Arkansas Driver's License: A Step-by-Step 2018 Guide

Learn what to expect and how to get behind the wheel faster.
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On this page: Types of licenses How to apply Knowledge test Road test Replace or renew New residents

How Does It Work?

Are you an Arkansas driver or want to become one? This guide offers you simple instructions how to get, renew and transfer your license and save a lot of time on the way.

Get an instruction permit

Allows you to practice driving under supervision.

Get an intermediate license

Allows you to drive unsupervised with restrictions.

Get a Full (Adult) License

Allows you to drive with no restrictions.

Types of Driver's Licenses in Arkansas

For each license type there's a corresponding type of instruction permit
Arkansas Class D Driver's License
Class D
This is the usual kind of driver’s license. It allows you to drive non-commercial vehicles. Minimum age 14 restricted / 16 unrestricted. Read the AR Driver License Study Guide or take a free AR practice test.
Arkansas Class A/B/C Driver's License
Class A/B/C (commercial)
Class A allows you to operate any combination of vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, provided that the GVWR of the vehicles being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. Class B is for any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more and towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds. Class C is for any vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,001 and towing a vehicle with a GVWR not in excess of 10,000 pounds, transporting 16 passengers or more, including driver or hazardous materials. Read the AR CDL Manual or take a free AR CDL practice test.
Arkansas Class M/MD Driver's License
M/MD
Class M allows you to operate any motorcycle with displaces more than 250 cc's. Minimum age 16. While Class MD allows you to drive any motor driven cycle, excluding motorized bicycles, which displaces 250 cc's or less. Minimum age 14. Read the AR Motorcycle Operator Manual or take a free AR motorcycle practice test.

How to Apply for Your Class D Driver’s License

To apply for your class D driver’s license, you must pass a knowledge, vision and road test. This is your complete plan of action depending on your age.
Apply for Learner's License I’m between 14 and 16
(First Timer)
Apply for Instruction Permit and Learner License
How to Start

How to Apply for Your Instruction Permit and Learner License

Arkansas Graduated Driver License law distinguishes between an instruction permit and a learner license. Every aspiring driver must first hold an instruction permit to apply for a driver's license, it allows you to get driving experience, supervised by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age. The learner's license is for a driver who is 14 or 15 years old and who already holds an instruction permit. Go to Step 1 if you don't have an instruction permit. Go to Step 8 if you already have an instruction permit.

1VISIT YOUR STATE POLICE TESTING SITE TO TAKE THE WRITTEN TEST

You can find your local State Police testing site and its testing times with the help of this map and list of testing sites. Testing schedules may change unexpectedly. It is recommended you call before making a trip.

2HAVE THE FOLLOWING 3 ITEMS WITH YOU

  • Original or Certified Copy of your Birth Certificate.
  • Signature of Parent or Legal Guardian (parent must be present with a State Driver's License or State ID).
  • School Attendance or Notice of Intent to Home School Form or GED or High School Diploma (no online diplomas accepted). You should bring proof of grade point average of at least 2.0.

Check this list before you go.

3PASS A VISION TEST

You should have a minimal uncorrected visual acuity of 20/40 for an unrestricted license, and a minimal corrected visual acuity of 20/70 for a restricted license. If you have prescribed eyeglasses or contact lens, you should wear them during the test.

4PASS A WRITTEN KNOWLEDGE EXAM

You will be assigned to a testing kiosk, where the test questions will appear on a computer screen. Take free practice tests before you go. If you fail the test, you may return in 5 calendar days for retesting.

5APPLY AT YOUR LOCAL DFA REVENUE OFFICE

6HAVE YOUR PICTURE TAKEN

7PAY A 40$ PERMIT FEE

Pay by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover), cash, or check payable to the Department of Finance and Administration. If you pay by credit card, you must pay an additional $2 fee.

8RECEIVE YOUR INSTRUCTION PERMIT

The instruction permit is valid for one year from the date of issuance and will not be renewed.

