How to Apply for a Florida Driver’s License

To get a Florida driver’s license, applicants must be at least 15 years old and pay a $48 fee.
Written by Kianna Walpole
Edited by R.E. Fulton
background
To get your
Florida
driver’s license, you must be at least 16 years old and able to provide valid identification and proof of address. However, depending on whether you’re a current resident or a newcomer, this process will vary. 
  • Drivers must be at least 15 years of age to obtain a Florida Learner’s License and 16 for a Class E driver’s license. 
  • The average cost for an original Class E license is $48 with a potential additional service fee of $6.25. 
  • When applying for a Florida driver’s license, applicants will need to bring proof of identification and pass a knowledge test, road test, and vision and hearing exam. 
  • Newcomers to Florida can transfer their valid out-of-state or valid foreign license to a Florida driver’s license as long as they are 16 years of age. 

Florida driver’s license requirements

In the state of Florida, there are three types of licenses that driver’s can get based on their individual needs: 
  • Commercial license: Also known as a
    commercial driver’s license
    (CDL), this license is typically used for drivers who want to drive transportation trucks and larger vehicles surpassing the 26,0001 lb limit. It’s broken down into Class A and Class B/C licenses.
  • Non-commercial license: This is the most common type of license and is also known as a Class E license. Drivers who want to operate only motor vehicles will select this option. 
  • Motorcycle-only license: This limits drivers to motorcycles-only, and is generally given as an M1 or M2 classification. 
Eligibility deems that you must be at least 16 years old to get a Florida non-commercial or motor-cycle only driver’s license. The CDL age requirement is 18. 
To get a Florida driver’s license, new drivers must first get and hold a learner’s license for one year before they can apply for an intermediate or Class E license. Each license has its own requirements and tests, so before you visit your local DMV, it’s best to know exactly what you need and how to prepare.

Florida’s learner’s driver’s license

A learner’s license (or
learner’s permit
) is the first step toward obtaining a full Class E license. It’s available for individuals who are 15 years of age or older and will cost $48 plus a potential $6.25 license fee, depending on your service location.
After completing the
Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE)
traffic school course, you can apply for a learner’s license at a Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV)
service center
.
Once you book an appointment using the
MyDMV portal
, you will need a legal guardian or parent to sign the
Parental Consent
form. Make sure to bring this completed form with you. 
When arriving for your appointment, make sure to have the following documentation:
  • Identification card (ID card)  
  • Birth certificate 
  • Social security number (or proof of ineligibility if you’re not a U.S. citizen) 
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship 
  • Residential address in Florida
Next, you will be required to pass a vision and hearing exam. If you’re deemed eligible to drive, you will need to pass the knowledge test, either online or in-person. 
Did you know? Color blindness and deafness won’t prevent you from getting a learner’s license. Rather, you may be asked to wear a hearing aid when driving to increase awareness.
Once you have your learner’s license, you can safely drive under the following conditions
  • Must be accompanied by a licensed driver of at least 21 years of age. 
  • Can only drive in the daylight hours for the first 3 months.
  • Can drive until 10 p.m. after the first 3 months.
Those with a learner’s license must hold it for at least one year and have at least 50 hours of supervised driving to obtain an intermediate or Class E license. 

Intermediate/Class E Florida driver’s license

Once you meet all the requirements and surpass the one year time limit for a learner’s license, you’re eligible to get an intermediate or Class E Florida driver’s license (if you’re 18).
Not all drivers opt for an intermediate license, as after you turn 18, it transitions into a Class E license—but it might be beneficial if you’re a new driver wanting more practice time before taking that next step.
Fun fact: In applying for your learner’s permit, you paid the fee for your intermediate license. So, in other words, there’s no additional charge! 
The steps to obtain an intermediate and Class E license are the same as a learner’s permit. Drivers will need to complete the TLSAE course and bring the same documentation to their appointment. 
The only difference is in testing, with the addition of an on-road driver’s examination alongside the knowledge, vision, and hearing tests. 
Keep in mind: There are still restrictions for the intermediate license, such as no driving unsupervised after 11 p.m. until you’re legally 18. After 18, this time limit extends to 1 a.m. until you obtain your Class E license.

Florida REAL ID

The process for getting a
REAL ID compliant driver’s license in Florida
is the same as the process for any Class E license—but you’ll need to provide additional documentation to prove your identity and legal residency. 

What’s on the Class E driver’s license knowledge exam in Florida?

In order to obtain any form of state driver’s license, Florida residents and newcomers must pass the knowledge test. Each state has different requirements and regulations, so their tests will differ slightly. 
The Florida knowledge test consists of 50 multiple choice questions based on the
Florida Driver’s Handbook
. Applicants looking for a first time driver’s license must answer 40 questions correctly, or get a final score of 80% to pass. 
For a Class E license, you are required to take the knowledge test in person at a Florida DMV service center, unless you are under the age of 18. 
The knowledge test for both the learner’s permit and Class E license typically address: 
If you’re ever unsure of your knowledge before getting your license, you can always refer to the driver’s handbook, take online practice tests, or brush up on your knowledge with certificates from a
third-party certified examination center
.

