Be prepared: steps for obtaining a driver license or identification card

Be prepared: steps for obtaining a driver license or identification card


Be prepared: steps for obtaining a driver license or identification card

Be prepared: steps for obtaining a driver license or identification card

November 13, 2014

Driver licenses are a big topic here on the ADOT Blog.

We’ve blogged about practice exams, told you about a license/identification option for veterans and explained how you can register to become an organ and tissue donor when you apply for your credential. Back in June, we detailed a new look and process and even asked for help in naming the Ringtail who sits in the bottom right corner of the new Arizona driver license/identification card.

Today, we have even more driver license info to share with you by way of the infographic below…

You’ll see that it shows you the steps involved in getting a new Arizona driver license or identification card. You can also find plenty of details on our MVD webpage and from this helpful FAQ.

Infographic by Arizona Department of Transportation, on Flickr

Understanding the Energy Efficient Plate and Alternative Fuel Vehicle programs

Understanding the Energy Efficient Plate and Alternative Fuel Vehicle programs


Understanding the Energy Efficient Plate and Alternative Fuel Vehicle programs

Understanding the Energy Efficient Plate and Alternative Fuel Vehicle programs

October 9, 2014

*** UPDATE (5/6/15) *** The availability of energy-efficient license plates for owners of qualified vehicles has ended as the maximum number of plate applications has been reached.

Please see our recent blog post for the latest.

We’ve blogged about the Energy Efficient license plate program a couple of times in the past few months (you might remember THIS blog post or THIS one). Today, we’re at it again. We don’t have much to say on the subject, but we do have something to show you...

The infographic below is intended to help explain the Energy Efficient Plate and Alternative Fuel Vehicle programs. Check it out for a good overview of the two programs. As always, you can visit our MVD website for more details on both the Alternative Fuel Vehicle program and the Energy Efficient Plate program.

*** UPDATE *** This infographic has been updated since it was first published. The update includes the addition of qualifying 2015 vehicle models. More information can be found on our website.

New specialty license plates now available

New specialty license plates now available


New specialty license plates now available

New specialty license plates now available

September 24, 2014

Three new specialty plate options are now available.

Supporting your favorite cause has never looked so good…

Three new specialty license plates now available from MVD.

The new plates include a Girls Youth Organization plate to support the Girl Scouts; an Arizona Motorsports Commemorative plate for Phoenix International Raceway; and a redesigned Phoenix Suns plate. Like many of Arizona’s specialty plates, these three support specific charities.

Funds raised by the Girl Scouts plate will provide enriching experiences in Arizona’s Girl Scouts program, such as extraordinary field trips, sports skill-building clinics, community service projects and cultural exchanges.

The money from The Phoenix International Raceway license plate will go to Motorsports Charities to provide resources and charitable support for children through education, medical treatment, dream experiences and volunteerism.

The redesigned Phoenix Suns plate will continue to support Phoenix Suns Charities for youth education and development, college scholarship programs and community development.

More of the details

The license plates have an annual fee of $25 for a non-personalized plate and $50 for a personalized plate, with $17 going to support the charities. Vehicle owners can purchase the new plates at any MVD or Authorized Third Party office location or online at

Because the Phoenix Suns license plate is a new design, anyone with the current plate design can request the new plate design for a $5 replacement fee. However, the redesigned plate has six characters instead of the seven that are on the current Suns plate. So those with a personalized Suns plate with seven characters would not be able to transfer their personalization to the new design. They can reapply for the new design, but would have to start the application process from the beginning. The older, original Phoenix Suns license plate design is still valid for use.

There are no special requirements to get the license plates. The plates are also available with a disability symbol.

Specialty plates

Even though ADOT’s Motor Vehicle Division issues license plates, ADOT and MVD do NOT choose which plates get approved. That decision is actually a function of the legislative process.

So, if you’re part of a nonprofit group looking to get a plate for your cause, you’ll need to get the attention of your state lawmakers. A bill sponsored through the legislature must pass and then be signed into law by the governor before any specialty plate can be manufactured.

Once that step is cleared, the group pays an implementation fee to cover all programming costs and production.

