The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the past, or are current active military members.
Vehicle registration benefits
Disabled veterans with a 100% service-connected permanent disability are eligible for an Idaho license plate with no fees charged. You must request a Disabled Veteran Plate Eligibility Letter from the Veterans Administration Regional Office. You can call the office at (208) 429-2145 or visit in person at 550 West Fort Street in Boise, ID.
Driver’s license veteran designation
Idaho veterans are eligible for a military designation on their driver license in the form of the word “Veteran” in black on the top center of the license or ID card. In order to qualify, you must bring proof of veteran status and honorable discharge (such as a DD 214 or verification letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs) to your local driver’s license office. There is no extra fee when doing adding the designation during a renewal. If adding the veteran designation between renewal periods, you will be charged a $15 duplicate license fee.
Military honor plates
Idaho offers a variety of veteran and military plates, including:
Congressional Medal of Honor
Former Prisoner of War
Veteran plate (vehicle or motorcycle)
National Guard Member
Pearl Harbor Survivor
Gold Star Family plate (available to immediate family members of a military member killed in service who was the recipient of a Gold Star lapel pin)
Armed Forces Reserves (five branches)
All plates except disabled veteran require a $25 fee on top of standard registration fees. A portion of the fee for Gold Star Family plates goes to support programs for veterans.
In order to qualify for a military license plate in Idaho you must provide proof of eligibility, such as:
- Military ID
- Discharge papers (DD 214)
- Verification provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
You can print the Military License Plate Application here.
Military skills test waiver
The Commercial Learner’s Permit rule, instituted in 2011 by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), makes it simpler for veterans and military personnel with experience driving commercial vehicles as part of their service to get a CDL upon their return home. The purpose of the law is to permit you to bypass the CDL skills test. If you wish to take advantage of this military benefit, however, you must meet certain requirements. You’ve got to possess at least two years of experience driving heavy military vehicles, and that experience must have been within a year before you apply for the waiver.
You must also be able to demonstrate certain things to your local licensing agency. These include your ability as a safe driver, not having held any license outside of your regular driver license and military driver license during the prior two years, not having had a motor vehicle violation conviction that would prevent you from having a CDL, and not having had your license revoked, suspended, or cancelled.
As long as you don’t have any disqualifying offenses, you can apply for the military skills test waiver in any state, including Idaho. The FMCSA provides a universal waiver here, although some states have their own so you will want to check with your local agency. Applicants still have to complete the written CDL exam.
Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012
This law makes it possible for those stationed away from their home state to obtain a CDL in their current location. This benefit is available to active service personnel in the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, Reserves, Coast Guard, and CG Auxiliary. You can apply for your CDL whether you’re temporarily or permanently stationed in Idaho.
Driver license and registration renewal while deployed
If you expect to be deployed during the time when your Idaho driver license expires, it’s best to renew before you deploy. You may renew your driver license up to 25 months ahead of the expiration date. Alternatively, you can apply for an extension for up to four years. The state recommends applying for the extension within six months but no later than two months before the expiration date. You can find the application here.
There are no exceptions or extensions for vehicle registration renewal for Idaho residents who are military personnel. You can renew up to a year ahead of time, either by mailing the required fee to your local office or by checking to see if your home county participates in online renewal.
Non-resident military personnel driver license and vehicle registration
Idaho honors out-of-state driver license and vehicle registration for non-resident military personnel stationed in the state.
Active or veteran military personnel can read more at the state’s motor vehicle division website here.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho and was authored by Valerie Johnston.