Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in South Dakota

The state of South Dakota offers several important benefits for current and veteran military service members when it comes to drivers’ licenses, license plates and more, including the fact that those stationed out of state never actually need to renew their license until they return to the state or leave service.

License and registration tax and fee exemption

Note that the state of South Dakota does not offer any license or registration tax and fee exemptions for veterans or current military members. A standard driver’s license costs $28, and renewals are also $28. Non-driver’s license ID cards are $28 as well. A duplicate license (if you lose your original) costs $15. Commercial licenses cost $33.

Driver’s license veteran designation

South Dakota allows veterans to have a veteran designation added to their driver’s license. This is available only to those who have been honorably discharged, and vets will need to provide proof of their service in the form of a DD Form 2 or DD Form 2A. A DD-2014 will also work, or a certificate from a tribal or county veterans service officer. There are no downloadable forms for this designation, nor can it be done online. To apply for the veteran designation on your license, bring proof of your honorable discharge to your local driver license office. Note that you will also need to provide all other documents required of civilians to renew your license or obtain a new license, as well as to register your vehicle in the state.

Military honor plates

Like most other states, South Dakota offers several military honor plates for veterans of the Armed Forces. These include the Air Force, the Army, the Coast Guard, the Marines, and the Navy only. However, proof of eligibility will be required, including a valid driver’s license. You will also need to pay the regular registration fee for your vehicle (varies by vehicle type), as well as an additional $10 for the special plate. Finally, you do need to complete and provide the licensing office with the South Dakota Application for Veteran and Active Duty Military Member License Plates and Affidavit, which can be found here.

Military skills test waiver

South Dakota allows military members who have left service to apply for a waiver if they want to apply for a commercial driver license (CDL). However, there are stringent requirements in place, including:

  • You must have left service no more than one year prior to your application.

  • You must certify that you have safe driving experience for at least the previous two years.

  • You must certify that you have NOT held more than one license in the previous two years, other than a military CDL and your state-issued license.

  • You cannot have more than one conviction in the state’s extensive list of disqualifying crimes.

  • You cannot have had your state-issued license suspended or revoked.

  • You must be a resident of South Dakota.

  • You must have a license (valid).

  • You must complete the waiver form found here

Driver license renewal while deployed

For active military members stationed out of the state of South Dakota, or out of the country, nothing needs to be done to renew your license. It will not expire so long as you are deployed outside the state. However, once you return to the state or leave the service, you will have 30 days to have your license renewed. Standard renewal fees will apply. With that being said, the state does offer the option to renew your license while stationed out of the state if necessary. You’ll first need a federally-compliant driver’s license. If you do not have one, you cannot renew your license while out of the state. If you do have one, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  • Complete the application found here

  • On a sheet of plain white paper, sign your name (sign a signature and print).

  • Have a licensed eye doctor complete the vision statement here and include it with your renewal paperwork.

  • Include two documents proving your residence in the state, was well as a photocopy of your current license.

  • Provide payment of $28 ($33 for a CDL) and mail all of this to the following address:

Driver Licensing Program
118 West Capitol Ave
Pierre, SD 57501

Non-resident military personnel driver license and vehicle registration

The state of South Dakota does not require military members from out of state stationed in the state to register their vehicles or obtain SD licensing. However, you do need to have a current license and registration with 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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