The group then works on the plate design alongside ADOT/MVD. Guidelines for the design ensure that plates are readable from 100 yards and aren’t too busy. Once a final design is agreed on, prototype plates are created for review. Law enforcement officials, representatives of the nonprofit group and MVD’s director must sign off on the plate before production begins.

For more information on the new specialty plates, please visit You can also check out our previous license plate posts, including this one that explains how plates are made and this one that goes into even more detail on the specialty plate approval process.

Protect your child with an ID card

Protect your child with an ID card


Protect your child with an ID card

Protect your child with an ID card

ADOT Communications
September 15, 2014

This blog post was revised September 2022.


You might think that your child’s first visit to an MVD office will come once it’s time for him or her to get behind the wheel, but did you know there’s a good reason to make the trip much sooner?

Protect your child with an Arizona ID cardWhen you bring your child to an MVD or MVD authorized third party office, you can easily obtain an Arizona identification card for him or her at any age - even if they’re a baby.

Having an Arizona ID card can help protect your child against identity theft, and it allows law enforcement agencies to rapidly distribute your child’s information and photograph in the event of an Amber Alert. An Arizona ID card can also make it easier for children to travel, enroll in school or activities and even get a driver license once they’re old enough.

An Arizona ID card is is $12. You can start the application online through your secure AZ MVD Now account, then bring your child to an MVD or MVD authorized third party office with appropriate documentation. (Please visit our website to see the full list of acceptable forms of identification.)

After your child’s photo is taken, you will receive a temporary ID before you leave the MVD office. Your child’s ID card will arrive by mail within 15 days.

Driver License FAQ

Driver License FAQ


Driver License FAQ

Driver License FAQ

September 11, 2014

Got a driver license question? Let us know and we'll find you an answer.

We love hearing from readers of the ADOT Blog! Your questions and comments have helped to inspire many blog topics, including the one we're writing about today…

Over the past several months, many questions related to driver licenses and instruction permits have come our way. With help from our experts in MVD, we have attempted to answer all of them. However, the helpful Q&A is hidden from most readers – unless you’re digging through the comments section of an old post, you’re probably not seeing the information.

That’s why we’re sharing some of the most frequently asked questions (and answers) right here in one place...

Q) I am 19 years old and I have never had a license. When I visit the MVD will I be eligible for an instruction permit or do I have to go for a driver license test?

A) It is necessary to have a valid instruction permit or a valid driver license to drive lawfully in the state of Arizona. An applicant would take the written test to qualify for the instruction permit and then practice driving to become proficient to take the road test. The instruction permit is valid for 12 months.

Q) Are the questions from the online practice test actually on the driver license exam?

A) No, the questions on the online practice test are not actual test questions from the driver license or permit exams. The online practice test is an educational tool that gives people an idea of what to expect when taking the real written exam. Taking the online practice tests is in no way a substitute for studying the manual!

Q) My Uncle is turning 70 and his driver license is expiring soon. He has no tickets or accidents. What is required of him to renew his license?

A) Beginning at age 65, an Arizona driver is required to renew his or her Arizona driver license every 5 years. Your Uncle will visit an MVD or MVD Authorized Third Party office, complete a driver license application, have a new photo and vision screening, then pay a $10 driver license renewal fee. A written or road test may be required for any driver – at any age – during an office visit.

Q) How long do you have to wait to take the written exam if you failed the first time?

A) When an applicant fails the written test (for the first time), that applicant can return to MVD or an MVD Authorized Third Party office to retake the written test on the following business day. An applicant can take the written test up to three times without paying another application fee.

Q) Where can I find the Driver License Manual?

A) You can find a PDF version of the Arizona Driver License manual (in English and Spanish) on our website.

Q) I'm 23 and I never took the written test or got my permit when I was a teen. It's about time I got my license. So to start, I have to take the written test and get a permit right?

A) If a person of ANY AGE wants to be on the road lawfully while learning to drive, they will need an Instruction Permit. It is mandatory for driver license applicants under age 18 to hold an Instruction Permit for a minimum of six months. At age 23, you will not be required to comply with the mandatory 6-month holding period, but, in order to learn to drive lawfully, you will need to take the written test and obtain an Instruction Permit. Once you have obtained an Instruction Permit and have practiced driving and believe you are ready for the road/skills test, you can visit an MVD office.

