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New Driver’s License in Florida
Who needs a license?
With over 14 million currently licensed drivers yearly in Florida, new drivers account for more than 800,000 of these with nearly 400,000 belonging to new residents. While people moving to the state will be required to obtain a Florida license, commercial and motorcycle operators visiting must also complete the application process in order to legally operate these vehicles on roads. Teen drivers reaching age 15 may apply for a learners permit and begin the process to receive their driver’s license.
Which License is for you?
The type of license will depend on your needs. Drivers under the age of 18 and new residents are required to apply for a new driver’s license. If you intend to use your license for commercial use, whether transporting goods or passengers you will need a specific type of license called a Commercial Driver’s License or CDL, even if you currently hold a CDL in another state. Several types of licenses can be obtained in Florida depending on your specific needs including:
- Standard Class E "Driver’s License or learners permit for minors beginning the licensing process.
- Commercial Drivers License is intended for those planning to drive for a living.
- A Motorcycle License allows you to operate a motorized vehicle on public roads.
What are the requirements for Getting a License?
On January 1, 2012, Florida implemented the REAL ID federal act which has changed the requirements for a license. Assistance in preparing these documents is available through the GatherGoGet website created by the Florida DMV. Come prepared to present the follow documentation when you apply for a license:
- A primary form of identification must be provided that states your full legal name. This can be any of the approved documents but most commonly used is your original birth certificate with raised seal.
- Your secondary document must provide the DMV with proof of your citizenship in the US, or one of the approved forms showing legal presence.
- Two proofs of residency are required to complete this portion of apply for your license. This can be any two of the listed documents including utility bills or your most recent W-2 tax form. Minors can use two proofs of residency for the parent, step-parent or legal guardian in which they reside full time.
- You must pass each of the five Florida tests in the licensing process. You can study in advance using the "handbook” and cheat sheets generated by dmvcheatsheets.com to assure you know the proper information for passing written tests. In addition, take several practice tests so that you are ready to take the two exams. Dmvcheatsheets.com provides over 100 multiple-choice questions commonly found on the rules and signs test, allowing you to simulate the actual testing process and have an idea of what to expect on your day of testing.
- Your required to pay you’re licensing cost at the time of application and testing.
Age requirements by license type
- New Driver’s License applications must be at least 15 years of age in order to obtain a driver’s permit and over the age of 16 for a graduated license.
- Drivers wishing to obtain a commercial drivers license must be at least 18 years of age in order to operate a commercial vehicle transporting goods within the state of Florida. Applicants must be over the age of 21 to apply for an interstate commercial driver’s license or to drive an endorsed license for the transport of passengers.
- To operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle with an attached motor including mopeds motorized bicycles and off road vehicles must be at least 16 years of age to receive their license or a minimum of 15 ½ at the time of application.
What Tests are required to get a License?
Florida’s testing process for obtaining a license consists of five types of exams. The type of testing you will be required to take will depend on several factors including the license class, your age at the time of application and whether or not you have been previously licensed in another state:
- Hearing tests- Your ability to hear is an important aspect of safe driving therefore it is required that you pass the hearing test. If you fail you will may still receive your license but must install a left side rearview mirror and in some cases begin using a hearing aid device in order to drive.
- A Vision exam will assure you can properly see while driving, with or without the use of eye wear such as glasses or contacts. If you receive a score of less than 20/40 vision you must see a vision doctor before proceeding with your application.
- The Road Signs test is a 20 question exam testing your ability to identify common traffic signs. You must correctly answer 15 to pass.
- A Road Rules test assures you fully understand all traffic laws in Florida with 20 multiple choice questions. A passing score for this test will require you to answer 15 out of the 20 questions correctly.
- The Driving Test portion of testing is conducted by an examiner who will determine if you can maintain safe control of your vehicle and obey traffic laws with a behind the wheel examination.
If you must retake the knowledge tests, there is a $10 charge for every attempt. In addition, a $20 charge will be applied for a skill retest. Prepare yourself to pass in advance by using cheat sheets created by dmvcheatsheets.com contain all of the essential information found on the written portions of testing.
Taking a Driver’s Ed Course
Driver’s education is not required to receive your license in Florida. However, first time drivers should consider one of these three specific types of driver’s training to develop safe driving habits:
- DATA or Drugs, alcohol, traffic and awareness course
- DATE which stands for Drugs, alcohol, traffic and education class
- TLSAE or traffic law substance abuse education training
Preparing for the Written Test
There are many great ways to prepare for the written test including studying the appropriate Florida’s Driver’s Handbook for your license type. All of the multiple choice questions found on the written skills tests can be found in these useful handbooks. In addition there are many great resources for further practice and learning online including practice tests at DMVCheatsheets.com .