What’s on the driving skill test for a Florida driver’s license?

For the driving portion of your test, you will need to bring your own vehicle. While some service centers supply cars, it’s always best to bring the one you will be using on a frequent or daily basis.
Before hitting the road, your instructor will assess your vehicle to make sure it’s working properly. They will likely look for the following things:
  • Defective horn, rearview mirror, signals, steering, brakes, tires, brake lights, or tail lights
  • Defective windshield wipers 
  • Defective headlights
  • Cracked glass 
  • Expired driving tag
  • Doesn’t meet bumper height requirements
If your vehicle is approved, you will begin driving, and these are the types of maneuvers you may run into: 
Driving maneuver
What they’re looking for
Three point turn
Turning the vehicle around in a 20-40 ft spot.
Crossing intersection
Make sure to check in both directions and get in the proper lane.
Yielding right-of-way
Allowing pedestrians to cross, stopping for emergency vehicles, and not entering an intersection that will interfere with traffic flow. 
Straight in parking
Pulling into the center of a straight parking spot with no part of the vehicle sticking out into traffic.
Parking on a grade
Parking uphill and downhill, as well as with and without a curb.
Passing 
Always focus on what’s coming ahead and behind, and use your signals.
Backing
Backing up your vehicle up to 50 ft at a slow speed without using a rear-view mirror or camera. 
Signaling and turning
Turning on your signal at the last 100 ft and being in the proper lane. 
If you fail this portion of the test, you will be told your errors and requested to practice before taking a re-test for $20. If you pass, you will be able to surrender your learner’s license.

How to get a Florida driver’s license as a new resident

Moving to the Sunshine State can be exciting—but if you’re moving with your vehicle, you’ll need to trade in your old state license for a new license to keep your driving privileges. 
After arriving in Florida, you have 30 days to apply for a new driver license. When applying for a Florida driver’s license, the Florida DMV will classify your out-of-state license by two categories: 
  • Valid out-of-state: For U.S. citizens from another state. 
  • Valid foreign: For citizens of other countries, such as Canada, France, or Germany.
For both categories, the following steps will be taken to obtain a Florida license: 
  1. Transfer your license: To start the process, you’ll need to book an appointment at your local DMV.
  2. Go to appointment: For your appointment, you’ll need to make sure you have proof of identity using either a U.S. birth certificate, passport, consular report, or certificate of citizenship.
  3. Pass a vision test: If you are deemed to have 20/40 vision, you will be referred to an eye specialist.
  4. Pass a hearing test: If you’re deaf, you will be asked to wear a hearing aid while driving.
  5. Surrender old license: Next, you’ll have your photo taken, and surrender your previous license.
  6. Pay driver’s license fee: The standard fee is $48 with a potential $6.25 fee depending on the service center you visit. 
Those with a valid foreign license have slightly different processes depending on which country they are coming from. For example, newcomers from Canada will be required to either surrender their Canadian driver’s license, or pass a knowledge and driving skill test. Someone from Germany, however, may only be required to complete a driving test. 

How to apply for insurance with different Florida licenses

Depending on your age or license classification, you may either pay higher or lower insurance premium rates. For example, motorcycle insurance is often cheaper than automobile insurance as they’re not always used all year round—even in the Sunshine State.
Most drivers with a learner’s permit or intermediate license can apply as a first-time driver with their parent’s insurance provider, or apply for their own if they have their own vehicle. Similarly, Class E drivers that are young adults or teen drivers can remain on their parent’s insurance—which usually costs less to do so—or get their own separate insurance. 
However, in either scenario, it’s best to make sure that you have the state minimum insurance on your policy to make sure that you are complying with
Florida insurance laws
.
If budget is of concern, there are a few strategies to help lower your costs, including: 
  • Asking for discounts: Some insurance providers offer
    insurance discounts
    for good driving, students and teen drivers, or multi-vehicle policies. 
  • Compare auto insurance prices
    : You can also always shop around and compare prices from different providers. There’s no need to stick with a policy that isn’t suiting your personal or financial needs. 

FAQs

Florida residents and newcomers can book an appointment for driver license services online, but you can only get your full license by visiting a local driver license office, as you need to complete a driver’s skill test. 
However, the FLHSMV website does offer other online services, such as driver’s license renewals and replacements.
The Florida driver skills test for Class E and intermediate licenses take about 20 minutes and in most cases, won’t run later than 30 minutes. 
Yes, you do need a Florida driver’s license to register a vehicle in Florida. 
If you were never issued a Social Security number, you’ll need a written letter from the Social Security Administration verifying that you never received a number. If you do have a SSN but can’t find the card, you can use a W-2, a paycheck or pay stub, or a 1099 form—as long as it includes your full name and Social Security number. 
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