Requirements for a road/skills test:
* A currently registered and insured vehicle – must show proof-of-insurance
* A licensed driver must accompany the permitee to the test

Q) I'm 21. I never had a driver license just a permit from high school, which is now expired. I heard that you can go to a driving school and take driving lessons to get a license without having to take a road test. Is this true?

A) Driving Schools do not issue waivers. You will need to pass the written test and obtain an Arizona Instruction Permit so you may practice driving lawfully and prepare to take the MVD road test. When you successfully complete the road test, you will be eligible to apply for an Arizona Driver License.

Looking for even more FAQs? Visit our MVD website for additional information.

Rocky the Ringtail

Rocky the Ringtail


Rocky the Ringtail

Rocky the Ringtail

June 27, 2014

ADOT's "Name The Ringtail" contest is over. The winning name? "Rocky".

Allow us to introduce Rocky the Ringtail!

He’s the cute, little creature who can be spotted on the newly designed Arizona driver license and until today, he was in need of a name.

That’s where all of you came in – we received hundreds of submissions in response to our “Name the Ringtail” contest. Ringo, Kai, Copper and even Lord Voldemort were among the suggestions, but after all the votes were counted, “Rocky” came out on top.

Rory, a seven-year-old girl from Peoria, suggested the winning name that earned an amazing 1,052 votes! We’re told that when Rory first heard about the ringtail contest, she added it to her “bucket list,” which she revises each year to mark things to achieve.

Today, Rory and her family visited MVD headquarters in Phoenix to receive her awards – a stuffed animal (a ringtail, of course!), a special license plate and a pink ADOT hard hat.

Way to go, Rory!

For more information on the new license, visit our MVD Web page or check out our previous blog post.

ADOT warns of fraudulent ‘DMV’ websites and misleading advertising

ADOT warns of fraudulent ‘DMV’ websites and misleading advertising

I-17 101 traffic interchange

ADOT warns of fraudulent ‘DMV’ websites and misleading advertising

ADOT warns of fraudulent ‘DMV’ websites and misleading advertising

June 4, 2014

PHOENIX — Most of us will need some type of driver license, identification card or vehicle registration services at one time or another. Today, many of those services can be performed online. Unfortunately, Internet resources are being used by scam artists misrepresenting themselves as official motor vehicle division entities or soliciting for vehicle maintenance warranties or insurance with the primary goal of taking a customer’s money and obtaining their personal information.

The Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division is alerting customers that there are various fraudulent websites falsely offering motor vehicle services such as Arizona driver licenses, IDs, vehicle titles and registration. The fraudulent websites appear in a searches with keywords such as MVD or DMV.

The website scams promise services that are not fulfilled. Instead, the sites illegally obtain a customer’s credit card number and charge the credit card account for the bogus services. The captured credit card information may also be used for future fraudulent purchases and charges. is the only authorized website for all Arizona MVD transactions. Customers can use  to conduct many routine motor vehicle transactions, such as applying for a duplicate driver license or driver license reinstatement, renewing a vehicle registration, purchasing a specialty/personalized license plate, obtaining a copy of a driver license or vehicle record, checking a vehicle identification number for liens before purchasing a used vehicle, registering to vote or updating personal contact information.

ADOT MVD does not allow the initial issuance or renewal of a driver license via the Internet. To do so a customer must visit a local MVD or Authorized Third-Party office.

Additionally, consumers should be wary of phone solicitations. ADOT MVD does not conduct phone solicitations for driver license, title/registration services, vehicle warranties or insurance. Customers should not give out their personal information when receiving phone calls from an entity fraudulently representing itself as MVD, ADOT or DMV to sell any type of service or product.

ADOT does not promote commercial business through mail or phone solicitations, nor does it endorse or advertise for online businesses claiming to provide MVD services.

There are numerous legitimate businesses that offer motor vehicle support services such as practice tests or tips for completing the driver license application process. ADOT MVD also has Authorized Third Party offices, which are private businesses licensed and authorized to perform MVD transactions.

