Drivers Permits in Arkansas
Getting Your Arkansas Driver's Permit
Did you know that car crashes are the leading cause of death among American teens? It's true; according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, driving accidents account for teens 16 to 19 years old are 3 times higher than for those over 20 years old.
In an effort to reduce this toll, Arkansas has initiated a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program in which all teens under 18 years old must achieve certain age- and experience-related milestones prior to getting their driver's license.
Your first step on your path to your Arkansas driver's license is to obtain your learner's permit.
If necessary, you can contact the Office of Motor Vehicle (OMV) at (501) 682-7059.
REAL IDs in Arkansas
The Arkansas DFA now issues both federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses as well as non-compliant licenses. A REAL ID license allows you to use your license as approved identification for activities such as boarding an airplane or entry into federal and military buildings. After October 1, 2020, ONLY the federally-approved license will be accepted for such activities.
You can choose to apply for a REAL ID or a non-compliant ID—details are outlined below.
Arkansas Learner's Permit Requirements & Exemptions
In Arkansas, there are different stages in the learner's permit and licensing process, all of which are based upon your age:
- 14 years old: Eligible for learner's permit.
- 16 years old: Eligible for provisional license.
- 18 years old: Eligible for unrestricted driver's license.
These restrictions do not apply if you are at least 16 years old and you:
- Are married and considered “head of household."
- Have earned a high school diploma or a GED.
- Are an active duty member of the U.S. military.
At the time of this writing, a Driver's Education course is not required as part of the Arkansas GDL. However, a Driver's Ed course is an invaluable way to help you become a smarter, safer, and more confident driver. For more information about Arkansas driver's education, please refer to our Driver's Ed in Arkansas page.
New to Arkansas?
Unfortunately, if you're new to Arkansas and you have a learner's permit from your previous state, your out-of-state learner's permit will not transfer. In order to get your Arkansas learner's permit, you'll need to complete the steps below.
Apply for an Arkansas Learner's Permit
All new drivers in Arkansas, regardless of age, must acquire a learner's permit prior to getting their first driver's license in the state. The only exceptions are drivers who have a valid license (not permit!) from another state that you can transfer into Arkansas.
To get your driver's permit in the state of Arkansas, you must be at least 14 years old. Testing is administered by the Arkansas State Police (ASP); you will need to visit an ASP testing site and provide the required documents mentioned below.
- A completed Application for Driver's License/Learner's Permit. Applications will be provided at the ASP testing site.
- Proof of your identity:
- If you're under 18 years old, this must be your birth certificate.
- If you're an adult applicant, this will depend on whether you want a REAL ID license or a non-compliant license:
- For a REAL ID, you'll need:
- 1 document proving your legal presence.
- 1 document proving your Social Security number.
- 1 document proving your identity from the secondary list.
- 2 documents proving your Arkansas residency.
- The DFA provides a complete guide to the documents you can bring as proof.
- For a non-compliant license, you can bring:
- 2 documents from the primary identity list; OR
- 1 document from the primary list and 1 document from the secondary list.
- Check out the DFA's guide to eligible documents for help.
- For a REAL ID, you'll need:
If you're under 18 years old, you'll also need to bring your parent or guardian to sign your forms and provide proof of enrollment in school with at least a 2.0 GPA. You can obtain your proof of enrollment and GPA from your school, your school district office or the state Education Department.
In addition to passing the written permit test (see “Taking the Arkansas Permit Test" below), you'll need to pass a vision exam and pay the necessary fee. Contact the ASP testing site for information on specific fees.NOTE: Generally, drivers don’t keep their learner’s permits for long; however, if you want an Enhanced Security Learner’s License, you also must provide 2 documents proving your residency. Arkansas provides a list of acceptable proofs. Bring these proofs to an Enhanced Security DL/ID Office.
Taking the Arkansas Permit Test
Once you have all the required documents in hand, it's time to head to an Arkansas State Police testing site to take your written test. It's always a good idea to make an appointment.
The written permit test will be comprised of written questions about Arkansas road signs, traffic laws, and rules of safe driving that can be found in the Arkansas Driver's License Study Guide.
Pass The Written Test On Your First Try
If you want to avoid the embarrassment of failing the written exam, we suggest studying with a comprehensive online practice test. Our certified partner has developed these tests for your success.
Arkansas Learner's Permit Driving Restrictions
With your learner's permit in hand, you can now drive, but there are a few restrictions:
- You must be accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years old or older.
- All passengers must always wear seat belts.
- You are not allowed to use a cellular telephone or wireless communication device while driving except to report an emergency.
Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements
Currently Arkansas does not have any behind-the-wheel supervised driving requirements. Most states require between 30 and 40 hours, with at least 10 hours at night. Though not currently required, it's highly recommended that you complete these hours either with your supervising driver or with at a commercial driving school.
Replacing Your Arkansas Learner's Permit
If your learner's permit is lost or stolen, you can get a new one by bringing the documents mentioned above to any State Revenue Office. You will also have to pay a $10 replacement fee. For more information, please refer to our Replacing a Lost License page.
Your Next Step: Getting Your License
Your next step in the Arkansas GDL process is to get either your provisional or full driver's license, depending on whether you're a teen in the graduated licensing system or an adult first-time applicant. But first, you must hold your Arkansas learner's permit for a minimum of 6 months without any traffic violations or accidents before you're eligible to apply.