How to Get Your Florida Driver’s License in 2024: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

How to Get Your Florida Driver’s License in 2024: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

by Zutobi · Updated Jan 10, 2024

In this guide, we explain the process in 7 steps:

  1. Pass the TLSAE or DATA Course
  2. Get Your Learner’s Permit
  3. Pass the Written Test
  4. Get Your Vision and Hearing Tested
  5. Practice During the Behind-the-Wheel Training
  6. Pass Your Road Test
  7. Get Your License

Requirements for Driver’s License in Florida

Driving Age in Florida

15 Years Old

You’re eligible for a Florida learner’s permit. It’s the first official step, allowing you to drive, but you must have a licensed driver aged 21 or older in the front passenger seat. You are allowed to drive during daylight hours for the first 3 months after obtaining the learner’s permit. After, driving is allowed until 10:00 PM.

16 Years Old

After you’ve held the learner’s permit for at least one year without any traffic convictions, you can level up. At 16, you’re allowed to drive alone between 6:00 AM and 11:00 PM. Outside these hours, driving is permitted only if you’re traveling to or from work or accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old.

17 Years Old 

You gain more freedom and can drive with fewer time constraints compared to when you were 16. You can drive between 5:00 AM and 1:00 AM. Similar to age 16, outside these hours, you can drive if it’s work-related or with a licensed driver who is 21 years or older.

18 Years Old

You can obtain your full, unrestricted Florida driver’s license.

Documents and Essentials

document you need to gethe florida driver's license
Documents for Your Florida License

General Documents

  • Primary Identification: A valid U.S. passport, an original or certified U.S. birth certificate.
  • Social Security Number: A SSN card, W-2 form, paycheck showing SSN.
  • Proof of Residential Address (Two Required): Utility bills (not older than two months), Florida voter registration card, Florida vehicle registration or title, rental or lease agreement.

All your documents must be original or certified copies. Photocopies and laminated documents are not accepted.

For the Learner’s Permit

  • Certificate of Completion for the TLSAE Course: Proof that you’ve completed the Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course.
  • Parental Consent Form (for Minors): Signed in the presence of a driver’s license examiner or notarized if a parent or guardian will not be present.
  • Parent Proctoring Form (for Minors): This document ensures that a parent or guardian supervises the minor’s driver education process outside of a traditional classroom or testing center.
  • Certification of Minor Driving Experience Form (for Minors): Verifying that the minor has completed the required hours of supervised driving practice.

For the Road Exam

  • Learner’s Permit: Valid and current.
  • Vehicle for the Test: Must be in good working order to pass the examiner’s verification.
  • Vehicle’s Registration: Current registration for the test vehicle.
  • Proof of Vehicle Insurance: Valid auto insurance for the test vehicle.

When Getting the License

  • Passed Tests Proof: Confirmation of passing written and road tests.
  • Payment for License Fees: Acceptable payment methods (check local DMV for details).

Special Cases

For New Residents
  • Out-of-State License: You must surrender your valid out-of-state license.
  • Secondary Proof of Identity: Another form of identification, such as an out-of-state birth certificate or passport.
For Non-U.S. Citizens
  • Immigration Documents: Permanent resident card, employment authorization, valid foreign passport with appropriate immigration documents.
  • Secondary Proof of Residential Address: Same as above but pertaining to Florida residency.

Step 1: TLSAE or DATA Course

The Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education course, or the Drug, Alcohol, and Traffic Awareness course, is mandatory in Florida for all first-time driver’s license applicants.

The course is typically 4 hours long. You can take it either online or in-person. The online version allows you to complete it at your own pace, often with the ability to save your progress and return later.

There isn’t a final exam for the course. But once you complete the course, you’ll receive a certificate, which you must submit when applying for your learner’s permit in Florida.

Step 2: Florida Learner’s Permit

In Florida, the learner’s permit is a required step before you can apply for a full driver’s license. In this guide we list all the steps on how to get one.

  • Drivers Under 18: need to hold the learner’s permit for a minimum of a year without any traffic convictions before they can apply for a full license.
  • Adults: there is no mandatory time period during which they must hold a learner’s permit before applying for a full driver’s license.

Who Doesn’t Need to Have the Learner’s Permit in Florida

Experienced drivers who already have a valid driver’s license from another state or country are not obliged to get a learner’s permit in Florida. They can apply directly for a full driver’s license.

Step 3: Knowledge Exam

You can practice your written test with Zutobi.

The test typically consists of 50 questions. To pass, you need to score at least 80%, which means correctly answering at least 40 out of the 50 questions. Expect a mix of multiple-choice and true-or-false questions. While there’s no strict time limit, most people complete the test in about 30 to 60 minutes.