ADOT’s goal is to prevent its customers from becoming victims of fraud and identity theft. The only authorized ways to conduct Arizona driver license or vehicle title/registration transactions are either in person at any ADOT MVD or Authorized Third Party office, online through or by standard mail.

For further information about ADOT MVD services, please visit

Ringtail on the new Arizona driver licenses needs a name

Ringtail on the new Arizona driver licenses needs a name


Ringtail on the new Arizona driver licenses needs a name

Ringtail on the new Arizona driver licenses needs a name

June 3, 2014

This ringtail needs a name! Give your suggestions at

Look very closely at the newly designed Arizona driver license and you’ll spot a ringtail lounging in the bottom right corner…

He (or she?) isn’t there just for decoration. The ringtail was actually incorporated into the license background image as one of many new security features.

Besides having that important job, the ringtail also serves as Arizona’s official state mammal.

Pretty impressive resume for such a little creature! We think the ringtail deserves a nickname, which is why we’re kicking off the “name the ringtail” contest to solicit ideas on what to call the critter.


The ringtail was incorporated into the new license background image as a safety feature.

You can submit your naming ideas by visiting On that page, you’ll also be able to vote on the suggestions submitted by others.

The contest runs through June 6. There are no prizes – just bragging rights!

Need some more information on this little animal with a big tail? Head over to the Arizona Game and Fish Department website for details. There you’ll learn that ringtails are primarily a night-time animal that “can be extremely bold and unconcerned about the presence of humans. Calls consist of a repertoire of barks, chirps, growls, howls and yips.”

The new license and a new process for getting your license will be implemented on June 16. You can learn more about both by visiting our MVD website or by checking out our previous blog post.

Additional energy efficient license plates now available exclusively for plug-in hybrids

Additional energy efficient license plates now available exclusively for plug-in hybrids


Additional energy efficient license plates now available exclusively for plug-in hybrids

Additional energy efficient license plates now available exclusively for plug-in hybrids

May 20, 2014

Program requirements for qualifying vehicles have changed.

*** UPDATE (5/6/15) *** The availability of energy-efficient license plates for owners of qualified vehicles has ended as the maximum number of plate applications has been reached.

Please see our recent blog post for the latest.

Beginning today (May 20), specific hybrid vehicle owners will have another opportunity to obtain one of the “Clean Air – Blue Skies” Energy Efficient license plates being made available by the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division.

The federal program, which began in 2007 as a pilot, is designed to test the impact of allowing 10,000 hybrid vehicles to use the HOV lanes in Arizona during peak travel times without occupancy restrictions. ADOT is again offering the opportunity to Arizona owners of qualifying vehicles to obtain a “Clean Air – Blue Skies” plate for unrestricted access to HOV lanes. The maximum limit of 10,000 is still part of program stipulations; there are 1,800 of the special plates now available as a result of non-renewed or canceled registrations.

Until Sept. 30, 2017, states may allow low emission vehicles, and those certified and labeled as low emission and energy-efficient vehicles (including alternative fuel vehicles) that do not meet the established occupancy requirements to use high-occupancy vehicle lanes so long as the state establishes procedures to enforce the restrictions on the use by these vehicles.

The program requirements for qualifying vehicles have changed.

Qualifying vehicles will be limited to include only plug-in hybrid electric vehicles according to the certification list established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is responsible for issuing the rules that establish the certification and labeling requirements for low emission and energy-efficient vehicles.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles may be driven for a longer period of time on solely electric power, reducing both the amount of fuel consumed and tailpipe emissions released compared to normal hybrid vehicles. Reduced vehicle pollution supports the purpose of the “Clean Air – Blue Skies” program by encouraging the use of low-emission vehicles to improve the air quality in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

To qualify for the Energy Efficient plate, a customer must own one of the following plug-in hybrid electric vehicles from specific model years, which must be currently registered at the time of application: Chevrolet Volt (2011-2014), Fisker Automotive Karma (2012), Ford C-MAX Energi (2013-2014), Ford Fusion Energi (2013-2014), Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid (2014), and Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid (2012-2014). (UPDATE: Please see our most recent blog post for additional details on qualifying vehicles.)

