Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Florida
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Whether you’re a teen who wants to get a driver’s license or a new Florida resident, you’ll have to apply to get a driver’s license.
The state offers:
- Class E licenses (passenger cars, pickup trucks)
- Commercial Driver Licenses
NOTE: If you’re under age 18, you must follow Florida’s driver’s license permit system. You’ll start with a restricted permit, take a course, and practice until you have enough experience to get an unrestricted license. Teens under age 18 can also take their FL driver license test online through the American Safety Council.
Moving From Another State
If you’re a new resident, take in your Social Security card (not a copy), a primary ID (a valid passport or Certificate of Naturalization) and a secondary ID (your driver's license from another state is considered secondary). Then take the vision and hearing tests, and pay the $48 fee. The state usually waives the written and road tests.
You must take a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Course if you’ve never had a license anywhere before.
If you’ve had a license already, it doesn’t hurt to take a supplemental course to familiarize yourself with Florida traffic laws.
The state exam covers Florida road rules and road signs. Study the Florida Driver’s Handbook beforehand.
Note: Only first-time drivers between 14 and 18 years old may take an online driver's license exam through the American Safety Council. That means instead of taking the written test in person at an FLHSMV office, you can complete the test from your home computer.
Either way you test, don’t forget to get a few practice tests under your belt, too.
Make an appointment to take your written test. Call more than one office if you don’t find an appointment time that works for you.
Be prepared to:
- Have proof that you passed the drug and alcohol course.
- Bring the parental consent form, if you’re a minor.
- Take the vision and hearing tests.
- Show your Social Security card, if you have one.
- Provide two items showing proof of your Florida address.
- Provide one primary and one secondary form of identification (a passport would be primary, while a marriage certificate would be secondary), as well as proof of your date of birth. The state offers a list of acceptable forms.
- Have proper payment.
After you’ve thoroughly studied the rules of the road and perhaps taken a Driver’s Ed course, you’re ready to take the test. Again, those under age 18 can test online through the American Safety Council. Otherwise, you must take the driver license test in person at an FL DHSMV office.
If you fail, you’ll be charged $10 to retake it.
If you’re going to be doing lots of driving, it’s only natural to shop for a car. A used car may be a great deal for you. Just be sure to get a Vehicle History Report before you buy. This report can reveal a multitude of problems, such as a salvaged title or flood damage, and is well worth the money.
Insurance is the next step after you buy a car. Shop around for the best deal. Ask if the company offers a good driver or a good student discount.
Make an appointment for a road test.
You’ll have to provide a car with adequate car insurance, and a valid registration. The car will be safety inspected, too.
Once You Pass
You’ll be issued your license right then and there.
If You Fail
You’ll be charged $20 to take the test again. Ask for another appointment; the representative will tell you when you can retake the test.
You’ll have to show identification, date of birth, and a Social Security number if you have one. Specific requirements for different situations are explained on the official website.
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