I Just Moved to Arizona. How Do I Transfer My Driver's License and Vehicle Registration?

by Joshua on May 09, 2022

As a new resident of Arizona, there are different transactions you are responsible for making with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (AZ MVD). These transactions include applying for your Arizona driver’s license and registering your vehicle.

New Arizona residents will be allowed to change their out-of-state driver’s license to the state of Arizona once they establish residency in the state. The standard procedure for transferring an out-of-state driver’s license to the state of Arizona is as follows:

  • Visit your local AZ driver’s license office

  • Complete the standard driving license application

  • Surrender your out-of-state license (if applicable)

  • Submit the necessary paperwork for proof of identity, date of birth, state residency, lawful U.S. presence, and social security number (SSN)

  • Pass the Arizona vision exam (out-of-state drivers may be exempt from taking the written exam and the Arizona road skills exams)

  • Pay all applicable state fees to obtain your new AZ driver’s license

Here are other factors you need to know regarding transferring your out-of-state driver’s license to Arizona.

Arizona Vision Screening

In the state of Arizona, if you are receiving your first driver’s license, you are required to take a vision test. The AZ vision examination requirement also applies to Arizona drivers who are renewing their driver’s license. Arizona requires every licensed driver that is under 65 years of age to renew their driver’s license and have another vision screening performed every 12 years.

Drivers in Arizona who are 65 years of age or older are required to renew their driver’s license every five years, and a vision test is required each time they renew their license. After the age of 70, AZ drivers will not be allowed to renew their license by mail. They must visit their local AZ MVD office in person to renew their driver’s license annually, which also included having a vision screening performed.

Standard Driver’s License Vision Requirements

In order to successfully pass the AZ vision test to receive your driver’s license, you must have visual acuity of 20/40 or better in one eye. Normal vision acuity is 20/20 in each eye. In addition to maintaining a visual acuity of 20/40 in one eye, the state of Arizona requires drivers to pass the field of vision test.

The Arizona field of vision test determines how far you can see to each side while your eyes are directed straight ahead. The same eye that tests 20/40 or better is required to have a field of vision of 70 degrees to pass the AZ driving test, which includes 35 degrees of vision on the opposite side of the nose as the eye that obtains 20/40 vision.

“B” Restrictions for Individuals Who Wear Glasses or Contact Lenses

If you take the AZ vision test, and it reveals you do not have at least 20/40 vision in one eye, you can still obtain a valid Arizona driver’s license by wearing glass or contact lenses. If you pass the Arizona vision test wearing either glasses or contact lenses, but not with the naked eye, you will be issued an AZ driver’s license with a “B” restriction. With a Class B Arizona driver’s license, you can legally drive ONLY if you are wearing your glasses or contact lenses.

What Happens If You Fail the Standard Arizona Vision Screening?

If you fail the Arizona standard vision screening with 20/40 vision in one eye with or without corrective lenses or glasses, the AZ MVD will send you to see an optometrist. The optometrist or ophthalmologist will perform additional vision testing to determine whether the individual’s vision can be correctly sufficiently to operate a motor vehicle.

Once the additional vision testing has been performed, the optometrist will submit a Vision Examination Report to the AZ MVD. This report will include vision acuity information for each of your eyes separately and for both eyes together, with and without correction. This vision report will also disclose whether nighttime driving restrictions are necessary, based on monocular or binocular visual acuity. This vision specialist will also recommend periodic vision testing, if applicable. The optometrist will determine your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle based on your vision.

Other Driving Restrictions in Arizona

The AZ MVD can include other restrictions on a driver’s license. Some of these restrictions are based on your ability to see well enough to drive at night. If your vision in one eye (monocular vision) is between 20/40 and 20/50, you can see well enough to drive during daylight hours, but not well enough to drive at night. In this scenario, you may be issued a daytime-only restricted Arizona driver’s license.

A similar situation will occur if you have binocular vision (vision in both eyes) between 20/40 and 20/70. You may also be restricted to driving only during daylight hours. If you have impaired night vision for other reasons, you may receive a restricted driver’s license that allow you to operate a motor vehicle during daylight hours.

Arizona Written Examination

In order to receive an Arizona driver’s license, you must pass the AZ knowledge exam. The AZ MVD written examination covers information found in the Arizona DMV Driver’s License Manual. This state exam includes questions that pertain to the road signs, road rules, traffic laws, and safe driving practices in the state of Arizona. There are a total of 30 questions on the AZ MVD written exam. To pass this exam, you must correctly answer at least 24 questions, giving you a score of 80%.

