Veterans & Active Duty

We appreciate and respect our veterans and active members of the armed services. Several special services and designations are available for vets and service members through the South Dakota Driver Licensing Program.
 

Veterans

Veteran License Designation

Veterans who have been honorably discharged from the military have the option of adding the word "Veteran" to the front of their South Dakota Driver’s License or Identification Card. In addition to the required documents, veterans need to present one of the following:

  • DD-214 form to show honorable discharge status from active duty
  • Certificate signed by a county or tribal veteran's service officer verifying their status
  • DD Form 2 (Retired)
  • DD Form 2A (Reserve Retired)
  • NGB Form 22

If you’re unable to obtain any of these required documents contact your local county or tribal veteran service officer for assistance.

 

Active Duty

License Extensions

South Dakota extends the term of driver licenses for members of the Armed Forces and their dependents.  The license remains valid and in full force as long as the individual’s service continues and they (or their dependents) remain absent from South Dakota.  The license is valid for up to 90 days following their return to the state or honorable separation.  Read more about this law.

 

Proof of Residence Documents

When renewing or requesting a duplicate license, military personnel and their dependents stationed overseas may use two address documents proving their APO/FPO address. Military personnel and their dependents stationed in another state may provide two address documents, showing their name, proving their out-of-state residential address. These documents must be less than one year old.

 

Military Waiver for Commercial Driver’s License

If you have a military license issued by any military facility that allows you to operate a military commercial vehicle, there is the possibility you can use it to obtain a South Dakota CDL.  This process allows you to obtain a CDL by waiving the skills test due to your experience and training with these vehicles in the military.  To qualify for the skills test waiver program:

  • You must still pass the commercial knowledge testing required to operate the requested commercial vehicles.
  • You must be a South Dakota resident and have a valid SD driver’s license.
  • This waiver does not cover Hazardous Materials or School Bus endorsements.
  • This waiver is ONLY available to current and former members (within one year after separation/retirement) of the military service, including Reserve and National Guard units.

Military Knowledge and Skills Test Waiver "Even Exchange" Program

If you have been regularly employed in a qualifying Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) and have a military license issued by any military facility that allows you to operate a military commercial vehicle, there is the possibility that you can use it to evenly exchange for a South Dakota CDL.  This process allows you to obtain a CDL by waiving the knowledge testing and skills testing requirements due to your experience and training with these vehicles in the military.  To qualify for the "Even Exchange” program, the following applies:

  • You must provide evidence and verification on the Military Skills Test Waiver application form by your commanding officer that you have been regularly employed within the last year in one of the following specified Military Occupational Specialties (MOS):
    • US Army- 88M, 92F, or 14T
    • US Air Force- 2T1, 2F0, or 3E2
    • US Marine Corps- 3531
    • US Navy- EO
  • The Operator Qualification Record must be submitted with this application.
  • You must be a South Dakota resident and have a valid SD driver’s license.
  • This waiver does not cover Hazardous Materials or School Bus Endorsements.

This waiver is ONLY available to current and former members (within one year after separation/retirement) of the military service, including Reserve and National Guard units.

Application Process

To receive credit for your military experience with commercial vehicles, you must send the following documents to our department.  You can obtain the forms online by clicking here or visit any South Dakota Driver License Exam Station location.

  • Military Skills Test Waiver Application 
    • Complete Section 1 yourself​
    • Section 2 will need to be completed by your Training or Commanding Officer
  • Proof of current or previous military service
    • This can be your DD-214/NGB-22 military discharge papers or current military ID card
    • 2 most recent years of W-2 forms from the military
    • The Operators Qualification Record (for the Even Exchange)

CDL Program staff will review the application and notify the applicant in writing if the knowledge and/or skills test waiver has been approved or denied. 

  • If approved, the applicant will have 30 days from the mailing date of their approval letter to visit a South Dakota Driver License Exam Station to have the waiver processed.
  • If approved only for the skills test waiver, the knowledge tests must be passed prior to a commercial license being issued.

The applicant will need to pay appropriate licensing fees and meet the commercial vision and medical standards.

Mail your completed application, along with your phone number, email address, and the other necessary documents to:

South Dakota Driver Licensing Program
118 West Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

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Renew Your License Online, Not in Line

Time to renew? Don't spend time in line - renew your license online or by mail. You can also schedule an appointment for a faster trip to your local driver exam station. Review a list of required documents to make sure you have the identification you need. 

To check the status of your online or by-mail renewal, email us or call (605) 773-6883.

Are you a new driver?   Learn how to pass a driver's license test.

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