How to get an Arizona Driver’s License

There are lots of compelling reasons to move to Arizona. From the balmy weather to the beautiful scenery, the innovative economy to the cultural amenities, there’s a lot to love about the Grand Canyon State. If you’re planning to make Arizona your new home, you should make a checklist of things you’ll need to do once you get settled in. One of the first items on your list should be to get a new Arizona driver’s license.


Choose the right type of driver’s license.

In Arizona, drivers can choose from multiple license types. If you’re under age 21, but no longer need an instruction permit, you’ll receive the “Under 21” driver’s license. This license has a unique vertical format. It also indicates the date on which you will turn 21. When you do turn 21, you can opt to keep your vertical license or apply for a regular horizontal license. Other types of licenses include the following:

  • Operator license (Class D): The class D license allows drivers to operate any vehicle, not including motorcycles or commercial vehicles. You must be at least 21 for this license.
  • Travel ID: Effective October 1, 2020, there will be tighter TSA restrictions on airport travel. If you do not have an approved travel ID, you must have a U.S. passport for domestic travel. Note that even with the travel ID you’ll need a passport for international travel.
  • Motorcycle license: You must be at least 16 years old to apply for a motorcycle license.

Find an authorized third-party office.

Arizona has both DMV locations and authorized third-party providers of auto services. Third-party providers, such as Arizona Motor Vehicle Express, are typically more convenient. Extended hours are available, along with weekend hours and availability on minor holidays.

Bring the necessary documents.

If you’re unsure of what to bring, you can call the authorized third-party provider to ask. In general, you’ll need to bring your current out-of-state driver’s license. It’s acceptable if it’s expired, but only if you apply for a new license within one year of the expiration date. Alternatively, you can bring an official Motor Vehicle Record to prove that you had a driver’s license in another state. In addition, you will need to bring one of the following to prove your identity:

  • Original birth certificate
  • U.S. certificate of birth abroad
  • Enhanced tribal card
  • U.S. passport
  • Active duty, reserve, or retired U.S. military ID card
  • U.S. certificate of naturalization or citizenship

In addition, you must bring one document that shows your Social Security number. You can choose from the following:

  • Social Security card
  • W-2 form
  • SSA-1099 form
  • Non-SSA 1099 form
  • Pay stub

You must also bring proof of your residency in Arizona. Bring a document or piece of mail that contains your full name and residential address. If you bring a piece of mail, it must be issued by a business, organization, or government agency.

Prove a legal change of name.

In some cases, driver’s license applicants have a different name than what’s shown on their primary form of ID. If this is the case, you’ll need to prove that the name change was legal. You should have changed your name with the Social Security Administration at least 24 hours before applying for a driver’s license. Then, you can bring one of the following to prove your name change:

  • Marriage license/certificate
  • Divorce decree
  • Adoption decree
  • Court-ordered name change document

Complete the application process.

You can begin your driver’s license application online in order to save time at the authorized third-party provider. Once you’ve done that and have gathered together all the necessary documents, you can visit the DMV location to complete the process. You may need to have a vision test, which can be completed at the office. If you have a valid driver’s license from your previous state, you likely won’t need to pass the written and road tests.

For the answers to all of your questions about driver’s licenses in Arizona, you can turn to Arizona Motor Vehicle Express. Our convenient location in Tucson and our extended hours enable drivers to receive the services they need quickly and efficiently. Give us a call today at (520) 219-8852 to learn more about our world-class driver’s license services.