Scheduling an Appointment
Due to the high volume at local Florida Department of Motor vehicle branches, it is wise to schedule an appointment ahead of time to reduce your wait time. The Florida DMV has created an excellent Online Appointment Application allowing you to receive an appointment based on what your visit is regarding.
What to Bring on Test Day
The day of testing for your license has arrived and it is best to come to your local Florida DMV branch prepared with all necessary documentation. This includes one primary piece of identification showing your age and full legal name, one secondary in the form of a social security card or document of legal presence and two proofs of Florida residency. Additional documentation will be required for new drivers including the parental consent form. Those wishing to apply for their CDL must also bring a completed medical form to the application in order to continue. Bring your required documentation and the cost of your license in the form of check, cash or money order.
Costs of Driver’s Test
Each stage of the licensing process has specific fees may include:
- Learners drivers license- 48$
- Driver’s license fee- 48$
- Commercial Diver’s License fee- 75$
What if you need to renew your license in Florida?
Your license is valid for 6 to 8 years depending on the type and can be renewed up to 18 months before its expiration date. If your license is current you will not be required to present any new proofs of identity unless any of the information on the license has changed. This includes your last name or address. If this is your first renewal since the changes made to identification laws on January 1, 2010, you will be required to submit the following:
- One primary proof of identification from the approved document list
- One secondary proof for your citizenship in the form of a social security card or document stating legal presence
- Two pieces of identity for your residency status, this can include anything from the approved list such as utility bills, rent agreements or an auto insurance form.
Renewal Fees for "Drivers License in Florida are as follows:
- Renewal costs of $48. If your license is expired at the time of renewal you may be charged a $15 late fee. In addition, if your license has been stolen you will receive a $15 dollar penalty unless you provide a police report.
- Renew your license by Mail-If you are eligible to renew your license by mail, you can complete the renewal form sent with a reminder letter 30 days before your expiration date. There are no additional fees for mail renewal.
- Online renewal is available via the DMV website for no additional charge. You may pay online using a credit or debit card.
- Renew your Expired License- If you renew your drivers permit after the expiration date then it is required that you pay a delinquent fee of $15.
- License that is expired for over 1 Year – Licenses that are expired for over a year can’t be renewed on the internet or by Mail. It is required that you renew your license at a driver’s license office and should make an appointment. You must also take your required identification documents. The fee is $15.
- Citizens that are not from the US and commercial drivers license owners you must apply for their drivers license renewal in person at a confined driver license office and show proof of legal presence.
Getting a Learner’s Permit in Florida
If you simply want to obtain a learner’s permit, it is not as hard as you think. You can make an appointment online to further speed up the process. Be sure that you fully prepare for the process ahead of time to assure you don’t have to repeat any portion due to mistakes or failing a test. The basic steps include:
- Gather your required documents in advance; you can use the Gather Go Get website generated by Florida to assist you in locating the correct documents you will need to provide, answer general FAQ about the identification process and even troubleshoot potential issues you may have with these documents. Proofs are often trickery to gather for those under the age of 18 so use this helpful site to assure you can correctly complete the requirements. Applicants receiving a learner’s permit must provide:
- One proof of identity, usually in the form of a birth certificate. It must be the original copy and show your full legal name.
- Your social security number will provide the proof of citizenship needed. If you do not have a social security number you must submit proof that you are legally allow to reside in the US.
- You will need two documents showing you are a resident of Florida. Minors may use school records for this category or two proofs of residency for the legal guardian, parent or step-parent that they live with full-time.
- Take your traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education lessons once you have reached the required age limit of 15 years.
- Ask your parent or legal guardian to sign the Parental Consent Form in the company of a driver’s license inspector or have it notarized if a parent or guardian will not be there.
- You will be required to pay a cost of $48 which covers the Class E license and learners permit when you apply
- Take your written Signs and Rules exams at the DMV office. You can use online "Practice tests and cheat sheets” from dmvcheatsheets.com for extra assistance. You will no doubt receive your learner’s license after getting your pass results from the test. Use the cheat sheets offer online to study in advance to avoid a retake that will cost you additional time and money. Each test consists of 20 multiple choice questions taken from information found in the "DMV handbook at www.dmvcheatsheets.com and you must pass with 15 out of 20 questions correctly in order to receive a learners permit.
Driving with a FL Learners Permit
Once you have successfully completed the application process you are ready to begin practice on the roads. Your practice time goals should be to prepare yourself for the driving test and learn how to be a safe driver on the roads. It is important that you know and follow all of the restrictions for your permit, assuring that your approved driver are with you at all times. Use your driving log to record your times, and practice driving in a variety of common situations. Studying diligently and fully preparing for the testing process will help you to make the steps easier, allowing you to achieve the goal of receiving your first driver’s license.