Arizona is well known for its year-round warm weather and beautiful scenery. Motorcycle riders often include the state in their list of favorite places to ride. You can also enjoy the open road of the state. But you must first get your Class M license or Arizona motorcycle license.
You can do that by applying for one at a local office of the Arizona MVD (Motor Vehicle Department). There, you will need to complete a Driver’s License / Identification Card Application.
Then, you must pass all qualifying skills tests and pay the application fee. The minimum age to apply is 16 years.
What do you need to apply for a Class M license in the state of Arizona?
The Arizona MVD issues a Class M license for motorcycles. If you already have a regular driver’s license, you can also get a Class M endorsement instead. In that case, they will add it as a motorcycle endorsement on the back of your current standard driver’s license.
To apply, you need to be at least 16 years of age. If you are 15 years and 6 months old, you have to apply for an Arizona instruction permit first.
The first step is to apply for a motorcycle license at a local office of the AZ MVD. Check for one near you on the list here.
You will need to complete a Driver License / Identification Card Application. You will also need to submit the following documents:
- Proof of identity (birth certificate, U.S. passport, military ID card, etc.)
- Proof of social security number
- Two proofs of address
- Current and valid driver’s license from your previous state, if applicable
Then, you need to pay a license fee and make an appointment on the website. After applying, you get three tries to pass the tests in a 12-month period.
Tests you need to pass
All first-time motorcycle license applicants must pass two written tests. They are a Motorcycle Operator written exam and a Driver’s License written test. You can take both of the tests in either English or Spanish.
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) provides a Motorcycle Operator Manual and a Driver’s License Manual. You can study them to pass the tests. The manuals are based on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) regulations.
Additionally, you also need to pass a physical motorcycle skills test or road test. The motorcycle skills test is a 10- to 15-minute demonstration of your riding ability.
Exemption from written tests
If you have attended an approved motorcycle training school, you will receive a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) card. If so, you don’t have to sit for the written tests.
Additionally, those who hold an out-of-state license or endorsement are exempt from Arizona’s written and road tests.
You also need to pass a vision test or eye test. You must have uncorrected vision of 20/40 or better in at least one eye. If this is not possible without corrective lenses, you will receive a restricted “B” license. This means if you drive without your lenses, you can get a ticket.
Note: Another type of restricted motorcycle license is the “J” restriction. If you test with a 100cc or less motorcycle, you will get one. You must test with a motorcycle greater than 100cc to obtain an unrestricted class of license.
Licensing fees are based on your age. Currently, they are as follows:
- Ages 16 to 39: $25
- Ages 40 to 44: $20
- Ages 45 to 49: $15
- Ages 50 and older: $10
Check the website for more details on fees.
Additionally, once you pass the written tests, you must pay the Arizona MVD a $7 fee. This $7 fee is to add a class M endorsement to your license or to receive your motorcycle instruction permit.
The validity of your license
A very convenient and unusual aspect of getting a motorcycle license in Arizona is its validity. Once you get one, it is valid till you reach 65 years of age. However, you need to update your photo and eye test every 12 years.
On the other hand, drivers aged 60 and older will receive a five-year license.
Temporary residents such as out-of-state students and their family members may apply for a 5-year license regardless of age. The same applies to military personnel and their family members.
Graduated Driver’s License for those under 18 years
The AZ MVD issues this class of license with an Arizona motorcycle endorsement to an applicant who is at least 16. But less than 18 years of age. The license allows the holder to operate any vehicle that does not need a commercial license.
The applicant should hold both an Arizona graduated instruction permit and an Arizona motorcycle instruction permit for at least six months.
They should also complete a motorcycle driver education program approved by MVD. Or a parent or guardian must certify in writing that they have completed at least 30 hours of motorcycle riding practice.
Applying for a permit if you are under 16 years of age
If you are under 16 years but at least 15 years and 6 months, you have to apply for a permit first. After you get it, you have to hold it for 6 months and then apply for a motorcycle license. The permit must be valid at the time of application.
Then, you should pass the necessary vision exam, written motorcycle permit test, and road skills test.
If you are under 18 years, you should also complete an MVD-approved motorcycle driver education program. Or a parent or guardian must certify in writing that you have completed at least 30 hours of motorcycle riding practice.
Is insurance important?
Arizona requires every driver to have liability insurance, including motorcyclists. You need to get your license first and then get insurance.
In some cases, you may be able to get motorcycle insurance without a license. But most insurance policies require your license number for completion.
Getting a license with a medical condition?
If you have certain medical conditions, you need to declare that on your license application for safety reasons. AZDOT’s list includes sleep apnea or dementia. They can impair your ability to ride and increase your risk of being involved in a motorcycle accident.
If your medical condition worsens, you also need to report it to the Medical Review Program at the AZ MVD.
Getting a motorcycle license in Arizona is not very difficult. Anyone above the age of 16 years can make a trip to the Arizona MVD and apply for one. And then, you need to pass a vision test, two written tests, and a practical motorcycle skills test.
What makes everything even more convenient is that once you get your license, it is valid till you reach 65 years! So, it saves you the hassle of renewing it for many years. That in itself makes getting an AZ license desirable.