It’s not unusual for people to need a driver’s license in Florida. The state says it issues over 800,000 new licenses each year. About half of these are from the 1,000+ people who move to the state each and every day. Others include newly licensed drivers in the state. This number doesn’t include the roughly 2.5 million drivers who have to renew their Florida driver’s licenses or who need a driver’s license replacement every year.
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If you’ve done a Florida driver’s license check and need to know how to obtain a Florida driver’s license, how to reinstate a suspended license or are wondering “What do I need to get a Florida driver’s license?” you can find the answers in our guide below.
How to Obtain a Florida Driver’s License
If you are getting a driver’s license for the first time, Florida employs a “graduated” system of licensing that involves the successful completion of multiple steps. These include obtaining a learner’s permit, a provisional license, and ultimately a full privilege license. The process can start as young as 15 years of age and culminates with a driver’s license appointment and the successful passage of a behind-the-wheel test. We invite you to review our complete detailed guide to obtaining a first-time driver’s license in Florida, specifically designed for parents of teens.
Requirements for Out of State Residents
Out of state residents who now live in Florida are required to get a Florida driver’s license once they become a resident. Florida considers you a resident under a variety of circumstances. These situations include:
- Living in the state for more than six months per year
- Registering a child in a Florida public school
- Accepting employment in the state
- Registering to vote in Florida
- Applying for a Homestead Exemption in the state
You have 30 days to get a Florida Driver’s once becoming a resident and must bring proof of residency (ie: tax bill or utility bill in your name at your current address) along with identification like a birth certificate. If your name is different from your birth name, bring a marriage certificate or court order proving the name change.
Test Requirements – Driver’s Licenses and Permits
Florida requires a series of tests to obtain driving permits and driver’s licenses.
- Learner’s permits require taking a traffic law and substance abuse class and passing a written test on Florida safety, road signs, and regulations. A learner’s permit also involves passing a hearing and vision test.
- Provisional licenses require 50 hours of driving experience, 10 of which must be at night. If you’ve completed a of year of driving with your learner’s permit without incident, you can get your provisional license by passing a driving test or by getting a driving test waiver from a driver’s education class. This can be done once you are 16 years old.
- A Full Privilege license is achieved when a driver has turned 18 of years age without an incident during his time with a learners permit or provisional license.
Documents Needed for Florida driver’s License
Florida is very particular when it comes to proving who you are in obtaining a license. They also want to make sure the Social Security Number presented is attached to your name and you can verify your residency. Therefore, the state requires:
- Proving your identity through a U.S. birth certificate, a permanent resident card, or a citizenship certificate or passport.
- You will need to verify your Social Security Number via a Social Security card, paycheck, or through a 1099 tax form.
- You must verify your Florida residential address by providing two separate documents with your current address on them. These must be documents like a current bank statement, rental agreement, utility bill or property tax bill.
How to Reinstate a Suspended License
Reinstating your Florida driver’s license involves visiting a Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office and paying your reinstatement fee. Depending on the reason your license was suspended, there may be additional fees. If your license was suspended for lack of auto insurance, you will also need to provide proof of insurance.
How to Check if your License is Suspended in Florida
You can easily check if your license is suspended online at the The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.
Driver’s License Renewal
Holders of a Florida driver’s license can renew their licenses online, by mail or in person. Licenses can be renewed up to 18 months prior to their expiration date. Drivers who are 80 years of age or older are required to pass a vision test. Renewing your Florida driver’s license will include proper identification, proof of your Social Security number, and a proof of current residential address.
Change of Address or Updating an Address
Florida law requires you to keep the address on your driver’s license current within 30 days of changing residences. You will need to provide your current driver’s license, your full legal name, Social Security number, proof of residency, and proof of a name change if one has occurred.
Driver’s License Replacement
If you lose your Florida driver’s or it is stolen, you will need to get a replacement. Though not required, the State of Florida strongly suggests you report both a lost or stolen driver’s license to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and law enforcement. When your license is stolen, you can get a police report that can be used to waive the fee for getting a replacement.
While it can be done online, getting a replacement in person is often a better choice for those who need a replacement quickly. To do this, visit your local driver’s license office. Most offices in Florida allow for you to make an appointment ahead of time which is recommended.
The documentation for getting a driver’s license replacement in Florida is similar to that of getting an original driver’s license, minus the testing. You will need to:
- Provide proof of your identification with an original birth certificate, notarized copy of the birth certificate or passport.
- Provide proof of your Social Security Number that includes your name. This, of course, would be your original Social Security card but could also include a 1099 tax form, recent paycheck stub, property tax statement, rental agreement or a vehicle registration.
- Provide documents that are proof of a name change if you have married or otherwise legally changed your name. This may include an original marriage license or certified copy of any court order that facilitated your name change.
Getting a Florida Commercial Driver’s Licenses
Like other states, Florida has more detailed and complex laws and requirements when it comes to getting, renewing, and replacing a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in the state. We provide more information about CDL requirements in our Florida Commercial Driver’s License Guide.
The Importance of Keeping Up To Date With a Florida Driver’s License Check
Not keeping up with your paperwork in Florida can be costly and may lead to a license suspension. Much of what needs to be done in maintaining your driver’s license in Florida can now be accomplished online, making it easier than ever to conduct a Florida driver’s license check and stay legal. Know when your important driving documents expire and to efficiently and effectively keep them current.