Applying for a DMV license in South Dakota can be done in just a few steps by visiting a local Department of Public Safety (DPS) office. Both adults and minors can be found eligible to submit an SD drivers license application if they meet the age, residency and skills requirements established in the state. In general, applicants should expect to provide proof of identity and pass the driving knowledge and road skills exams before they are issued a license to drive in the state.

On the other hand, it is important to note that the application procedure for a DMV drivers license is different for motorists depending on their age. Overall, teen drivers must first hold a learner’s permit before they can receive a license with full privileges. Conversely, adult drivers transferring to South Dakota from another state are typically not required to take any form of skills-based tests if their out-of-state credential is currently valid. To learn everything you need to know about how to get a drivers license in SD, read the following sections.

How to Apply for a Drivers License in South Dakota as an Adult (18 or Older)

Adults who are applying for a new drivers license in South Dakota for the first time should expect to provide several supporting documents within their application packets.

Furthermore, new motorists cannot request a driver’s license online in SD, since only renewing or replacing these credentials can be done via the state’s web portal. In addition, when submitting this application packet to a state licensing office, motorists should already be prepared to take all of the state-required driving skills exams.

South Dakota Drivers License Eligibility Requirements for Adults

The process of applying for a DPS driver’s license in South Dakota begins with gathering the necessary supporting documents to prove a motorist’s identity, age and residency status. These SD drivers license requirements can only be met by demonstrating the applicable documents to a state representative when submitting the application packet in their original form, not as photocopies. Adult drivers applying for their first driver’s licenses should prepare these three types of documents:

  1. Proof of your date of birth, identity and legal status or presence in the U.S. Accepted documents include but are not limited to:
    1. Valid U.S. passport
    2. Certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate
    3. Certificate of naturalization
  2. Proof of your Social Security Number (SSN). Accepted documents include but are not limited to:
    1. Social Security card
    2. 1099 form
    3. W-2 form
    4. Pay stub or statement with your name and full SSN
  3. Two proofs of your state residency that are less than one year old. Minors can use a parent’s proof of address. Accepted documents include but are not limited to:
    1. Utility or phone bill
    2. Pay stub or earnings statement
    3. Rent receipt
    4. Bank statement
    5. Transcript or report card from an accredited school
    6. Mortgage document, homeowners/rent’s insurance policy or a tax document

Adult applicants who apply for a drivers license in SD will be required to fill out and sign the necessary application form and pay the accompanying processing fee. Then, they will be asked to pass a vision screening, along with the driving knowledge and road skills exams, in order to make sure that they know how to safely operate a vehicle on public roads.

Steps to Obtain a New Drivers License in South Dakota as an Adult

Before heading to a DPS office for the purposes of obtaining driver’s license services, motorists should be confident in their understanding of the requirements for this procedure.

Moreover, applicants must be able to showcase their expertise in driving safety and vehicle operation in order to pass both the written knowledge exam and the road skills test. As such, be mindful of the following steps to get an SD DPS license:

  1. Locate the nearest South Dakota driver exam location that accepts license applications. If possible, make an appointment online or by phone beforehand.
  2. Prepare to demonstrate that you can meet the driver’s license eligibility requirements, showing an acceptable form of identification, proof of SSN and two proofs of state residency.
  3. Print out or pick up a “Driver License / ID Card Application” form. Complete and sign it.
  4. Head to the nearest SD DPS office to submit your packet.
  5. Pay the applicable driver license cost with an acceptable payment method.
  6. Undergo a vision screening.
  7. Take the written knowledge test and pass it with a score of at least 80 percent.
  8. After the knowledge exam, take the driving skills test. Pass with a score of at least 80 percent.

Getting a South Dakota Drivers License as a New Resident

Motorists in South Dakota are required to request a new DMV license from the DPS if they reside in the state longer than 90 days. In the case of adult motorists who have a current and valid out-of-state drivers license, the DPS will require the same supporting documentation listed in the previous section, which includes filling out the application form and paying the applicable processing fee.

However, new residents who already hold a license to drive will generally not be required to take any tests. In these cases, motorists can simply bring their application packets to a nearby licensing agent, surrender their current driving credentials and receive a new SD DPS license.

How to Apply for a Drivers License in South Dakota as a Teen (Younger Than 18)

Teen drivers who would like to request a DMV driver’s license for the first time must follow a similar process as first-time adult motorists. Applicants as young as 14 years of age can begin working towards meeting the South Dakota driver’s license requirements by signing up for an instructional permit in person at a nearby licensing location. On the other hand, motorists must be at least 16 years of age to qualify for a license with full privileges.

South Dakota Drivers License Eligibility Requirements for Teens

For a motorist who is younger than 18 years of age to receive an instructional permit and eventually a DMV driver’s license in South Dakota, he or she must submit the same supporting documents and application forms as adult motorists. In addition, these applicants must demonstrate that they have parental permission to get a DMV license, such as a consent form signed by a parent or legal guardian.

However, the specific eligibility guidelines that apply to teen drivers may vary depending on the type of permit they are requesting. Three types of driving permits can be requested by teens according to the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Instructional Permit
    1. Available to minors who are 14 years of age or older.
    2. Must pass the vision and driving knowledge exams before issuance.
  2. Restricted Minor’s Permit
    1. Available to minors who have held an instructional permit for at least 180 days or 90 days, along the completion of an approved driver’s education program.
    2. Must pass the road skills exams before issuance.
  3. Full Operator Driver’s License
    1. Available to minors who are 16 years of age or older.
    2. Must have held a restricted minor’s permit for at least six months.

The primary difference in the DPS driver’s license application process for minors is that they must begin with an instructional permit and then graduate to a provisional license.

Throughout the process, motorists who are younger than 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to submit any application forms or take any driving exams.

Drivers Ed Requirements to Get a Driving Permit in South Dakota

Minors who are applying for a new driver’s license in South Dakota can benefit greatly from enrolling in an approved driver’s education program. In the case of a restricted minor’s permit, this type of course is also required. In general, these programs share important driver license information and traffic safety tips, which can be extremely useful to new motorists.

Overall, the DPS can help interested applicants to find a suitable course available near them. Moreover, approved courses can reduce the amount of time that teen drivers must wait until they can transition from a provisional license to a full license.

South Dakota Drivers License Costs

The South Dakota drivers license cost is different depending on each type of credential. As such, the state Department of Public Safety has a schedule that reflects current fees:

  • Driver’s license – $28
  • Instruction permit – $28
  • Restricted minor’s permit – $28
Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.