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If you’re considering moving to Florida, a big part of settling into your new life in the Sunshine State is getting a driver’s license. Like all states, Florida requires drivers to be licensed in the state, but the requirements vary depending on your age, whether you’re transferring a license from out of state, or whether you’re getting licensed for the first time.
Here’s what you should know about getting a Florida driver’s license.
You can apply for a driver’s license at any local office. Check out theFLHSMV’s list of locations by county to find one near you. You’ll also have to take a vision test when you apply for a license, although you may not need to take a written or road test if you’re transferring a valid license from out of state.
How much does a Florida driver’s license cost?
In Florida, getting a driver’s license is relatively affordable. A standard Class E license or learner’s permit fee is $48, and you’ll pay the same price to renew your driver’s license. Many local tax authorities also tack on a $6.25 service fee, although veterans are exempt from the extra fee.
How to get a teen driver’s license in Florida
Florida has graduated driver’s license laws that help new teen drivers gain skills under lower-risk conditions.
The process starts by applying for a Florida learner’s license. To qualify for a learner’s license, you must:
Be at least 15 years old
Have a signed and notarized Parental Consent Form (if under age 18)
Provide proof of completing a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course
Pass a vision and hearing test and written exam
Bring proof of your identity, SSN, and address
After you turn 16 and have your learner’s license for at least one year, you can apply for a regular driver’s license. Your parent, legal guardian, or another responsible adult over the age of 21 must complete a form certifying you’ve had 50 hours of driving experience, including at least 10 hours of night driving.
You’ll also need to:
Have no moving violations on your record
Pass a driving skills test using a vehicle that’s registered and insured and passes a basic inspection to confirm it’s safe for a driving test
Provide proof of your identity, Social Security number, and address
While you have your learner’s license or are under age 18, you’ll have additional restrictions on your driving privileges. The table below summarizes those restrictions.
Hours Allowed to Drive
Daylight hours for first three months, until 10 p.m. after three months
Must always be accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 or older
Start working at a job or start a business in Florida
Enroll your child(ren) in a Florida public school
Register to vote in the state
File for a homestead tax exemption on property located in Florida
Have lived in the state for more than six consecutive months
To transfer your out-of-state license to Florida, you must bring documentation proving your identification, Social Security number, and address. Florida doesn’t accept an out-of-state license as proof of your identity.
If you don’t have the necessary documentation, you can get a 60-day temporary permit, as long as your out-of-state license is valid or has been expired for 60 days or less. This temporary permit allows you to drive legally in Florida for 60 days while you gather the necessary paperwork.
Once you have the necessary documents, the FLHSMV recommends making an appointment at a local office. You must pass a vision test and pay the $48 fee (plus any applicable local taxes) to get your Florida license.
The FLHSMV will verify that the name on your driver’s license matches your Social Security number. If you’ve changed your name, you’ll need to renew your license in person.
Pay the $48 renewal fee (plus any local service fee and a $2 convenience fee).
Once you renew your license online, you should receive it in the mail within two to three weeks. You can only renew your license online every other renewal period.
To renew your driver’s license in person:
Make an appointment at a local office.
Bring proof of your identity, SSN, and residence address. If your name has changed since you last renewed your license, make sure you change your name with the SSA before visiting the FLHSMV.
Pass a vision test.
Pay the $48 renewal fee and any local service fee.
What are Florida’s minimum liability insurance requirements?
In Florida, drivers must carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to operate a vehicle legally. This requires all drivers to have at least $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 of property damage liability coverage.
Florida doesn’t accept out-of-state insurance policies, so all drivers must obtain a policy from an insurance company licensed in Florida.
If you lease or finance your vehicle, your leasing company or lender will likely require you to carry full-coverage car insurance. Comprehensive and collision coverages protect your car from damage, while liability protects the other vehicle, driver, and passengers in a crash you cause.
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Florida driver’s license FAQs
If you’re new to driving in Florida, here are answers to some of the most common questions about applying for, obtaining, and maintaining your driver’s license in the state.
What counts as proof of residency in Florida?
Acceptable proof of residency includes two documents that prove your current address, such as utility bills, rental agreements, mortgage statements, or a current homeowners or auto insurance policy.
What is the fastest way to get a Florida driver’s license?
The fastest way to get a Florida driver’s license is to make an appointment at an FLHSMV office and bring the necessary documentation. Read through the FLHSMV’s list of what to bring before you go so you don’t leave empty-handed. Most driver’s license locations in Florida accept walk-ins on a limited basis, so it’s a good idea to make an appointment to shorten your wait time.
Can you get a Florida driver’s license without a car?
Yes, getting a Florida driver’s license is possible even if you don’t have a car. If you have a valid license from out of state, you won’t need to take a driving skills test. However, if you aren’t transferring from another state, you’ll have to take it, and this requires using a licensed and insured vehicle. You don’t have to own the vehicle, so you can borrow one from a friend or family member to take the test.
How long does it take to get a new driver’s license in Florida?
Getting a driver’s license in Florida doesn’t take long. When you apply for your license in person, the FLHSMV prints a temporary driver’s license while you wait. You’ll receive your new driver’s license in the mail within two to four weeks.
Can you get a Florida driver’s license if you’re not a U.S. citizen?
Yes, you can obtain a Florida driver’s license even if you’re not a U.S. citizen. To be eligible for a driver’s license, non-U.S. citizens must first provide:
Proof of primary identification, such as a valid alien registration receipt card
Proof of Social Security number or, if you’re not eligible for an SSN, a letter of ineligibility from the SSA
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. "Locations." Accessed March 8, 2023
Janet Berry-Johnson, CPA is a freelance writer with a background in accounting and income tax planning and preparation. She's passionate about making complicated financial topics accessible to readers. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and son and their rescue dog, Dexter. Visit her website at www.jberryjohnson.com.