The state of Mississippi 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 fee waiver
Disabled veteran residents of Mississippi are entitled to purchase on Disabled American Veteran license plate for a fee of $1. You may own one vehicle that’s exempt from ad valorem and privilege taxes. You, or a surviving spouse, must be able to provide verification from the Veterans Affairs Board that you have a 100% service-connected disability rating.
Driver’s license veteran designation
Mississippi offers veterans the opportunity to display their veteran status on their driver license or state ID card. This can help you obtain discounts and other benefits from local businesses and organizations without having to carry discharge papers with you as proof of service. In order to qualify for this indicator you must follow these steps:
At least two weeks prior to applying for vet designation from the MS Department of Public Safety you must provide the Veterans Affairs Board with:
A copy of your DD 214 or equivalent
A written request for verification of veteran status, complete with your full name, current mailing address, phone number, and signature
You must submit this request and documentation by mail or fax to:
MS Veterans Affairs Board
(Vet Drivers License)
3466 Highway 80 East
P.O. Box 5947
Pearl, MS 39288-5947
Fax #: (601) 576-4868
The Board will then stamp and seal your verification and return it to you by mail.
Military honor plates
Mississippi provides a selection of more than 30 military and veteran themed license plates. You can view available plates here.
These specialty plates have fees varying from $24 to $31, with a large portion of the proceeds for most plates going to funds that benefit veterans, except for the Gold Star Family plate – there is no charge for spouses and mothers for this plate. You can order a military plate at your local tax collector’s office at the time you register your vehicle, or upon renewal.
Military skills test waiver
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made a rule in 2011 giving SDLAs (State Driver Licensing Agencies) power to exempt U.S. Military drivers from the skills test portion of the CDL process, provided they have proper qualifications. To qualify for the waiver, you need to possess two years (minimum) of service-related truck driving experience, and you must apply within a year of being discharged from a position which required commercial vehicle operation (or within a year previous to application, if you’re still an active military member).
Over the years since the rule’s institution, all 51 U.S. territories have gotten on board with the program, including Mississippi. Active military members or veterans with applicable experience can view print the waiver here. Keep in mind, however, that you will still be required to take the written CDL test.
Military Commercial Driver’s License Act of 2012
The function of this piece of legislation is to allow active service personnel to obtain their CDL in the state where they are based, even if it’s not their state of residence. This benefit is applicable no matter which military branch you’re a part of, including the Coast Guard, Reserves, and National Guard.
Driver license and vehicle registration renewal while deployed
If you are stationed out of state or deployed overseas when your driver license is up for renewal you will need to renew by mail. You must send a copy of your license or social security card, the first page of your military orders, a letter from your commanding officer with your name, driver license number, and deployment status, and a certified check for $24 for renewal, $25 for expired renewal, and $11.00 for replacement of a lost license. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope and mail to:
P.O. Box 958
Jackson, MS 39205
You will also need to renew your vehicle registration as usual, even if you are stationed out of state at the time that your tags are due to expire. There is a list of Mississippi counties that allow online registration renewal here. If you cannot renew online, you may need to enlist the help of family or friends at home to take care of this task for you when your renewal notice arrives at your MS address.
Non-resident military personnel driver license and vehicle registration
Fortunately Mississippi does honor out-of-state driver licenses, so you and your dependents are permitted to keep your home state license if you are stationed in MS. The state also allows you to keep your vehicle’s home state registration and license plates, as long as they are kept current and valid.
Active or veteran military personnel can find out more at the state’s Department of Revenue website here.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Mississippi and was authored by Valerie Johnston.