Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Arkansas
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Whether you're a teenager ready to start the Graduated Driver License Program, or an adult who's either never held a driver's license or needs to exchange an out-of-state license for an Arkansas license, you've come to the right place.
Arkansas offers the following types of licenses:
- Graduated Driver's Licenses, which include restricted instruction permits, learner's licenses, and intermediate licenses for drivers between the ages of 14 and 17.
- Class MD and Class M Licenses, which are restricted and unrestricted motorcycle licenses for drivers between the ages of 14 and 16 (MD) and 16 and older (M).
- Commercial Licenses (CDLs), which include Class A, B, and C licenses necessary for driving commercial vehicles.
- Class D Licenses, which are unrestricted regular driver's licenses for drivers 18 years old or older who are driving noncommercial vehicles, and are the licenses discussed here.
NOTE: If you are younger than 18, you must complete the Graduated Driver License Program and at this point should review our Teen Drivers section.
Arkansas doesn't require drivers of any age to complete a driver's education course; however, it's always wise to sharpen your skills. Please review Driver Education to learn about approved driver education programming in Arkansas.
In addition to taking a driver's education course, you can study the Arkansas Driver License Test Study Guide the Arkansas State Police provide online in both English and Spanish. You may also want to take a few practice tests to prepare for the real thing.
Arkansas relies on different offices to handle various driver's license transactions.
The Office of Driver Services (ODS) revenue office nearest you will help you begin the application process, while the Arkansas State Police and a variety of other locations act as testing sites and conduct the written and driving tests.
If you need a special-issued license, such as one issued without a photograph or a non-resident commercial license, you must visit an ODS driver's license issuance office.
Arkansas doesn't use driver's license applications, so that's one less thing you have to worry about bringing. However, you'll still need to be prepared to:
- Pay the fee of $20.
- Provide your Social Security number.
- Provide one proof of legal residency if you're new to Arkansas and two proofs of identity. (Arkansas provides lists of acceptable forms.)
- Pass a vision test with at least 20/40 uncorrected visual acuity.
- Have your picture taken for your license (unless you're applying for a license issued without a photograph).
Once you've studied the Arkansas Driver License Test Study Guide and possibly taken a driver education course, it's time to take your written test. Check for schedules and appointment requirements for the testing site nearest you.
Once You Pass
Once you take the written test, you must wait 30 days before you take the driving test.
If You Fail
If you fail the written test, you must wait 30 days before you can take it again.
Although your driver's training program will probably provide a car during classes, you need a vehicle while you're practicing for your driver's license and while you're testing for your driver's license.
Whether you're cruising in a parent's car or browsing the lots for a used car of your own, make sure the vehicle is in good working order (a vehicle history report can help with selecting quality used cars), has proper title and registration documentation, and is insured (see below) before you put it on the road.
Arkansas requires all vehicles to meet certain minimum insurance requirements. Our Insurance Center can help you make sure you meet the Arkansas insurance requirements as well as help you shop for the lowest car insurance rates.
While all new-to-Arkansas drivers have 30 days to exchange their out-of-state licenses for Arkansas license, and must present proofs of legal residency when they do so, not all must take the written, vision, and driving tests.
You don't have to take any of the tests if you already hold a valid driver's license from another state and can present that license at your revenue office in exchange for an Arkansas license (the license can't be expired for more than 31 days, suspended, or revoked).
However, you do have to take the tests if:
- Your license is expired for more than 31 days. (You must take written and vision tests.)
- Your license is expired for more than one year. (You must take the written, vision, and driving tests.)
- You already hold a driver's license from another state but can't present that license in exchange for an Arkansas license. (You must take the written and driving tests.)
Our Relocation Guide provides even more helpful information regarding licenses, vehicle registration, and auto insurance for new Arkansas residents.
All first-time drivers must take the driving test. Various locations, including many Arkansas State Police locations, conduct the driving (or "practical") tests, and they are by appointment only. Check for the testing site nearest you, and then call to schedule an appointment.
Once You Pass
Once you pass your driving test, you can head to your local revenue office to get your driver's license.
If You Fail
If you fail your driving test, you must wait 30 days before you can try again.
After you pass your driving test, you can head to your nearest revenue office to have your driver's license made. There's no waiting period or temporary license to use; the revenue office will create your license immediately.
Your valid foreign driver's license is legal for six months in Arkansas. After the six-month grace period, or after a 30-day grace period if you establish residency, you will need to apply for an Arkansas license.
It's also a good idea, in the interim, to get an International Driver's Permit from your home country. This permit translates your foreign license into a format that U.S. officials can better process.
How to Apply as a Non-Citizen
- Gather up either two primary forms of identification, or one primary form and one secondary form, from the list of acceptable forms as well as the fee of $20.
- Head to your nearest revenue office and/or testing site (depending on whether or not your foreign license is valid).
- Wait while the revenue office creates your Arkansas license.
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We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.