Driver’s License Fees: Low, Medium, and High-Cost States

The cost of getting a driver’s license has become entwined with many different issues recently. It is relevant to discussions of allowing unauthorized immigrants to apply for licenses. It has come up in states that require people to show identification in order to vote and in discussions surrounding fees that are a barrier to getting a state-issued ID. And, some states have acted to reduce the burden for some groups by allowing free or reduced-cost licenses to homeless people, senior citizens, veterans, or people recently released from incarceration.

The fee charged for a driver’s license varies substantially from state to state. For instance, after adjusting for the number of years for which it is valid and other factors to make a fair comparison, we find that the cost of a license in the lowest-cost state, Wyoming, is less than one tenth of the costs in the highest-cost state, Vermont.

This report lays out the fees for a driver’s license and associated costs in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.