9PRACTISE SUPERVISED DRIVING

You should wait at least 30 days to take the road test after receiving your permit, so use this time for practice.

10PASS A ROAD TEST

Visit an Arkansas State Police testing site again for the road test. Testing schedules may change unexpectedly, so call before you go.

What to bring:

  • all the items from Step 2 above
  • your parent or guardian for written consent
  • a vehicle with registration and insurance (paper or electronic)
  • a driver who is 21 years of age or older and has a valid driver's license

11GET YOUR LEARNER LICENSE

You should submit you stamped permit to the DFA Revenue Office and get your license there.

12PRACTISE SUPERVISED DRIVING

You will continue driving with a licensed driver 21 years of age till your 16th birthday, but no less than 6 months.

If you absolutely must drive unsupervised to or from school, work, or for medical reasons, your parent or guardian can apply to your local Driver Control Office for a hardship waiver for you. You cannot apply for the waiver yourself. Your parent or guardian must provide a statement from your school, employer, or physician and an adult outside of your family, stating that you are mature enough to drive unsupervised.

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How to Apply for your Intermediate Driver’s License

For the first six months after you obtain your intermediate license (if it’s your first licensure) or until you turn 18, whichever comes first, you must drive supervised by a licensed adult 21 years of age or older. After that, you can drive unsupervised but with some restrictions:

  • No more than one passenger under the age of 18, unless they are your siblings or live in the same household as you do or there is an adult in the front seat.
  • No driving between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. unless accompanied by an adult, or driving to or from work, school, or church.
  • No use of cell phones or other wireless communication devices (whether hand-held or hands-free).
  1. HOLD YOUR LEARNER'S LICENSE FOR AT LEAST 6 MONTHS

    Note that you mustn't have any serious accidents or serious traffic convictions during this time.

  2. APPLY IN PERSON

    Visit your local DFA Revenue Office.

  3. PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION
    • Learner's license
    • Social Security Number verification ( card) or sign an affidavit that you do not have it
    • Proof of your identity
    • Proof of your date of birth
    • Legal proof of your change of name, if your name differs from that shown on your birth certificate
    • Proof of your legal presence in the US

    Choose a Primary and a Secondary document or 2 Primary documents  from this list.

  4. HAVE YOUR PICTURE TAKEN

    See top 7 tips for an excellent driver's license photo.

  5. PAY A 40$ LICENSE FEE

    You may pay by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover), cash, or check payable to the Department of Finance and Administration. If you pay by credit card, you must pay an additional $2 fee.

Once you turn 18, if you have not had any serious accidents or serious traffic convictions in the prior twelve months, you will be eligible to upgrade your intermediate license to a full class D driver's license.

If you are currently married, a high school graduate, a recipient of a GED, or serving in the military, you can skip the intermediate license step and apply for your full (adult) license instead.

How to Apply for Your Full (Adult) Driver’s License

Over 18 and never held any type of license? Start with Step 1.

An instruction permit holder? Start with Step 7.

An intermediate license holder? Start with Step 9. Note that you can upgrade your intermediate license to a regular one only if have not had any serious accidents or serious traffic convictions in the prior twelve months.

A foreign license holder (except Manitoba Canada, Germany, France, Taiwan, and South Korea)? Start with Step 1.

1VISIT YOUR STATE POLICE TESTING SITE TO TAKE THE WRITTEN TEST

You can find your local State Police testing site and its testing times with the help of this map and list of testing sites. Testing schedules may change unexpectedly. It is recommended you call to verify test schedules before making an extended trip.

2BRING IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS

  • Social Security Number verification (card) or sign an affidavit that you do not have it.
  • Proof of your identity
  • Proof of your date of birth
  • Legal proof of your change of name, if your name differs from that shown on your birth certificate
  • Proof of your legal presence in the US

Choose a Primary and a Secondary document or 2 Primary documents from this list.

3PASS A VISION TEST

You should have a minimal uncorrected visual acuity of 20/40 for an unrestricted license, and a minimal corrected visual acuity of 20/70 for a restricted license. If you have prescribed eyeglasses or contact lens, you should wear them during the test.

