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  • Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in South Dakota

    Compare Car Insurance Quotes in 3 Steps

    1. Enter Your Zip:

    1) Choose Your License

    • Operator's License (Class 1, 2)
    • Motorcycles Motorcycle Operator's License (Class 2, 3)
    • Commercial License (Class A, B, and C)

    NOTE: If you are a teen driver, please visit our applying for a new license for teens section.

    2) Take a Driver's Education Course

    Give thought to taking a driver ed course if this is your first try at a license. Though not mandatory, taking a supplemental driver ed course, such as the one offered by our sponsor, will go a long way in preparing you for the required licensing tests.

    3) Prepare for the Test

    Studying South Dakota's Driver License Manual will give you your best chance of passing the written exam. All questions are based on material found in the manual. After studying, gauge your driving law expertise by taking practice tests.

    4) Locate a DMV Office

    Tests are given on a walk-in basis at any Driver Exam station.

    5) Make Test-Day Preparations

    Be sure to bring:

    • One identity document. This may include:
      • ―Certified U.S. birth certificate issued by state or county (hospital birth certificates not accepted)
      • ―Valid, unexpired passport
      • ―Certificate of Citizenship
      • ―Certificate of Naturalization
      • ―Valid, unexpired permanent resident card
      • ―Valid, unexpired employment authorization document
      • ―Foreign passport with valid, unexpired U.S. Visa with I-94
    • Proof of your Social Security number. Acceptable proof includes:
      • ―Social Security card
      • ― Tax forms.
      • ―A pay stub with your name and Social Security number
    • Two documents proving your current residential address. Acceptable documents include:
      • ―Credit card statement
      • ―Rent receipt
      • ―Utility bill
      • ―Mortgage document
      • ―Tax document
      • ―Bank statement
      • ―Phone bill
      • ―Pay stub
      • ―Transcript or report card from a recognized school
      • ―Homeowners or renters insurance policy
    • Proper payment.

    6) Take the Written Test

    After studying South Dakota's Driver License Manual, possibly enrolling in a driver education class, and organizing all the needed requirements described above, you'll visit a Driver Exam station to take the test.

    Before or after the test you'll also be asked to take a vision exam.

    7) Get a Car

    Eventually, you'll need a car to take South Dakota's road test. Owning a car will allow you to practice on your own, outside of a possible driver training program, and provide needed behind-the-wheel experience.

    Consider a used car that fits needs and budget, rather than image. Before deciding, be sure to get a vehicle history report. This could protect you from any hidden problems that could drain your wallet down the road.

    8) Get Car Insurance

    Car insurance, regardless of driving status, is mandatory. You can review and compare rates at our Insurance Center.

    9) Take the Driving Test

    If you recently established residency in South Dakota, you DO NOT have to take a road exam if you hold a valid license from your former state.

    Most tests are given on a walk-in basis. Some driver exam stations, however, do require an appointment.

    Bring to the test:

    • Your beginners permit (if applicable).
    • A car that's registered, insured and in good working condition.
    • Payment for fees.

    10) Receive Your License in the Mail

    Your permanent license should arrive in the mail.

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