Apply for a License (Drivers 18+) in South Dakota
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed driver licensing offices, extended license and registration expiration dates, and/or limited the transactions they are processing. If possible, residents should use the DOR's online services to complete any relevant transactions. Follow the DOR's most recent updates for the latest information.
Apply for a New South Dakota Driver's License
If you're an adult who is looking to get a South Dakota driver's license, you've come to the right place. Below you will find everything you need to know about the process, including all the documentation you'll need to provide.
If you need to apply for a commercial driver's license (CDL), see our Applying for a New CDL page.
REAL ID Requirements in South Dakota
The South Dakota DPS complies with the REAL ID Act of 2005, meaning it provides first-time driver license applicants with REAL ID-compliant driver licenses. REAL ID driver’s licenses meet the federal identification requirements required for tasks such as entering federal buildings and boarding domestic commercial flights. Without a REAL ID, you'll need to bring your passport or birth certificate for such activities after October 1, 2021.
New applicants will automatically receive a REAL ID. For more details, visit the DPS' guide to required REAL ID documents.
New South Dakota Residents
Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.
As part of the South Dakota residency requirements, you have 90 days to transfer your out-of-state driver's license to South Dakota once you move to the state.
To apply, visit your local SD Department of Public Safety (DPS) office with your out-of-state driver's license and payment for the $28 fee.
You may also need to bring additional documents proving your identity. For more information, contact the South Dakota DPS directly.
While at the DPS office, you will be given a routine vision test. If you pass the test and all documents have been approved, you will be issued a South Dakota driver's license that will remain valid for 5 years.
Types of South Dakota Driver's Licenses
In South Dakota, you can apply for different types of driver's licenses depending on the type of vehicle you wish to drive:
- Full unrestricted driver's license. (Keep reading below.)
- Restricted learner's permit (for teens).
- Motorcycle license.
- Commercial driver's license.
You may also want to visit our Special Vehicles in South Dakota page if you plan on operating non-standard vehicles, such as off-road vehicles and motorhomes.
You will need to specify the class of driver's license you wish to apply for:
- Class 1: Car, light truck, and moped.
- Class 2: Car, light truck, and motorcycle.
- Class 3: Motorcycle.
Apply for a South Dakota Driver's License
To apply for a driver's license in South Dakota, visit your local DPS office in person with:
- Proof of your identity, date of birth, and lawful status (e.g. certified birth certificate, citizenship certificate, or valid passport).
- Proof of your Social Security number (e.g. Social Security card, W-2 form, or pay stub).
- 2 documents proving your SD residential address (e.g. utility bill, pay stub, or bank statement).
- Proof of your name change, if applicable.
- Payment for the $28 fee.
A full list of accepted documents can be found on the SD DPS website.
You will also need to have your photo taken and pass the following tests:
- Vision test.
- Written knowledge test.
- Driving skills test.
The DPS says it's a good idea to review the South Dakota Driver License Manual before you take your tests. To give yourself an even better chance of passing, we recommend using an online practice test that's offered by our approved partner.
The South Dakota DPS will give you 3 attempts (within 6 months) to pass the written and driving tests for each application you make. For more information, visit the SD DPS website.
Once you have your SD driver's license, you may want to visit some of our other related pages for more information:
- Renewing Your Driver's License in South Dakota
- Replacing a Lost License in South Dakota
- Driving Records
- DMV Point System
NOTE: If you're an active-duty military member, visit our Drivers in the Military in South Dakota page for some additional useful information.