Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Florida
Age Take Driver's Education Apply for Learner's License Complete 50 Hours, Supervised Driving Apply for Class E Operator's License (restricted) Apply for Class E (restrictions released) 15 X X X 16 & 17 X X X X 18 X
Graduated Driver’s License Program
Founded in 1996, Florida's Graduated Driver’s License program was one of the first in the nation. A teen goes through three stages of increasing driver responsibility, showing he is capable of handling each one, before obtaining a full, permanent driver’s license.
To get an unrestricted Class E license, teens between the ages of 15 and 17 must:
- Take a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course through a private company or a school.
- Apply for a Learner’s License.
- Practice driving for 50 hours (10 of which are at night) with a parent or other licensed person 21 years or older.
- Take a driver’s training class with a professional. It isn't mandatory, but smart. Driver's training classes allows an applicant to get a waiver for the driving test.
- Hold the Learner’s License for one year before applying for an Operator’s License.
- Hold the Operator’s License for one year.
You may take a state-approved driver’s ed program or one offered through your high school.
New to the State
If you’re new to the state and have a non-provisional license from another state, you’ll still have to go through the graduated driver license program.
However, you can skip the Learner’s License if you’ve had your license for at least a year, and go straight to the Operator’s License if you have taken the Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course. Just show your out-of-state license. You may still have to take a written, hearing, vision, and driving test.
If you have taken driver’s training in another state and want to get your driving test waived, you will need to inquire at the DHSMV office or the main customer service line at (850) 617-2000 as to whether they’ll accept the course from your old state.
- Study the driver handbook and take a practice test to prep for your written test.
- Have your parent or guardian sign the Parental Consent Form, and get it notarized if he can’t accompany you when you apply. (Keep in mind, if you’re under age 18 and not married, your parent or guardian must accompany you to sign this form.)
- Don't forget your proof that you passed a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course.
- Bring both a certified primary and secondary identification, proof of residence, your Social Security card (if you have one),
- Be prepared to pass a written test (either online through the American Safety Council* or in person through the FLHSMV), covering Florida traffic signs and laws.
- Be prepared to pass a vision test with 20/40 or better vision, and a hearing test.
- Have payment for the $27 fee. This fee covers all the stages of your driver's licenses, including your regular license (unless you need to retake tests).
- Make an appointment online or call your local driver's license office or the main number at (850) 617-2000.
*First-time drivers can save time and hassle by taking your knowledge test online through the American Safety Council. Keep in mind this is the only provider authorized by the state to offer online driver license tests. You must have a legal guardian attest to monitoring you (plus provide a notarized document sign by this guardian), provide your full Social Security number, or if no SSN has been issued, you can enter an Alien ID number, Admissions number or Florida ID card number. Learn more on these online driver license test requirements through American Safety Council's web site for first-time drivers.
Learner’s License Restrictions
When you have a Learner’s License, you must only drive in the daylight with a licensed driver (21 year old or older) in the front seat. If you go three months with no problems, you can drive until 10 p.m.
Now you have to hold the Learner’s License for a year. You must practice 50 hours during over those 12 months, 10 hours at night. Your parent or guardian must fill out and sign a form confirming you properly performed the practice hours.
You aren't required to take a driver’s training course, but you can use it to skip out of your driving test.
Parents can use this Skills Mastery Checklist to test whether their teens are ready for the driving test.
Once you've held a Learner's Permit for one year, you may apply for an Operator's, or Class E, license. Some restrictions apply.
To get an Operator's License:
- Find your Learner’s License, or license from another state if you just moved here. You must submit this.
- Fill out a driving hour certification and have your parent or guardian sign it.
- Be ready to take a driving test or show proof of passing an approved driver training course. If you fail, the retake fee for the driving test is $10.
- Make an appointment to go to a driver’s license office. This isn't mandatory, but will save you time.
Operator’s License Restrictions
With an Operator’s License, you may drive between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. (at age 16) or 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. (age 17). If you drive at any other time, you must take a 21-year-old (or older) licensed driver with you in the front seat, or be heading to or from your employment.
Parents can also use monitoring services. These range from from magnets proclaiming “Caution-Newly Licensed,” to monitoring teens via cell phone and GPS.
After you turn 18, you may drive anytime with anyone you like.
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