Whether you're new to driving, new to Florida or just need to get a replacement license, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is your first stop. Arrive prepared with this checklist and you won't be doomed for a repeat visit. Before leaving your house, check to find the HSMV office nearest you.
- US residents will need either a certified birth certificate, a valid passport, or a certificate of naturalization. Alternatively, you may present a driver's license issued by Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, or Wisconsin.
- A second form of ID is also required and can be anything from a baptism certificate or voter registration card (at least three months old) to a marriage certificate. In short, anything official with your name on it.
- Non-US citizens are required to bring identification, proof of date of birth, and social security number. Some acceptable forms of ID are an Alien Registration Card, I-551 stamp on passport, and an I-797 with the customer's A-number stating the customer has been granted asylum or refugee status.
- For regular passenger vehicles, some tests may be required, especially for a new license. These include a hearing, vision, driving, road rules and road signs test. If you're exchanging a valid out-of-state license, only the hearing and vision are required.
- If you are a new driver, the minimum age for a learner's permit is 15 years. All the tests above will be given.
- To upgrade from a restricted learner's permit to a full operator's license, you must have held your permit for one full year, not have any traffic violations, and have a parent or guardian's verification of at least 50 hours driving time. At least 10 of those hours must have been at night.
- Check your local office for fees you may have to pay.
- Most locations are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but some offices have slightly different hours. Call ahead or look online to check the times of your local office.
- Many locations accept appointments, making the wait much shorter.
- If you're unsure if the identification you have is sufficient, always call ahead. You'll be glad you didn't wait to be told it was insufficient.