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Bottom line is that while drivers do have a shelf life, you’re probably going to buy a new one before your current driver fails on you. A 90-mile-per-hour swing speed has nothing to worry about. New residents with an out-of-state license must obtain a Florida driver's license within 30 days of establishing a permanent residence in FL. When heading to the DMV, be sure to bring the license from your former state as you will be required to surrender it in order to obtain the new license.

How to get Your Florida Drivers License

Related Page: International Students and Scholars Drivers License Guide

The first step to getting a Florida Drivers License if you are not a US Citizen is to provide the required identification.

Identification Requirements

You must show proof of birth date and social security number (if issued.) Immigrants and non-immigrants have different identification requirements. Once the state of Florida verifies identity and legal status, a drivers license or identification card will be issued within 30 days from the DMV and mailed to the address on the driver record.

Foreign Licenses

The Florida DMV has a reciprocity program meaning you do not have to take driving skill exams if your drivers license is valid from: United States or its Territories; United States Military; Canada, France, Germany, Republic of China or South Korea. For all other countries, you will need to complete DMV Test (Road Signs, Traffic Laws) and pass the behind-the-wheel driving exam.

Completing the Required First Time Driver Course

If you do not have a valid drivers license from the United States or a Foreign Country then you must complete the 4 hour Drug and Alcohol Traffic Awareness (DATA) Course, DMV Exam (Road Signs, Traffic Laws) and pass the behind-the-wheel driving test. You must complete the DATA Course before going to a DMV office, it's available online from approved providers. The written DMV Test (Road Signs, Traffic Laws) is available online for ages 14 to 17 from DMV approved schools. Age 18 or older must take the DMV Test at a DMV office.

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Once you complete the DATA course and DMV Test you then make an appointment with your local drivers license office to take the behind-the-wheel driving test. The vehicle you bring for your driving test must have a valid tag, proof of insurance, and pass a vehicle inspection. During the driving test, the examiner will observe your ability to control the vehicle and how well you obey traffic laws. It is important to study the Florida Drivers Handbook in advance of taking the written DMV test and the behind-the-wheel driving test.

Going to the Drivers License Office (DMV)

Along with completing the DATA Course and DMV Text you must bring the accepted forms of identification listed above. At the drivers license office you will also take a vision test, behind-the-wheel driving test, pay a driver license fee, and get your picture taken for an operator's license. Upon identity and legal status verification, a driver license will be issued within 30 days and mailed to your address.

Shortcuts:

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  • TLSAE / DATA Course - required for first time drivers / New Florida Drivers

Getting a Restricted License (Learners Permit)

Learner's Permit

A Learners Permit, also called Restricted License, is issued to teenagers between ages 15 and 17 once they complete the required course and tests. A teenager must have a Learners Permit for one year while practicing their driving skills with an adult. After 12 months with Learners Permit, he/she can then take the behind-the-wheel driving test to obtain a full Florida operators license.

For more details on a restricted license read the Learners Permit page.

If you are 18 years or older, you are not required to retain a Learners License but you still must complete the required course and tests before going in for a behind-the-wheel driving test.

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Driving with a Learners Permit

A learners permit is also known as a Restricted License because there are very specific rules you must follow when driving with a learners in Florida.

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  • You may never drive alone with a learners Permit
  • You must always have a licensed driver in the seat closest to you
  • Drive during daylight hours for the first 3 months
  • After first 3 months drive until 10pm

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To get your Drivers License (if you are under 18) you must have your learners permit for 12 months or until your 18th birthday. You must also have 50 hours of driving experience (supervised) and 10 of those hours should be at night.