Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Arkansas

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The state of Arkansas offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the past, or are current active military members.

Vehicle registration benefits

Military personnel are exempt from paying assessment and property taxes when renewing their vehicle registration. In order to gain this exemption, you must renew in person at an OMV and provide a current Leave and Earnings Statement. You may also renew by mail or online but you will not be able to claim the tax exemption unless renewing in person.

Gross receipt tax exemption

This benefit applies to veterans who have been deemed by the VA as totally blind due to a service-related injury. Such veterans are exempt from paying sales tax on the purchase of a new car (applies to automobiles and pickup trucks only). The exemption requires an entitlement letter from the VA and may be claimed once every two years.

Driver’s license veteran designation

Arkansas veterans are eligible for a military designation on their driver license. In order to qualify for this designation, you must provide the OMV with a DD 214 or other proof of honorable discharge, or “general under honorable conditions”.

Military honor plates

Arkansas offers a wide selection of veteran and military plates, including:

  • Congressional Medal of Honor plate (no fee – reissued to surviving spouse at standard fee)

  • Armed Forces (Reserve or Retired)

  • Cold War Veteran

  • Disabled Veteran (free – reissued to surviving spouse at standard fee)

  • Distinguished Flying Cross Medal

  • POW

  • Gold Star Family plate (available to spouse or parent of a military member killed in service, who was the recipient of a Gold Star lapel pin)

  • Korean War Veteran

  • Merchant Marine Retired

  • National Guard (contact your local unit for information)

  • Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran

  • Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran

  • Pearl Harbor Survivor

  • Persian Gulf War Veteran

  • Purple Heart (vehicle or motorcycle)

  • Support Our Troops

  • Veteran of Foreign Wars (vehicle or motorcycle)

  • Vietnam War Veteran

  • World War II Veteran

Documentation of service and/or proof of participation in a specific battle may be required for certain plates.

Military skills test waiver

In 2011 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration approved the Commercial Learner’s Permit rule. Contained within this rule is a provision which authorizes SDLAs (State Driver Licensing Agencies) to allow military personnel and veterans to forego the road testing portion of obtaining a CDL, instead using their military driving experience as a substitute for this test. To qualify you have to have at least two years of experience driving a vehicle comparable to a commercial vehicle, and this driving experience must have taken place in the year prior to either your application or your discharge from service. In addition you’ve got to provide proof that you’re qualified to drive such a vehicle.

You must certify:

  • Your experience as a safe driver

  • That you haven’t held more than one license (except a U.S. Military driver’s license) in the prior two years

  • That your base or home state driver’s license has not been revoked, suspended or cancelled

  • That you have not been convicted of a disqualifying motor vehicle violation

Although all 50 states do accept the Military Skills Test Waiver, there are certain violations that can cause your application to be denied – these are specified on the application and include hit-and-runs, DUIs, and more. The government provides a standard waiver application here. Even if you do qualify to skip the skills test, you will still have to complete the written portion of the test.

Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012

This bit of legislation provides a smoother transition for those active military members who’d like to take their commercial driving experience with them to another state. The law allows the state where you’re stationed to issue you a CDL, even if it’s not your state of residence.

Driver license renewal while deployed

Active military personnel may extend their driver license renewal by mail for up to six years on their first tour of duty. You can call (501) 682-7059 or write:

Driver's License Issuance
Room 2120
P.O. Box 1272
Little Rock, AR 72202

Non-resident military personnel driver license and vehicle registration

Non-resident military members stationed in Arkansas may retain their home state license, as well as their vehicle registration, as long as they are current and valid. If you do choose to register your vehicle in Arkansas, the above referenced property and assessment tax exemption applies.

Active or veteran military personnel can read more at the state’s motor vehicle division website here.

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