Changes to the Arizona Driver License

What the Arizona Driver License Looks Like

AZ Driver License
••• © Arizona Dept. of Transportation

As of 2014, the Arizona Department of Transportation's Department of Motor Vehicles changed the state's driver license. Along with a few physical changes for fraud detection and the addition of medical information, you will no longer get a permanent license on the same day. You will be issued a temporary license and the permanent one will be mailed to you within two weeks. Your temporary license expires within 30 days of issue.

Air Travel With the License

Currently, your Arizona driver's license is a sufficient form of identification if you are traveling via air and will be passing through security. However, that policy changes effective October 1, 2020. The standard Arizona driver's license will no longer be accepted by the Transportation Security Administration to pass through airport security to board commercial aircraft. The ID will not be allowed for use to access restricted areas in federal facilities, nuclear power plants, and military facilities.

Only the REAL ID compliant Voluntary Travel ID will be accepted.

Currently, if you have applied for a permanent Arizona driver's license and only have a temporary license while you wait for your permanent license, that temporary license will not be sufficient for air travel, according to the TSA. Your ID must "show a valid U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID that contains a name, date of birth, expiration date, social security number, phone number, and a tamper-resistant feature." The temporary license does not qualify. Your best alternative is a passport. Otherwise, you will need a second form of identification.

The Physical Look

If you look at a sample of the redesigned license, it has a larger photo than previous licenses, with a smaller ghost portrait. The ringtail, the state mammal, is illustrated on the front. The barcode is on the back of the AZ driver license.

For enhanced security and authentication, the license has a laser perforation in the shape of Arizona, if you hold it up to the light, you can see it. There are unique Arizona geological features in the background created by using many different patterns, lines, and images.

The date of birth field has a raised feel to it. A specialized laminate overlay on the card gives a tricolor, optically variable image of the state outline, the state name “Arizona,” the state seal, a saguaro cactus, and a star.

Medical Alert Information

Another field of information that is asked on driver's license applications is for the driver to note a medical alert situation. This information is now indicated on the front of the Arizona driver license

Different License for Drivers Under 21

It is easy to identify drivers who are under 21 years of age because their licenses are different. The under-21 license is vertically oriented, flipping the orientation of the rectangular license on its side not horizontal. To the left of the photo, it indicates that the driver is "under 21" and then mentions the date that the person becomes 21.

License for Drivers Under 18

Also in Arizona, the state has graduated driver licensing. Since it has been clearly shown that teenage drivers are high-risk drivers, this Class G license is for individuals who are under 18 years of age. There are three basic steps to this system.

Beginning at 15 years and 6 months of age, a person can get a Class G instruction permit. A written and vision test is required. A licensed driver who is at least 21 years old must be in the front passenger seat at all times.

Once 16, a person can get a Class G License. A teen must have completed 30 hours of supervised, behind-the-wheel daytime driving practice plus 10 hours of supervised, behind the wheel nighttime driving practice before applying for a graduated driver license. The teen must hold a class G permit for at least six months.

For the first six months of the Class G Driver License, a teen may not drive between the hours of midnight to 5 a.m. unless a parent or legal guardian with a valid driver license is in the front passenger seat, or unless the teen is driving to or from a sanctioned school-sponsored activity, sanctioned religious activity, place of employment, or family emergency. A teen with a Class G driver license may not drive with more than one passenger under the age of 18 on a public highway, unless they are siblings, or unless a parent or legal guardian with a valid driver license is in the front passenger seat.

Once a driver reaches 18, they can apply for a standard Class D license.