Getting a driver’s license in the state of Arkansas is fairly straightforward, but requires a couple of steps that must be completed correctly. Compared to other states, Arkansas imposes a bit less stringent measures on student drivers looking to gain their licenses.
Do I Need an Arkansas Driver’s License or ID?
Anyone who operates a motor vehicle on public roads in Arkansas is required to have a valid state driver’s license. If you just moved to the area, you must obtain a license:
- Within 30 days of becoming a resident
- If you are a non-resident residing in Arkansas for over six months
Arkansas Driver’s License Requirements
Driver’s license requirements will vary depending on your age. However, the state does not require any new drivers to complete driver’s education, or complete supervised driving after passing the written exam.
Despite this, we strongly suggest you consider these options to further assist your knowledge of driving and preparation for the road exam. This will allow you to gain comfort and familiarity behind the road. The more time you spend practicing before the driving test, the better!
Before you apply for a license, you need to check to make sure you have the following requirements:
- If you are under 21, you need to work through the graduated driver’s license program (GDL) based on your age before you qualify.
- If you are under 18, you must submit proof that you graduated or are currently attending school.
- If you are under 18, you must submit proof of parental consent. Your parents or guardians must also agree to financial responsibility for your driving.
- You must be able to submit proof of name, birthdate, and residency
- First-time applicants must start with a learner’s permit, then progress to your age-specific tier in the Graduated Driver’s Licence Program.
- You must pass a vision, written, and skills test
- You must complete the requirements for your permit.
- You must be in the US legally
- You must not have any suspensions or license revocation on your record for at least a year.
- You may not have any pending judgments on traffic violations on your record
What is the Graduated Driver’s License Program?
The Graduated Driver’s License program, or GDL, was developed in 2001 for younger drivers to gain more experience driving before they receive an unrestricted license. Driver’s education is not mandatory in the GDL program, but it provides essential information that will help you pass your written and driving skills tests the first time.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Driver’s License in Arkansas?
Teens are eligible to apply for driver’s licenses as young as 14. However, younger student drivers are subject to a couple of additional requirements when compared to their older counterparts.
Arkansas has four license stages based on your age.
#1 – Arkansas Instruction Permit
When applying for a license for the first time at the age of 14 or 15, you will be required to first obtain and hold an instruction permit. You will receive it after passing your written test and it will be valid for one year from the year of issuance and cannot be renewed. After 30 days, you will be allowed to take the road test in order to receive your learner’s license.
If you’re first applying for a license over the age of 15, move on to the next step.
Test your knowledge for your test with our awesome practice tests.
#2 – Learner’s License (Ages 14-16)
The Arkansas learner’s license works similarly to the permit, but it indicates the driver passed a driving skills test and drove for at least six months without a traffic incident. The driver must still drive supervised by an instructor or licensed adult over the age of 21. They are also prohibited from all communication devices while driving, including hands-free devices.
If you have a Learner’s License, you can automatically apply once you turn 16. Otherwise, you need to be at least 16 AND complete your six months with a permit. In addition, you can not have a major driving violation or fault for an accident on your record to graduate to this stage.
With an intermediate license, you will have a set time period that you need to continue driving with a licensed adult age 21 or older. The date you can start driving unsupervised will be on the back of your license. Afterward, you can drive unsupervised with the following restrictions:
- You may not have more than one non-relative under the age of 18 in the vehicle when you drive unsupervised.
- You can not drive unsupervised between the hours of 11 pm and 4 am except for religious activity, a school event, your job, or an emergency. You will need to provide proof that you need to travel during these hours if you are pulled over.
- Use of a cellphone is still prohibited while driving except in an emergency.
Will You Need an Intermediate License If You’re Over 18?
If you’re over 18 applying for your Arkansas driver’s license, you will receive an intermediate license as well. However, applicants over 18 will only be required to hold the intermediate license for 30 days before becoming eligible to sit for the road exam.
#4 – Class D Driver’s License (Ages 18+)
To apply for your unrestricted driver’s license, you must complete your permit driving time, pass a written and skill test, and go at least 12 months with no major violations on your driving record.
If you have an Intermediate License, you will be able to turn it in as proof of taking your written and skills test. Otherwise, you will need to complete your tests during the application process.
Already have a license? Read our guide on license renewal!
The Steps to Your Arkansas Driver’s License (For Minors)
- Collect Your Paperwork. You will need the following to apply for your driver’s license:
- Your Birth Certificate. It MUST be original and follow all the criteria on the 1-2-3 Checklist. If you are adopted, you may also need to bring the corresponding adoption papers.
- Permission Form (if you are under 18). If your parent or guardian can not come in person, you will need them to sign a form in front of a notary stating you have permission to drive and they will take financial responsibility in the event of an accident or traffic violation. Otherwise, they will turn in this form when they arrive with you.
- Secondary Identification. You will need to bring a second form of identification. You can bring at least one of the items below or check the 1-2-3 Checklist for more options.
- Your Permit. You must complete six months of supervised driving without a major driving violation or fault for an accident before you can apply for your license. You will surrender your permit after you pass the exams.
- Arkansas State Id
- A Work or School Id
- Vehicle Registration in your name
- IRS/Tax Forms or W-2 Form
- Find a Testing Location. You can find your nearest testing center and hours of operation by clicking your county on the map provided on this page, or by emailing email@example.com
- Take Your Exams. Unless you are graduating from one license to the next, you will need to take three exams:
- The Vision Test. If you wear corrective lenses or contacts, make sure to bring them for the exam. You must show you have 20/20 vision either with or without corrective lenses to progress.
- The Written Exam. The test consists of 25 questions, and you have to get 20 questions right to pass. It will cover everything you learn in the Illinois Driver’s Study Guide.
Roughly 49% of people fail their written exam the first time, so studying is essential to save you time and extra trips. We recommend using Zutobi to improve your chances and pass on the first try! You can try our free Arkansas practice test here.
- The Skills Test (Road Test). The Skills Test is a three-phase exam, and you must bring your own vehicle. You must bring your permit, a licensed driver to take you to and from the testing site, and proof of insurance and registration for the vehicle as well.
First is the vehicle inspection to make sure it is safe to drive. If the vehicle is deemed unsafe, you will have to reschedule your test after the issues are resolved.
Second, you will demonstrate knowledge of the location and use of the parts of the vehicle like brakes, mirrors, blinkers, and emergency lights.
Finally, you will take a 10-20 minute drive with your examiner to demonstrate your knowledge of driver safety, state laws, and common driving maneuvers like parallel parking, backing up, and merging with traffic.
- Pay Your Fees. You will pay up to $40 for your licensing and road test fees (at the time of writing). You can find the full list of Arkansas driver’s license durations and fees here.
Once you complete all these steps, you are ready to get on the road! Your Arkansas Driver’s License will either be printed on-site or you will receive a temporary paper version until your license arrives in the mail at your provided address.