4PASS A WRITTEN KNOWLEDGE EXAM

You will be assigned to a testing kiosk, where the test questions will appear on a computer screen. Take free practice tests before you go. If you fail the test, you may return in 5 calendar days for retesting.

5HAVE YOUR PICTURE TAKEN

6GET YOUR INSTRUCTION PERMIT

You can practice supervised driving now. Your permit is valid for one year and cannot be renewed, that is why the road test must be completed and a license purchased before the one year expiration. However, you must wait 30 calendar days (from the date of issue) before returning for the driving test.

7PASS A ROAD (SKILLS) TEST

Do it at your local State Police Testing Site. Testing schedules may change unexpectedly, so call before you go.

8BRING THE DOCUMENTATION AND THE VEHICLE

  • Documentation from Step 2
  • Your instruction permit
  • A properly licenses vehicle
  • Vehicle registration
  • Vehicle insurance (paper or electronic)
  • A driver who is 21 years of age or older and has a valid driver's license

9APPLY AT YOUR LOCAL DFA REVENUE OFFICE

Bring the identification documents from Step 2 of this guide and your stamped instruction permit or intermediate driver’s license. Surrender your foreign driver’s license if you have one.

10HAVE YOUR PICTURE TAKEN

11PAY A 40$ LICENSE FEE

You may pay by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover), cash, or check payable to the Department of Finance and Administration. If you pay by credit card, you must pay an additional $2 fee.

Arkansas Written Test

Written tests are administered by Arkansas State Police on a regular basis. Testing schedules may change unexpectedly, that is why it is highly recommended you call to verify test schedules before making an extended trip.
Take a free practice test
How to prepare for the test?
Study the AR License Study Guide as all questions are based on the information provided in the manual. Take free practice tests available here. When you feel comfortable with your score, you are ready!
What does the test include?
Upon arrival, you will be assigned to a testing kiosk, where multiple-choice questions appear on a computer screen. There are 25 questions on the Arkansas written test. You must answer 20 of them correctly.
Can I take an oral exam?
Yes, an oral exam is available at the same kiosk.
Can I use the study guide when I take the actual test?
Absolutely NOT! This is not an open book test. The purpose of the test is to make sure you understand and apply the rules of the road.
What common errors must I avoid when taking the AR written test?
The most common mistake comes from not knowing enough information out of the manual. This happens when people study solely with practice tests. Make sure you read the manual first. Another problem is rushing through questions. Take your time and remember what you have studied.
What if I fail?
You will be able to retake the test in five calendar days. Each new attempt will cost you $5.

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Skills (Road) Test

Step-by-Step Guide
What to expect during AR road test
Road Test FAQ

This exam is going to test your ability to locate vehicle controls and drive safely and accurately.

Road tests are administered by Arkansas State Police. Find a testing site near you and check its schedule. Note that road tests are not given in rain, fog, sleet, snow or when the roads are wet or slippery.

Before the test

Make sure you bring:

  • your original license permit
  • a licensed vehicle
  • current proof of car insurance (can be paper or electronic)
  • current vehicle registration.
  • licensed driver (21 or older) with a current driver's license

Your vehicle shouldn't have any serious mechanical defects and there mustn't be any warning lights displayed. The following features should be in good condition:

  • lights
  • horn
  • speedometer
  • tires
  • brakes
  • windshield (no cracks obstructing the view of the road)
  • windows (not heavily tinted)
  • muffler and exhaust system
  • reasonably clean interior
Starting the Vehicle

After inspecting your vehicle, the examiner will check if you are familiar with vehicle controls. Be prepared to show how the following features work or where they are located:

  • Turn Signals
  • Side/Rear View Mirrors
  • Emergency Flashers
  • Accelerator 3
  • Headlights (high & low beam)
  • Emergency Brake
  • Brake Lights/Foot Brake
  • Seat Belts
  • Windshield Wipers
  • Horn
  • Ignition Switch
  • Clutch (if applicable)
On the Road

    The examiner will check your ability to complete the following maneuvers safely:

    • Leaving the parking space without cutting across other spaces
    • Backing in a straight line without hitting or scraping a curb, constantly looking out
    • Controlled turns
    • Safe lane changes
    • Proper lane use
    • Obeying speed limits, stop signs and signals
    • Looking out for other vehicles and pedestrians
    • Adjusting to special driver situations such as construction and school zones

    You may fail the skills test if you violate the law or your driving practices create a hazard to you and other users of the streets or highways.

