The state of Louisiana 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.
Disabled veteran registration and driver license fee waiver
Disabled veterans are eligible to receive a Disabled Veteran license plate free of charge. In order to qualify, you must provide the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles with documentation from Veterans Affairs verifying service-connected disability of at least 50%. The DV plate is free for your lifetime, although there is an $8 handling fee except on renewals. Veterans who qualify for this plate may also request a free permanent handicap placard, entitling you to park in spaces designated for those with disabilities.
Disabled veterans are also eligible for exemption from driver license fees, including Classes D and E, as well as CDL. In order to qualify for a free license you must have honorable discharge, and receive compensation from the U.S. government for a service-connected disability of at least 50%. Find out more here.
Driver’s license veteran designation
Louisiana veterans are eligible for a veteran designation on a driver license or state ID card. This allows you to easily display your veteran status to businesses and other organizations that offer benefits to military members, without having to carry your discharge papers around everywhere you go. In order to get a license with this designation you must have received honorable discharge, and be able to provide the OMV with one of the qualifying documents downloadable here. There is only a fee for this designation if you choose to add it prior to the renewal date.
Military honor plates
Louisiana offers an extensive selection of military license plates commemorating the different military branches, service medals, specific campaigns, and individual battles. Eligibility for each of these plates requires certain criteria be met, including proof of current or past military service (honorable discharge), proof of having participated in a specific battle, or discharge papers or U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs documentation of the award received.
Military skills test waiver
This is a unique military and veteran benefit instituted in 2011 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It consists of a provision within the Commercial Learner’s Permit rule, allowing states to give qualified military personnel the option to skip the skills test portion of the CDL testing process. There are, of course, certain stipulations you must meet in order to avoid taking the skills test. These include at least two years of experience driving heavy military vehicles, and that experience must have occurred within a year of the time when you make application for the waiver.
There is a standard application provided by the federal government here. Some states compose their own waiver application – check with your licensing agency for program information. You will still have to take the written examination, regardless of qualification for the military skills test waiver.
Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012
This act allows for active military personnel to obtain a CDL even when stationed outside their state of residence. If you’re in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Reserves, or National Guard, you may qualify for this benefit.
Driver license renewal while deployed
If you’re stationed out of state you may be able to request that the OMV flag your license as Valid Military, which will allow your driver license to remain valid until 60 days after discharge or your return to the state. Contact the OMV at (225).925.4195 to inquire about having this designation applied to your driver license. You can also choose to have this flag applied to your license at the time that you enlist in the military, or prior to being deployed.
Non-resident military personnel driver license and vehicle registration
Louisiana honors out-of-state driver’s licenses and vehicle registration for non-resident military stationed within the state. This courtesy is also extended to dependents of non-resident military personnel stationed in the state with the service member.
Military personnel are also exempted from use tax on vehicles brought into the state, as long as they can prove that sales tax was paid on the vehicle in one of the 50 states. You will need to provide copies of your orders and military ID, as well as verification of active duty, provided by a commanding officer.
Active or veteran military personnel can read more at the state’s motor vehicle division website here, or you may use the OMV’s Contact Us page if you cannot find the answer to your military question on the website.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Louisiana and was authored by Valerie Johnston.