Driver’s License & Vehicle Registration
The state of Arizona requires that new residents obtain a valid Arizona state drivers license and vehicle registration within the first 30 days of moving to the state. State and federal laws require you to provide two forms of identification when applying for an Arizona state driver’s license. Your out-of-state or international driver license with your photo and your Social Security number are the favored forms of ID. Your SS number will be used to verify your identity and to comply with child support laws; it will not be used as your driver license number. To register your vehicle it must first be inspected and given emissions tests in addition to being insured by a company that is licensed to do business in Arizona, so be sure to call your insurance agent and verify that your preferred insurance company is licensed to do business in Arizona. Should your insurance company not have the required licenses, ask your insurance agents to recommend a person or company that you can contact to get the appropriate coverage. In this way you will be prepared to make the transition to your new home state and reduce any unnecessary stress.
Items you will need to bring with you to apply for a driver’s license or register your vehicle:
- Two forms of identification
- One including your photograph *
- One with your date of birth
*If you do not have documentation with your photo you can still apply for a license. You must bring at least one primary form of identification (i.e. Birth certificate) and two forms of secondary identification (i.e. Social Security card, Bank card).
- Pay any applicable fees
- Ages 16-39 $25
- Ages 40-55 $20
- Ages 45-49 $15
- Ages 50 & up $10
- Duplicate license $12
- Documentation that your vehicle has been inspected by an Arizona MVD inspector
- Documentation that your vehicle successfully passed emissions tests
- Documentation that your vehicle is insured
- Out-of-state title and registration (the registration and lender information will suffice if the title is being held by a lender)
- Out-of-state license plates
- Pay all applicable title and registration fees, including a Vehicle License Tax (VLT) assessed in place of a personal property tax that is charged by other states
- Title fee $4
- Registration fee $8
- Air Quality fee $1.50
- Vehicle License Tax *
* The VLT fee is based on an assessed value of 60% of the manufacturer’s base retail price reduced by 16.25% for each year since the vehicle was first registered in Arizona (15% before 8/1/98). The rate is calculated at $2.80 (new vehicles)/$2.89 (used vehicles) for each $100 of the assessed value.
Temporary vehicle registration is available. An Arizona resident who does not have complete documentation for issuance of a title or registration may apply for a 90-day Resident Registration. This registration allows you to operate the vehicle while obtaining additional documentation. The fee is $15. When complete documentation is submitted, vehicle license taxes will be calculated for the full year, back to the date of issuance of the 90-day Resident Registration. A 3 day restricted use permit is also available and is valid only for the purposes of:
- Emissions testing
- Vehicle inspection
- Application for title and/or registration
- Vehicle repair to comply with emissions or inspection
For a comprehensive list of acceptable forms of identification, or necessary forms for vehicle registration visit www.azdot.gov. For more information about emissions testing and locations visit www.myAZcar.com
Unfortunately the initial application for a driver’s license and registration of a vehicle must be done in person at a MVD office. Some tips for making your trip to the MVD as smooth as possible:
- gather all necessary materiel before going to the MVD
- Typically the best days to visit the MVD are Wednesday and Thursday
- Avoid the first 2 days and last 2 days of the month, and the day after a holiday
- Have your Vehicle Identification Number handy
- Acceptable forms of payment are Cash, Credit, money order or cashier’s check. Personal checks are not accepted.
After your initial registration and license are issued the quick and easy way to access services and gather information from the Arizona MVD is through their service portal at www.servicearizona.com. You can take advantage of more than 20 services, from renewing your vehicle registration, changing your address, or even registering to vote.
The MVD for the family
Arizona has a series of licenses and permits for teenage drivers. These licenses and permits have varying levels of restrictions criteria that must be met to get the next level of license or permit. Teenage drivers may obtain an initial learners permit at the age of 15 and 6 months. The learners permit requires that a licensed operator, of at least 21 years of age, be in the vehicle at all times while the permit holder is operating the vehicle. If the learners permit is held for 6 months without incident and certain other criteria are met, such as attending and passing a driver’s education course, and completion of a successful road test, then the permit holder will be eligible for a graduated license. For the first 6 months, a driver with a graduated driver license shall not drive a motor vehicle containing more than one passenger under the age of 18, unless the passengers are the teen driver’s siblings or; the teen driver is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian with a valid Class A, B, C or D driver license who occupies the front passenger seat. Additionally, for the first 6 months, a driver with a graduated driver license shall not drive a motor vehicle between the hours of midnight and 5:00 a.m. unless a parent or legal guardian with a valid class A, B, C or D license occupies the front passenger seat, or they are driving directly to or from a sanctioned school-sponsored activity, place of employment, a sanctioned religious activity or a family emergency. The penalties for a graduated licensee are strict and are intended to demonstrate the importance of safe driving. For a first conviction of a traffic violation the offender must attend Traffic Survival School and the violation will be recorded on their driving record. A second conviction of a traffic violation will result in a 3-month suspension of driving privileges. A third conviction of a traffic violation will result in a 6-month suspension of driving privileges. There are additional penalties for violations of curfew and passenger restrictions, including fines and mandatory extension of the 6-month restricted driving period.
To reach the Arizona department of Transportation by phone call (602)255-0072 Monday through Saturday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
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