Getting A Driver’s License In Florida

Florida Driving School

Documentation

The process for getting a driver’s license in Florida is getting ready to change beginning January 1, 2010 thanks to the Federal ID Act, which was developed following the attacks on September 11, 2001. The Real ID Act takes the rules and regulations for driver’s licenses and ID cards out of the hands of the state and makes national guidelines for issuing these cards. Florida law requires identification, proof of social security number, proof of residential address and proof of date of birth to receive a driver’s license or identification card. The required paperwork varies depending on your citizenship status as well.

U.S. Citizens must bring one of the following items as their primary identification: a certified United States birth certificate, valid U.S. Passport or Passport Card, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Certificate of Naturalization, Form N-570 or Form N-550 or a Certificate of Citizenship, Form N-560 or N-561. For proof of Social Security Number you must bring your Social Security Card, a W-2 Form or a pay check. You are required to bring two forms of proof of residency. There are many forms the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) will accept as proof of residential address. Among these forms are deeds, mortgages, monthly mortgage statements, Florida Boat Registration or Title, Florida Voter Registration Cards, Florida Vehicle Registration or Title, Selective Service Card, current homeowner’s insurance policy or bill, medical or health insurance card with an address, auto insurance policy, educational transcript forms from the current year, 1099 or W-2 form, a current utility bill not older than two months, mail from financial institutions or federal, state or local government agencies.

Immigrants – If you are an immigrant the biggest difference is the forms you can bring as primary identification. One of the following will be necessary as a primary ID: I-551 stamp in passport or I-94, valid Alien Registration receipt card, Immigration Judges Order with A-number included, I-797 with A-Number. There are a couple other forms one can bring to prove a social security number on top of Social Security Card, a W-2 Form or a pay check. Immigrants can also bring a SSA-1099 or Non-SSA-1099.

Non-immigrants have a different set of forms to choose from when it comes to proving identity. Non-immigrants must bring either an I-1512 Parole Letter Accepted, I-571 Travel Document, IJO – Asylum or Cancellation of Removal, Form I-94 proof of non-immigration classification or employment authorization card issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

There is one exception for non-U.S. residents and that applies to Canadians. Each Canadian citizen that applies for an ID card or driver’s license in Florida can bring one of the following to prove identity: a valid Canadian passport, original or certified Canadian birth certificate, Canadian Certificate of Citizenship or a Canadian Naturalization Certificate.


Applying for a License

For those who have never had a driver’s license in any state, you must bring the required paperwork detailed above with you to a FDHSMV office. All applicants must show proof that they passed a traffic law and substance abuse education course. They must also pass a vision and hearing test, road rules, road sign and driving test. You must be 15 years old and have a parental consent form to receive a learner’s license.

If you have a driver’s license from another state you must bring it along with the documentation mentioned above to apply for a driver’s license or ID card from the FDHSMV.


Types of Licenses

What kind of license you apply for depends on the type of vehicle you will be driving.

CLASS A: A Commercial License for trucks or combination trucks with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) over 26,001 pounds provided towed vehicle is over 10,000 pounds.

CLASS B: A Commercial License for straight trucks with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more.

CLASS C: A Commercial License for vehicles designed to transport more than 15 persons including the driver with a GVWR less than 26,001 pounds or vehicles transporting placardable amounts of hazardous materials.

CLASS E: A NonCommercial Driver License. This is for driver’s operating non-commercial vehicles under 26,001 pounds in GVWR, including passenger cars, 15 passenger vans including the driver, recreational vehicles or trucks and two or three wheel motor vehicles of 50 cc or less such as mopeds or small scooters. Drivers exempt from obtaining a commercial license such as emergency vehicles or farmers must get a Class E license.

CLASS E-Learner: Motor vehicles less than 8,000 pounds. The following restrictions apply to this license: doesn’t allow for the operation of a motorcycle, a licensed driver at least 21-years old must be in the car occupying the closest seat to the right of the driver and may only operate a vehicle from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for the first three months. Following that period the driver can operate the vehicle until 10:00 p.m.

Motorcycles: If a driver is authorized to operate a motorcycle, there will be an abbreviation located on the front of their Class E license under the expiration date.


Requirements for a Commercial License

The process to acquire a commercial driver license is different than obtaining a Class E license. All applicants are required to have an Operator’s License. They must pass the vision requirement as well. You must be at least 18 years of age and if you are not 21 you will be restricted to intrastate commerce only. Oral exams may be given in English, Spanish or Haitian Creole. This does not apply to the Hazmat exams or skills test. Interpreters cannot be used during CDL oral exams or any portion of the CDL skill exams.

Class A Exam Requirements: The following tests are required for this license. There is a combinations vehicle test, a general knowledge test, air brakes, CDL road test, basic skills, pre-trip and exams for applicable endorsements.

Class B Exam Requirements: The following tests are required for this license. There is a general knowledge test, air brakes if applicable, CDL road test, basic skills, pre-trip and exams for applicable endorsements.

Class C Exam Requirements: The following tests are required for this license. There is a general knowledge test, air brakes if applicable, CDL road test, basic skills, pre-trip and exams for applicable endorsements.

Out of state CDL’s and Canadian commercial driver licenses will be reciprocated in the state of Florida. An out of state applicant with a hazmat endorsement will need to reapply and that will include background checks and exams and fees.

Comments are closed.