If you've just moved to Florida, one of the first things you'll want to do is acquire your Florida driver's license. You must apply for a Florida driver's license within 30 days of establishing residency in Florida to avoid fines and penalties. As long as you have a valid license in another state, this is a fairly straightforward and simple process, although identification requirements have been a bit more stringent since 2010. You will be required to surrender your out-of-state license before receiving your Florida license, so don't expect to keep it as a souvenir.
The minimum age to acquire a Florida license is 16. Teenagers under 18 looking to transfer a driver's license must have held an out-of-state license or permit for 12 months or more. The signature of a parent or guardian is also required.
Documents You'll Need
The first thing you need to do is round up the necessary documents. To transfer your out-of-state license to Florida, you'll need the driver's license from your previous state; a secondary form of identification, which could include a certified proof of birth, a Social Security card, an insurance policy, or a marriage certificate; proof of address; and proof of your Social Security number.
If your driver's license was issued by one of 20 states, it will not be accepted as a primary form of identification; it can only be used as a secondary form of ID. In that case, you must have a birth certificate, a valid U.S. passport or passport card, or a certificate of naturalization in addition to your current driver's license that will serve as your primary form of identification.
For proof of birth, a valid U.S. passport or passport card or a state-certified copy of your birth certificate is necessary (hospital certificates are not acceptable). To prove your Social Security number, use your Social Security card (no copies). If you've lost your Social Security card, visit the Social Security Office and request a new one as well as a verification letter, which will be accepted in lieu of the card.
To prove your address, you'll need two documents. Acceptable documents include rental or lease agreements, mortgage deeds, recent utility bills, and voter registration cards. If such documents are not available, a note from a parent, guardian or landlord may be acceptable in some cases.
Getting Your Florida License
After you have all the documents you will need, find the nearest Florida Department of Motor Vehicles office. Use the Florida Highway Department's locator to find an office near you. If you want to avoid a long wait, make an appointment.
Expect the application process at the DMV office to take about an hour; a bit less if you don't have to wait. After you give the office representative your documents, your driving record will be checked, and if it's clean, the only test you will be required to take is one that checks your vision. If there are issues on your driving record, you might be required to take the written test, and in some cases, you also might have to take a driving test if there is some question about your ability to drive safely.
If you do not have an out-of-state license, you will be required to pass a written and possibly a driving road test.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, the ID requirements are even more strict, and you'll need to provide additional documentation, such as a Green Card or naturalization certificate.
After you get your Florida driver's license, you'll need to insure your car in Florida. To do that, visit a Florida insurance agent. After you have insurance that meets Florida's standards, you can transfer your vehicle's registration and get Florida license plates.
If you find yourself unemployed, you'll need a valid ID to collect food stamps.