The process of acquiring a driver’s license varies from state to state and can be complicated depending on individual circumstances. Here are the requirements for a Florida driver’s license broken down by Way.com.
Types of driver’s licenses in Florida
Class E (Non-Commercial)
This is the kind of license that most people have. It lets you drive any noncommercial motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 26,001 pounds. This includes a passenger car, a 15-passenger van, a truck, a recreational vehicle, or a two- or three-wheel motor vehicle, like a moped. If you are at least 80 years old, it is good for 6 years.
Class A (Commercial)
Allows you to drive trucks or truck combinations with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more and a towed vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds.
Class B/C (Commercial)
You can drive straight trucks with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more with a Class B license. With a Class C license, you can carry dangerous goods or more than 16 people (including the driver) in a vehicle with a GVWR of fewer than 26,001 pounds.
“Motorcycle Only” License
Allows you to ride motorcycles with engines bigger than 50 cc that have two or three wheels. You can also add a motorcycle endorsement to your current commercial or noncommercial driver’s license.
What are the requirements for a driver’s license in Florida?
To get a driver’s license in Florida, you must be at least 16 years old. Before you can go to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), you’ll need the following papers:
- Primary identification: US birth certificate, US passport, certificate of naturalization, certificate of citizenship, or valid alien registration receipt card (such as a green card)
- Social Security number: your Social Security card, W-2 form, paycheck with your full SSN, 1099 form, or military ID.
- Proof of residential address: a mortgage statement, lease agreement, Florida voter registration card, car insurance bill, W-2 or 1099 form, utility bill, or letter from a homeless shelter or halfway house.
On the FLHSMV website, you can find a full list of the documents you can use to apply for a license based on your immigration and citizenship status. Lastly, if you have any physical or mental conditions, like epilepsy or fainting spells, that could affect your driving, you must list them on your application and may need a medical report form from your doctor.
What are the requirements for young drivers?
Applicants under the age of 18 need permission from their parents and must have a learner’s license for at least a year or until they turn 18. Also, you’ll need the following to get your license before you turn 18:
- Certification from a legal guardian that you drove for at least 50 hours, 10 of which were at night.
- Good school attendance
How to get a driver’s license in Florida for new drivers
Take the TLSAE course
If it’s your first time getting a driver’s license anywhere, not just in Florida, you’ll have to take a course on traffic laws and drug use (TLSAE). This course, which you can take online or in a classroom, will teach you the most important Florida traffic laws, especially those that deal with safety on the road and drinking and driving.
Get your vision test
Before you can apply for a driver’s license, you need to make sure you can see the road. In general, you must have 20/40 vision or better in each eye to meet Florida’s requirements. If you don’t, you’ll be sent to a specialist. But if you’ve been to the eye doctor and got glasses, you can pass with 20/70 vision as long as neither eye is worse than 20/200.
Attend the knowledge test
Once you’ve finished your TLSAE course and passed your vision test, you’re ready for the next step: the Class E Knowledge Exam. This is the written part of your driving test. It has 50 multiple-choice questions about traffic laws, road safety, and road signs in Florida.
Use the Florida Driver License Handbook to study for your written test. It has all the information you’ll need to pass the test. The FLHSMV also has a practice test you can take online, but people over 18 will have to take the real test at an HSMV testing location. To pass the Class E Knowledge Exam, you need to get 40 of the 50 questions right, which is 80 percent.
Take the driving test
You can schedule a road test at any FLHSMV service center, which is the last step on the way to getting your Florida driver’s license. You’ll need to bring your own car, which must have the following:
- A working horn, brakes, tires, steering wheels, turn signals, rear-view mirrors, and brake lights
- Functional windshield wipers, headlights, and seatbelts
- A valid license plate
- Adequate fuel
- Good visibility through all windows
Bring all of your paperwork with you for your Florida driving test.
What maneuvers will you be asked to perform in a driving test?
Be ready to do the following things during the exam:
- A three-point turn
- Approaching an intersection
- Observe right of way
- Parking in standard conditions and on a hill
- A quick stop from 20 mph
- Moving in reverse for about 50 feet
- Signaling, turning, and passing
- Staying in your lane
Your teacher will also keep a close eye on you to make sure you correctly follow all traffic signals, like stop signs. They’ll pay attention to how close you drive behind other cars and how you stand.
If you pass your driving test, you can show your paperwork and pay $48 to get your own Florida driver’s license. On the day of your test, the FLHSMV will give you a provisional license. Your real license will come in the mail in a few weeks.
How to replace or renew your driver’s license in Florida
At a DHSMV Driver License Service Center, you can renew your license in person. But if you can’t renew online or by mail, you have to do it in person. The fee to renew is $48, plus a $15 late fee (if applicable).
If you legally changed your name so that it doesn’t match the name on your paperwork, you must also update your name with the Social Security Administration before you bring your paperwork to the Driver License Service Center. Send the original or a certified copy of proof that your name has changed, like a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or death certificate from the state. Photocopies are not acceptable. Changing your name on your US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) documents is also important if you are not a US citizen.
You should still be able to renew your license even if it has expired for a year. You will have to pay a $15 late fee, and the DHSMV may ask you to retake the knowledge test. If your license has expired for more than a year, you can’t renew it. You’ll have to get a new one.
What if you got a valid out-of-state license?
If you are at least 16 years old, you can transfer your driver’s license from another state. And if your license from another state is still valid, you will only have to pass a vision and hearing test. If you don’t, you might have to take the knowledge and skills tests.
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