If qualified, the vehicle owner must complete the online Energy Efficient plate application process located only on and submit a payment of $8 (initial application fee) plus postage and handling. Plates will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Energy Efficient plates will not be distributed at Motor Vehicle Division or Authorized Third-Party offices. The standard Arizona vehicle license tax applies to all plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Only owners of currently registered, qualifying vehicles under the revised program requirements will be able to secure one of the 1,800 plates. Those with a temporary registration paper plate or permit are not eligible until the owner actually receives an issued license plate.

After completing the Energy-Efficient license plate application and the customer chooses to have the disability emblem added, the customer must complete a Disability-Hearing Impaired Plate/Placard Application. The completed application form must be mailed to: Arizona Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Division-Special Plates Unit; P.O. Box 2100-Mail Drop 801Z; Phoenix 85001-2100.

Customers with a vehicle that qualified under the previous program (Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Insight and non-plug-in Toyota Prius) and is currently registered with an Energy Efficient plate will be allowed to continue to use their plate on that vehicle and drive in the HOV lane until they sell/transfer the vehicle. The Energy Efficient plate may only be transferred to a qualifying plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that is owned or leased by the same registered owner.

Drivers are reminded that this is a federal- and state-approved program that could be changed or ended at any time. For more information on the Energy Efficient Plate Program, application process and qualifying vehicles, please visit the ADOT Motor Vehicle Division website.

ADOT to launch new driver license process and design

ADOT to launch new driver license process and design


ADOT to launch new driver license process and design

ADOT to launch new driver license process and design

May 1, 2014

Samples of the new license. Class D is on the left and Under 21 is on the right.

Did you know that Arizona’s first law requiring drivers to be licensed was put into place back in 1927?

Imagine how those first licenses looked. Probably nothing like the one you have in your wallet right now. As much as Arizona driver licenses have changed over the past 87 years, they’re continuing to evolve.

Drum roll, please…

Today, we’re unveiling a newly designed license, complete with enhanced security features to safeguard personal information and help prevent identity theft (see photo above). There’s also going to be a new process involved with getting your license.

New license, new process

Beginning June 16, 2014, ADOT’s Motor Vehicle Division is expanding central credential issuance to all offices statewide, meaning that customers visiting a MVD office to obtain a new driver license or identification card will leave with a temporary credential. The permanent license or identification card will be mailed to the customer, and received within 15 days.


A sample temporary license.

Coupled with that, ADOT is launching a new, high-security credential format. Both changes are designed to protect against identity theft.

What if I don’t want a new license?

If you have a license (that hasn’t expired), you don’t need to do anything. A current driver license or identification card will still be valid until its expiration date – or at least until the 12-year mark when the photo needs to be refreshed. The price of a duplicate credential remains unchanged – $12 for many customers.

How is the new process different?

Customers at ADOT MVD offices will no longer immediately be issued a new permanent driver license or identification card at the end of the application process. The credential will instead be mailed to the address on the resident’s application. It is important to ensure the correct mailing address has been provided in order to receive the credential. Address changes can be made online at

At the MVD office, you will receive a temporary driver license or identification card. It will contain a photo and the basic information that appears on the actual credential. As in other states that have moved to this process, the decision to accept the temporary credential as proof of identity exists solely with the organization requesting to see the license or identification card.

The process of central credential issuance is used by most states around the country and is a growing trend as states transition to higher-security credentials.

More to come

We’ll have more blog posts and reminders about this change in the coming weeks. But before we sign off, we just want to point out some of the new security features on the new license and identification cards:

  • A larger primary portrait with a smaller redundant ghost portrait ensuring customer appearance is clearly reflected.
  • A high-security design comprised of unique Arizona geological features in the background created by using many different patterns, lines and images. This provides the overall look of the credential.
  • A laser perforation in the shape of Arizona, which when held up to the light is used to quickly authenticate the credential.
  • Tactile date of birth field to assist in authenticating the credential using the sense of touch. The date in this field will have a raised feel to it.
  • Tri-color Optically Variable Device consisting of the state outline, the state name “Arizona,” the state seal, a saguaro cactus and a star. This laminate overlay provides the final layer of the credential and provides one more feature for authentication.
  • The ringtail, the state mammal, is illustrated on the front of the new credential.

For additional information, please visit our MVD Web page.