alaska use facial recognition software?

Yes. DMV uses limited facial recognition software to compare your new photograph against your old photograph, to ensure you do not have multiple licenses and to ensure no one else is claiming to be you.

Is my information being sent to a national database?

No. Your information is not sent to a national database; it is kept and retained in DMV’s database in Alaska. Your data is transmitted nightly in a secure encrypted form. Once your license/ID is issued it is stored by the vendor for 30 days (in case re-prints are required), then the entire record is deleted.

Why can’t an Alaska company make our licenses?

No Alaska company bid to centrally issue Alaska’s licenses and IDs. None have met the security standards set forth by the motor vehicle industry and North American Security Products Organization (NASPO).

Is this part of national movement toward REAL ID?

Central issuance is a benchmark of the REAL ID Act and a best practice of the motor vehicle industry. However, the Alaska State Legislature has prohibited funds be spent solely to comply with the REAL ID Act.

Address Questions

I renewed my driver license and gave you my new address, but I did not receive a renewal notice for my vehicle. Why?

All of our records are separate. Changing your address on your driver license does not change the address on your vehicle record(s). Changing your address on your vehicle record does not change your address on other vehicles or on your driver license. Address Change

Vehicle Questions

When must studded tires be removed?

It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with studded tires on a paved highway or road from May 1st through September 15th, inclusive, north of 60 North Latitude and from April 15th through September 30th, inclusive, south of 60 North Latitude, except that at any latitude on a paved portion of the Sterling Highway a person may not operate a motor vehicle with studded tires from May 1st through September 15th, inclusive.

I am planning a trip to Alaska or moving to Alaska. When must I obtain an Alaska vehicle registration?

You may drive a vehicle that is currently registered in another state for up to 60 days in Alaska. After that time, you must obtain an Alaska registration. If you obtain employment in Alaska, you must obtain an Alaska registration within 10 days. (If you are active duty military and maintain registration in your home of record or attending a college or university as a full-time student, you are not required to obtain Alaska registration.)

My child is doing a report on Alaska and would like a license plate to show with the report. Can you send a license plate?

DMV is unable to sell standard issue license plates that are new or previously used. You may obtain a SAMPLE plate which is specially made as a souvenir.

I have traveled outside of Alaska and purchased a vehicle. How do I obtain license plates or a permit to drive my vehicle back to Alaska?

Please see the following, paying extra attention to: Additional Information Click on the following if applicable: Active Duty Military or College Student

I renewed over the Internet and have not received my registration and tab, and it has been over two weeks. What do I need to do?

Send a message over our web site. Include your license plate number and current mailing and residence address. We will check and let you know what to do to obtain the registration and tab.

Are there any discounts on registration fees for senior citizens?

Yes. Please see the following: Senior Exemption

I am in the military and am stationed outside of Alaska. I am an Alaska resident and need to renew my registration as quickly as possible. What do I do?

Update your address using our Address Change system on our home page. Once you have updated the address, you may renew your registration. If you are unable to update your address with this system, send a message from our home page (E-mail ALASKA DMV) with your license plate number(s), current mailing and residence (physical) address and your name and date of birth. Your address will be updated and instructions for renewal will be forwarded to you.

I have moved and did not receive a renewal notice for my vehicle. What do I need to do to renew?

Update your address using our Address Change system on our home page. Once you have updated the address, you may renew your registration. If you still have trouble, please see: Renewal Options

I have traveled outside of Alaska due to vacation, military orders or to attend college and I need to renew my registration on my vehicle. What are the procedures?

Renewal from Outside of Alaska

I just bought a new vehicle and want to transfer my license plates to the new vehicle. How do I do this?

Only Special Issue plates can be transferred. See Transfer of Plates for more information.

Can I receive a refund on registration fees that were not used because I registered my vehicle in another state or my vehicle was destroyed in a crash?

The State of Alaska does not issue refunds on partial registration. A refund can only be issued if you have acceptable written proof showing that the vehicle was registered in another state / destroyed prior to the start of the registration period. Please note that for destroyed vehicles, some insurance companies will reimburse you for unused registration fees, depending on your insurance policy.

Driver License Questions

I am moving to Alaska or am on vacation in Alaska, must I obtain an Alaska driver license?

You are welcome to drive in Alaska for up to 90 days with a valid out of state license. You would need to obtain an Alaska license at that time. For Commercial driver licenses, you must obtain an Alaska CDL within 30 days of becoming a resident.

I have moved from Alaska and need a copy of my driving record to obtain employment or to obtain a driver license in another state. Can you send a copy?

Driving Records

Are there any discounts for Senior Citizens?

You may obtain a State Identification card at no fee provided you are at least 60 years old. Also check out our Senior Vehicle Registration Exemption.

My driver license will expire while I am on vacation. How early am I allowed to renew?

You can renew up to 1 year minus one day prior to expiration. For example, if your birthday is February 14th and your license expires in 2007, you may renew on February 15th, 2006.

General Questions

What forms of payment does DMV take?

DMV accepts Visa or Mastercard, personalized checks or money orders made out to the State of Alaska or Division of Motor Vehicles.

Should I be concerned about my elder's driving?

To some extent, driving improves with age. Mature drivers are typically more experienced and cautious.

However, studies show that vision, hearing, reflexes, and cognitive abilities may deteriorate with age, and the proportion of people over age 75 who drive and are in accidents is comparable to younger drivers.

In addition, older drivers are more susceptible to injury. What a younger driver might consider a minor accident could result in an elder person's injury or death.

More information about Senior Drivers

How do I talk to my elders about driving?

Studies show that senior drivers give the least credibility to family members who criticize their driving. These drivers show much more willingness to suggestions from law enforcement officers, doctors, and friends.

If you find yourself in the position of talking to an older family member or friend about their driving, approach the issue with sensitivity. A driver’s license signifies more than the ability to drive a car; it is a symbol of freedom and self-sufficiency.

Some older drivers may be aware of their faltering ability, but still be reluctant to give up driving completely. Another person’s concerns may force the senior driver to act. They may even feel relieved to have someone else help make the decision to stop driving.

Some seniors may forget that they aren’t supposed to drive. If that is the case, it is even more important to remove the car or the keys to make it impossible to drive.

More information about Senior Drivers