People are migrating to our great state of Arizona at a record pace. In 2019, we saw an increase of 120,000 people relocate to Arizona from other states and countries around the world .
If you’re one of those people who has discovered our sun-soaked state and relatively low home prices, there’s something important you shouldn’t forget to do once you move here: Get an Arizona driver license.
Here’s everything you need to know about obtaining your license to drive here in Arizona.
Who needs to get an Arizona driver license?
Per Arizona state law, you must obtain a driver license and vehicle registration immediately if you can answer yes to any of the following:
- Do you work in Arizona (other than for seasonal agricultural jobs)?
- Do you remain in Arizona for a total of seven months or more during a calendar year?
- Are you registered to vote in Arizona?
- Have you placed children in school without paying the tuition rate of a nonresident?
- Do you pay school tuition fees at the same rate as an Arizona resident?
- Do you own a business with an office in Arizona and does your business base and operate vehicles in this state?
- Do you own a business that operates vehicles to transport goods or passengers within Arizona?
What if I’m a student or active duty military?
If you’re a student from out of state enrolled in an Arizona educational institution with seven or more semester hours, you’re not considered an Arizona resident, even if you have a job here in the state. That means you do not have to get an Arizona driver license.
The same goes for active duty military personnel based in Arizona who are exempt under the Service Members Civil Relief Act of 2003.
What’s the process for getting an Arizona driver license?
The first time you get a license in Arizona, you must go in person to one of the offices of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).
As painful as it might sound to go to a government office, the state has tried to make it as convenient as possible for people to take care of this necessary task.
Find a convenient location: There are more than 40 state offices and 160 privately operated third-party locations throughout the state.
Schedule an appointment in advance: You can schedule an MVD appointment, which will minimize your wait time, or go to one of the many third-party providers without an appointment. Third-party providers also offer extended hours and service on Saturdays.
Gather necessary documentation: You must bring proof of identification, age, and what’s called “authorized presence” (proof that according to federal law, you’re allowed to be present in the United States). This documentation includes:
- Your Social Security card
- Your birth certificate
- Your current driver license, identification card, Arizona Travel ID, or commercial driver license
- Two pieces of mail in your name with your new address on it
Get ready for your test: You might be given a vision exam, but if you have a valid driver license from your previous state of residence, you will probably not be required to take a written and road test.
If you move to Arizona from out of the country, you will likely be required to take written and road tests. (Tests are typically waived for individuals moving from Canada, Germany, Taiwan, and South Korea.)
You can find tests and manuals here, plus make sure to get driving instruction to learn all of Arizona’s rules of the road.
Is the Arizona Travel ID the same as a driver license?
The Arizona Travel ID is the form of identification that complies with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005, which set standards for sources of identification. The ID is available as both a driver license and an identification card, with an embedded gold star showing the holder has provided added proof of identification to meet federal requirements.
Effective October 1, 2021, your old driver license will no longer be acceptable identification at TSA airport security checkpoints for domestic travel. You’ll need to present an Arizona Travel ID, or a U.S. passport or other federally approved identification.
Are you new to AZ or to the United States and need to get a driver license? Contact Stop and Go Driving School to learn everything you need to know with our Driver’s Education courses.