Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Rhode Island

There are a number of specific rules and laws that apply to active military members in the state of Rhode Island, as well as quite a few benefits that apply to both current servicemembers and veterans.

License and registration tax and fee exemption

There are no tax or fee exemptions in the state of Rhode Island for either veterans or for active duty military members. However, there are a couple of special programs in place to make life at least a little bit easier on servicemembers on active duty.

Before you deploy or leave on a new assignment, make sure to visit your local DMV office to apply for a special operator’s permit. Unlike other driver licenses, this permit does not expire, and will remain valid for the duration of your deployment, no matter how long. This way, active duty service members do not need to worry about renewing their license when it expires.

After your service ends and you return to the state of Rhode Island, you’re given 30 days to renew your standard driver’s license. As long as you renew it within that time frame, there are no tests required, although you’ll have to pay the standard fee.

The same cannot be said for car registration. It must be renewed each year, before it expires. You can have a relative do this on your behalf, although they’ll need power of attorney. However, the state also offers an expedient online renewal portal that can be accessed from anywhere in the world as long as you have Internet access. You can find it here.

Driver’s license veteran designation

Veterans in the state of Rhode Island have the opportunity to commemorate their service on their driver’ licenses with a special veteran designation. There is no charge to add the designation itself, although vets will still need to pay the appropriate license fee. In addition, it cannot be done online. You must appear in person at the DMV office and provide proof of your service and honorable discharge. A DD-214 is generally all that’s needed for proof.

Military honor plates

Veterans have access to a number of different military honor plates from the state of Rhode Island. These include the following:

  • Disabled veteran
  • National Guard
  • POW
  • Purple Heart
  • Veteran
  • Veteran Gold Star Parent

Note that each of these plates has its own specific fees, as well as eligibility requirements. You will need to download and complete the applicable form (each plate has a different form associated with it), and then provide it to the DMV to receive your plate. You can find more information about the entire selection of military honor plates, their costs, and access to the forms required to apply for a plate on the Rhode Island DMV Website.

Note that disabled veteran plates are only available to vets with 100% disability.

Military skills test waiver

Like most other states in the country, Rhode Island offers current military members and vets recently honorably discharged from the service with experience operating military equipment the opportunity to wave part of the CDL test. The only portion that can be waived is the skills test. The written knowledge test must still be completed. To apply for this, you must complete the CDL Military Skills Test Waiver found here.

Make sure that your commanding officer signs the waiver if you are still active. Supply the waiver with your CDL application.

Driver license renewal while deployed

Rhode Island offers military members the opportunity to apply for a special operator’s permit that does not expire. Apply for this permit before you deploy, and you will not have to renew it no matter how long you are out of state (provided you remain in active duty). Once your deployment ends and you return to the state, you have 45 days to renew your standard license. Note that this exemption does not apply to your vehicle registration, which must be renewed each year. Use the online renewal portal to expedite this process.

Non-resident military personnel driver license and vehicle registration

Rhode Island does not require out of state military personnel stationed within the state to apply for a license, or register their vehicle. However, you do have to have a valid license and a current registration on the car from your home state.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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