After the test

    The examiner will inform you whether you pass or fail. If you fail, you can retake the exam on a later date. Your examiner will let you know when you are eligible to take the test again. You should make sure you pass the test before the expiration date of your instruction permit, though.

How to Replace or Renew Your Driver License in Arkansas

  • You must renew your license in person at your local DFA Revenue Office.

    Plan of Action:

    1. Pay any unpaid traffic tickets or traffic fines in advance.
    2. Provide your license.
    3. Take a vision exam again if required.
    4. Pass a written knowledge test if your license expired more than 31 days ago. You will take this exam at an Arkansas State Police testing site.
    5. Pay a $40 renewal fee by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover), cash, or check payable to the Department of Finance and Administration. If you pay by credit card, you must pay an additional $2 fee.
  • Usually, you must renew in person at a DFA Revenue Office. However, if you are out of Arkansas on your license’s expiration date because of work, school, or military duty, you can renew your license by mail. You will need to call Driver’s License Issuance 501-682-7059 to see if you qualify for a by mail renewal.
  • Arkansas DFA Revenue Office doesn’t allow online renewals at this time.

New Residents: How to Get the Arkansas Driver's License

If you become a resident of Arkansas, you must obtain an Arkansas driver's license within the next 30 days. If you remain a nonresident but stay in Arkansas for 6 months, you must also obtain an Arkansas driver's license.
Out-of-state license Foreign license
Not sure if you are a resident of Arkansas?
Are you an Arkansas resident?

Arkansas considers you a resident if any of the following apply:

  • You remain in Arkansas for a period of more than 90 days.
  • You reside in Arkansas due to a change of abode.
  • You are domiciled in Arkansas on a temporary or permanent basis.

Note: Despite the above, you are not considered a resident if you are in Arkansas as a student.

I’ve Got a Valid Out-of-State License

Moving from another US state? Welcome to Arkansas
Moving from another state?

It is easy to exchange your valid out-of-state license in Arkansas. You do not have to take any tests if your license is current or expired less than 31 days ago. However, if it is expired over 31 days or you do not have the license to surrender, you will have to take the written and vision tests. If the out-of-state license is expired over one year, you will be required to take the written, vision, and road tests.

Transfer your valid out-of-state license at your local DFA Revenue Office.

Plan of Action
  1. Bring the documentation required:
    • Social Security Number verification (card) or sign an affidavit that you do not have it.
    • Proof of your identity
    • Proof of your date of birth
    • Legal proof of your change of name, if your name differs from that shown on your birth certificate
    • Proof of your legal presence in the US

    Choose a Primary and a Secondary document or 2 Primary documents from this list.

  2. Turn in your out-of-state license.
  3. Have your picture taken.
  4. Pay a 40$ licensing fee and a 5$ transfer fee. Pay by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover), cash, or check payable to the Department of Finance and Administration. If you pay by credit card, you must pay an additional $2 fee.
driver's license in Arkansas

You will be issued the type of Arkansas license that is appropriate for your age and status.

I've Got a Valid Foreign License

Moving from another country? Welcome to Arkansas!

The procedure for transferring your foreign license is similar to that for applying for a new Arkansas driver's license.

However, if you hold a valid (or expired less than 31days ago) driver's license from Manitoba Canada, Germany, France, Taiwan, and South Korea, you can transfer your license without taking any tests. The procedure is similar to transferring your out-of-state license.

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