How to Get Your Arkansas Driver’s License: Step-by-Step
The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration and Office of Motor Vehicle oversees the state’s graduated licensing program. This program helps first-time drivers learn driving basics through testing, behind-the-wheel practice, and real-world experience under the supervision of a licensed adult.
Arkansas’s GDL program begins at 14 years old with driver’s education.
At 14, the teen can apply for their learner’s permit. By 16 years old, teens can get a provisional license which eventually becomes an unrestricted (adult) license when they turn 18 years old.
Adults (18+) wanting to apply for their AR driver’s license can partake in this GDL program. Else, adults can take a series of tests (the same as the GDL program) back-to-back, along with real-world experience.
This guide shares how you’ll get a license in Arkansas starting from a learner’s permit. The guide then covers what’s required if you’re getting a license as an adult or coming from out-of-state.
You will visit an AR DMV throughout each of licensing applications.
Getting a Learner’s Permit in Arkansas
Let’s begin with the requirements of applying for a learner’s permit:
The GDL program becomes available at age 14 and to residents of the state. Teens 16 and married (head of household) and have their HS diploma or GED, or an activity duty military member bypass these restrictions. Teens from out-of-state will need to partake in the GDL as their permit does not transfer.
A driver’s education course is not a requirement in the graduated licensing program. Yet, driver’s ed program provides behind-the-wheel experience and knowledge first-timer drivers can use when applying for their permits and license. These courses are available locally or found through our current listing of Arkansas driver’s ed programs.
Teen drivers (under 18) are expected to attend school when going through the licensing program. They must also hold a 2.0 GPA throughout their time in school and holding the permits.
A parent or guardian may accompany you to a local DMV when processing your learner’s permit. Else, they will sign the financial responsibility section on the application.
Applying for Your Learner’s Permit
Teens, 14 years old, can apply for their Arkansas learner’s permit by doing the following:
- Visit a local Arkansas State Police department/testing site
- File the Application for Driver’s License/Learner’s Permit application
- Provide proof of ID/residency:
- Two Primary documents (e.g. Birth Certificate, Passport)
- One Secondary document (e.g. W-2, Paystub with SSN)
- Proof of Social Security Number (see primary)
- Proof of legal presence
- Pass the exams:
- Pay the fees:
- Permit (Class D): $40
- Written test: $5
You will take your written test at the ASP location. Passing your requirements and submitting your information will earn you the learner’s permit. Congratulations!
About the Written Test
You will take a knowledge test during the application. This test examines your ability to acknowledge and answer road safety questions. We recommend reviewing your AR driver’s manual or use online practice tests from approved third-parties to improve your passing chances.
Pass these requirements and you can drive with a qualified parent, guardian, or driving trainer. This will let you gain the valuable behind-the-wheel experience needed when upgrading to a provisional.
Arkansas does not have a behind-the-wheel requirement.
However, the experience is critical to ensure safety on the open roads. Use your free time to practice driving with a licensed adult during the day and at night. Else, consider driver’s ed if a licensed adult isn’t available to show you proper driving etiquette.
Getting a Provisional (Restricted) Driver’s License
The restricted/provisional license is available to teens 16 years and older. Out-of-state teens, 16 and older, can transfer their provisional license given they provide identifying info and legal presence.
The provisional license is available after the driver:
- Held their learner’s permit for 6 months
- Did not receive any moving violations or cause accidents
The provisional provides more freedom until the teen turns 18 and gets their unrestricted license.
This is what you’ll do to get an AR provisional license:
- Visit a local revenue office
- Turn in your learner’s permit
- Provide proofs:
- Residency/legal presence
- Pay the $40 licensing fee
You will sign a statement showing you understand and will respect the license restrictions.
The AR provisional license restrictions include:
- An adult must ride with you for the first 6 months (or you turn 18)
- You cannot drive between 11 PM and 4 AM unless to school, church, or work (with an adult)
- You may only carry 1 passenger (minor, unrelated) unless accompanied by a licensed (21) adult
- Seat belts must always be worn and no use of cell phone when driving
Follow these rules and you’ll soon have an unrestricted license!
Getting an Unrestricted License in Arkansas
Arkansas has a basic and enhanced driver’s license – these are primarily the same as the later requiring additional proof of identification and legal presence. You can apply for the basic license at a local revenue office or get an enhanced license at an Enhanced DL/ID office.
Those with a provisional can upgrade to a basic or enhanced license when they meet the criteria.
Licensing criteria includes:
- Turn 18 and have held a provisional license
- Have no convictions or accidents within 12 months
Every Arkansas resident must hold a learner’s permit to get an unrestricted license.
If you’re over 18 and want to get a license, see the learner’s permit section (above) to apply for one. Then, skip back to this section after about a month of holding the permit.
Once you’re ready and have a provisional license…
- Visit a state police office
- Submit your provisional license
- Pay the $40 road test fee
- Pass your driving test
Passing the driving test upgrades your provisional to the unrestricted license.
You’ve completed your journey in getting an Arkansas driver’s license.
What’s next? Consider registering a vehicle in your name.
You’ll want auto insurance during the registration and throughout your time on the road. Check with local insurance providers or use our AR insurance guides for full details!