Transferring an Out-of-State Vehicle Registration to Arizona

In order to transfer your out-of-state vehicle’s registration to the state of Arizona, you must visit your local AZ MVD office and complete the process in person. Initially, you will need to present a completed application form, proof of ID, and the required vehicle transfer fees.

If you require more time to gather your vehicle’s paperwork, you can obtain a temporary AZ registration to give you more time to get your vehicle registered. If you live in Phoenix or Tuscon, you are also required to pass an emissions test.

New Residents to Arizona

The state of Arizona requires you to register your vehicle with Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (AZ MVD) immediately after you establish residency in the state.

Establishing residency in the state of Arizona involves more than obtaining an Arizona address. This state considers you a resident of Arizona if any of the situations apply to you:

  • You possess an AZ driver’s license

  • Your child(ren) attend school in AZ without paying an out-of-state tuition rate

  • You’re employed in Arizona (seasonal agricultural workers are exempt)

  • You remain in the state for 7 months or more in one calendar year

  • You have an Arizona business that houses and operates vehicles in Arizona

  • You own an Arizona business that transports people or goods in the state

  • You’re registered to vote in Arizona

Required Documentation

In order to register your vehicle, you need to visit an AZ MVD office in person. You need to make sure you have proof of an AZ auto insurance policy that meets or exceeds Arizona’s required coverage amounts of:

  • $25,000 per person

  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury

  • $20,000 per accident for property damage

An emissions compliance form is also required. In the state of Arizona, you can register and title your vehicle simultaneously.

Your Trip to Your Local AZ MVD Office

When you’re ready to apply to register your vehicle in the state of Arizona, you need to visit your local AZ MVD office with the following:

  • A completed Title and Registration Application (Form 96-0236)

  • Proof of passing an emissions test (if you reside in Phoenix or Tucson) The results of this test are automatically sent to the MVD.

  • Proof of a Level I inspection (if applicable). A Level I inspection only applies if you are not in possession of your vehicle’s registration certificate and/or title. A Level I inspection verifies your vehicle identification number (VIN). MVD office provide this service free of charge.

  • Your vehicle’s out-of-state title or your vehicle’s registration certificate if it’s held by a lienholder. If you lost your vehicle registration, it will need to be replaced.

  • Your out-of-state license plates

  • Proof of a valid AZ auto insurance policy

  • Photo identification (driver’s license, ID card, etc.)

  • Payment for all applicable AZ vehicle registration fees

The AZ MVD will mail your registration documents and license plate tabs. The paper receipt serves as proof of your registration until the permanent registration tabs arrive.

AZ vehicle registrations are valid for 1 year, 2 years, or 5 years. Vehicles that are exempt from emissions testing are eligible for registration for 5 years in Arizona.

Registering Your Vehicle in Arizona

The AZ MVD requires you to register your vehicle in person at any MVD office. If you purchased your vehicle from a dealership, the dealership usually handles the registration and titling paperwork on your behalf.

Arizona Restricted Use Permit

Any newly purchased vehicle, including new or used vehicles, are required to be registered before it can be operated on the Arizona roads and highways. If your vehicle needs to have an emissions test, inspection, or needs to be registered, you can apply for a restricted 3-day permit.

You can apply for this permit online, if you have a printer, by visiting the official site of the ADOT MVD. You will pay a fee of $1 for the AZ 3-day permit.

Be advised that even if the seller leaves the original plates on the vehicle, you are not permitted to drive the vehicle until it’s registered in your name. If this scenario occurs, you need to surrender the plates to any AZ MVD office.

Temporary AZ Vehicle Registration

If you lack all the required documentation listed above to correctly register your vehicle, you must apply for a temporary Arizona registration that is valid for 90 days. Your temporary registration allows you to operate your vehicle while you’re gathering the necessary documentation to obtain a permanent vehicle registration certificate.

The fee for the temporary Arizona registration is $15. Once you submit all other required documents, your registration fees and taxes will be backdated to the date you acquired your temporary registration. You will be responsible for full payment.

Arizona Motor Vehicle Division Locations

There are multiple MVD locations in Arizona where you can transfer your out-of-state driver’s license and vehicle registration.

Arizona Motor Vehicle Division - Tempe Office

1703 E Larkspur Dr

Tempe, AZ, 85281

(800) 251-5866

Monday - Friday (7:30 AM to 5 PM)

Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

Arizona Motor Vehicle Division - Coolidge Office

672 N. AZ Blvd

Coolidge, AZ, 85128

(520) 723-5338

Monday - Friday (8 AM to 5 PM)

Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

Arizona Motor Vehicle Division - Scottsdale Office

7339 E Paradise Ln

Scottsdale, AZ, 85260

(800) 251-5866

Monday - Friday (7:30 AM to 5 PM)

Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

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