Where to Pass the Written Test in FL

  1. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Offices: The most common place to take the written test is at a local DMV office. Check for the nearest one and their test scheduling.
  2. Tax Collector’s Offices: In some counties, tax collector’s offices also administer the written driving test.
  3. Third-Party Administrators: Florida allows some third-party providers, such as driving schools, to administer the written test. These providers are state-approved and offer the same test as the DMV.
  4. Online Option for Minors: Florida offers an online testing option but requires meeting specific online testing requirements.
  5. High Schools: Some high schools in Florida participate in a program that allows students to take the written driver’s education test at school.

Key Topics to Focus On for the Written Test

  • Road Signs and Recognition: Learn to quickly identify signs by their shapes, colors, and symbols. Understand the actions required by specific signs.
  • Traffic Laws and Regulations: Understand the right-of-way rules, speed limits across different zones, and the rules for turning and overtaking.
  • Defensive Driving: Develop strategies for defensive driving to stay alert and avoid accidents. 
  • Safe Practices: Understand how to adapt your driving in adverse weather conditions. Learn the correct usage of different lanes, including the specifics of carpool and turning lanes.
  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety: Learn the rules for safely sharing the road with pedestrians and bicyclists. Understand the laws related to pedestrian crosswalks and signals.

Step 4: Vision and Hearing Tests

These tests are conducted at the DMV office when you apply for your learner’s permit or driver’s license on the same day you apply.

  • Vision Test: You’ll be asked to read from an eye chart to evaluate your visual acuity.
  • Hearing Test: This quick test checks your ability to hear a normal conversational tone or a warning horn.

Special Cases

  • If you wear glasses or contact lenses, bring them to the test, as you’ll need to wear them during the evaluation.
  • If there are concerns about your vision or hearing that cannot be assessed adequately at the DMV, you may be referred to a specialist. In such cases, you’ll need to provide the DMV with a report from your doctor.

Step 5: Behind-the-Wheel Training

You can do the practical training at a state-approved driving school. Alternatively, you can practice with any licensed driver aged 21 or older, often a family member or friend, who is comfortable and competent in guiding you.

Behind-the-Wheel Hours Required in Florida

  • Under 18: Florida requires you to log at least 50 hours of driving practice, including 10 hours at night, before taking the road test.
  • Adults: there’s no legally specified duration, but it’s crucial to practice until you feel confident and ready for the road test.

Step 6: Road Test

You can schedule your road exam online through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) website or by calling your local DMV office. The test is usually conducted at your local DMV office. Some third-party providers, like driving schools, also conduct road tests. Expect the exam to last about 20 to 30 minutes. Remember that you must provide a vehicle for the test.

What Skills Do You Need for the Road Test

  1. Vehicle Handling: This includes your ability to smoothly operate the car – think of steering, braking, accelerating, and shifting gears (if applicable).
  2. Compliance with Traffic Laws: You’ll need to demonstrate adherence to all road signs, signals, and markings, including obeying stop signs and traffic lights, and following speed limits.
  3. Observation Skills: Are you checking your mirrors? Do you glance over your shoulder before changing lanes? Your ability to be aware of your surroundings is key.
  4. Signaling and Turning: Proper use of using turn signals and executing safe, smooth turns is essential.
  5. Parking and Reversing: Can you parallel park? How about a three-point turn? These maneuvers show your control of the vehicle in tight spaces.
  6. Safe Driving Habits: This covers a range of practices like maintaining a safe following distance, using lanes correctly, and being mindful of pedestrians and other vehicles.

Step 7: After the Tests

If You Pass

You will complete any remaining paperwork and pay the necessary fees. Typically, you’ll receive a temporary license on the spot, with your official license being mailed to you within 7-10 business days.

If You Don’t Pass

Don’t get discouraged. You can usually retake the road test, often after a waiting period of at least 24 hours for the second attempt, and 30 days for a third attempt. It allows for additional practice time. Pay attention to the examiner’s feedback to understand where improvements are needed.

Ace Your Florida Driver’s License Test with Zutobi

Zutobi offers everything from detailed interactive theory to a behind-the-wheel video course, covering all you need to know and practice. This way, you’ll be prepared for both your written and the road tests. Learn safe driving, ace your test, and hit the road with confidence. Sign up for Zutobi now.

Take our full course with tests and theory

550+ exam-like questions

All you need to ace your test

Perfect for first-timers, renewals and senior citizens

Ace your DMV test, guaranteed