An individual must transfer their driver's license from another state to Florida by visiting a Division of Motorist Services office of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). The state of Florida mandates that a new resident applying for a driver license apply in person – a new resident cannot apply for a Florida driver license online. The individual will be given a vision test and may be eligible to receive a Florida license without taking a written or road test.
New Residents in Florida
Florida considers a person to be a new resident and eligible for a Florida driver's license if the individual has started employment or engaged in a trade, profession or occupation in the state; enrolled their children in the public schools; registered to vote; filed for homestead tax exemption on property in the state; or lived in the state for a period of more than six consecutive months.
A person who moves back and forth between a “winter” residence in Florida and a “summer” residence elsewhere and does not stay in Florida for more than six months at a time is not eligible for a Florida driver's license. A new Florida resident must obtain a valid license within 30 days of establishing residency. They must also obtain insurance from a Florida insurance agent licensed to sell insurance in the state in order to title and register their vehicle within 10 days of establishing residency.
Florida Driver's License Fees
The fee for an initial Florida Class E license, including a learner’s permit, is $48. The fee for a commercial driver license (CDL), a Class A license, is $75. The fee for an endorsement, which adds certain driving privileges, is $7 each. A fee for an ID card is $25. Most tax collector offices also charge a $6.25 service fee.
Required Documents for License
A U.S. citizen who is applying for a Florida state driver's license should bring certain documents to a Division of Motorist Services office: primary identification, proof of Social Security number and proof of residential address.
Documents that count as primary identification include an original U.S. birth certificate and a valid U.S. passport or passport card. The FLHSMV will only accept a birth certificate issued by a county health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Bureau of Vital Statistics. The FLHSMV does not consider hospital birth certificates as certified documents and will not accept them.
Documents that count as proof of a Social Security number are: an original Social Security card with the customer’s current name; a W-2 form that is not handwritten; a paycheck or pay stub; an SSA-1099 tax form for individuals who receive Social Security benefits; and any 1099 form that is not handwritten. A 1099 is a tax form for individuals who work as freelancers. These documents must state the individual’s complete name and complete Social Security number. A customer must submit two different documents with their residential address. Printouts or faxes of these documents are acceptable.
Documents to Prove Residential Address
A customer may not use their current driver license or identification card as proof of residential address. Residential address documents include a deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, mortgage payment booklet or a residential rental or lease agreement. Other residential address documents include:
- Florida voter registration card.
- Florida vehicle registration or title.
- Utility bill, utility hook up or work order dated within 60 days prior to the application.
- Automobile payment booklet.
- Selective Service card.
- Medical or health card with address.
- Current homeowner insurance policy or bill.
- Current auto insurance policy or bill.
- Educational institution transcript forms for the current school year.
- Unexpired professional license issued by a government agency in the U.S.
Form DS2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) status and letter from a homeless shelter, transitional service provider or halfway house verifying they receive mail for the customer. A letter from a shelter, provider or halfway house must be accompanied by a certification of address form.
The FLHSMV will also accept mail from financial institutions, including checking, savings or investment account statements, mail from federal, state, county or city government agencies, or a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) registration form completed by the local sheriff’s department as proof of residential address. A customer who does not have any of the above documents in their name can provide two proofs of residential address from a parent, stepparent, legal guardian or other person with whom they reside, as well as a certification of address form. A customer is not required to present these documents for subsequent renewals unless information such as their name or address changes.
Name Changes and Driver's License
A customer who has legally changed their name by marriage, divorce or court order is required to submit the original or a certified marriage certificate, divorce decree or order. An individual can get a certified copy of a marriage certificate or divorce decree at the clerk of court in the county where it was originally filed. The FLHSMV will not accept photocopies.
In order for the state of Florida to accept a marriage certificate, the state must recognize it as valid. The state does not accept a church-issued marriage certificate. An individual should allow 24 to 48 hours after changing their name with the U.S. Social Security Administration before applying to change it with FLHSMV.
A person’s name must be verified with the Social Security electronic system to obtain a Florida driver's license or ID card. If a valid U.S. passport has the customer’s current name, the individual is not required to present additional name change documents.
Hearing and Vision Tests
A driver who is deaf or cannot hear conversation spoken in a normal tone of voice may be restricted to driving with an outside rearview mirror which should be mounted on the left side of the vehicle. Alternatively, they may be required to wear a hearing aid. An individual with a visual acuity reading below 20/40 for a vision test will be referred to an eye specialist. Color blindness will not cause a special condition for licensing.
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.