How to Get a Driving Licence in Florida as a Foreigner?

How to Get a Driving Licence in Florida as a Foreigner?

In Florida, tourists only need a national driving licence issued in their home country and a credit (not debit) bankcard to rent a car. Those who rented or purchased real estate in Florida and moved there long-term will need to obtain a local driving licence and join the army of 18 million Florida drivers. You can drive a car with a foreign licence for no longer than one year. Driving with a licence that expired more than six months ago is a criminal offence, punishable with a fine or imprisonment.

We will tell you how to get a licence to drive a car in Florida as a foreigner.


Complete a TLSAE course

As stated on the website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a future driver must first complete a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course. It is designed to teach the individual the basics of road rules, safety, and dangers of using alcohol and illicit drugs, especially with regard to driving. Students can take this course as part of a secondary education programme. Some schools offer approved courses for adults.

This course is mandatory for all individuals who have never had a driving licence before. If an expat who has moved permanently to an apartment or house in Florida already has a foreign driving licence, the situation varies depending on which country issued it. In most cases, holders of a valid foreign driving licence will not need a TLSAE course, but it is best to check with your local DMV office in advance if this course is required specifically for you.

How to Get a Driving Licence in Florida as a Foreigner?

Provide proof of identity

To obtain a learner’s permit, a new driver must be at least 15 years of age. To verify age, you will need to submit the following documents to your local DMV office:

  • One original primary identity document, such as a US birth certificate, US passport, Green Card, immigration judge’s order granting asylum that contains an applicant’s A-Number, etc.
  • One original document to establish a Social Security number. This can be a Social Security card, a W-2 form, a pay stub, an SSA-1099 form, or any other 1099 form.
  • Two documents to establish residency such as a deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, lease agreement, Florida voter registration card, utility bill, automobile payment booklet, or current homeowner’s insurance policy.

Applicants aged 15 to 18 will also be required to provide notarized consent from a parent or legal guardian. The parent or guardian takes responsibility for the consequences of a minor driving a car.

If an applicant has a medical condition they indicated in their application for a driving licence, DMV will most likely require the applicant's physician to complete a special form. If the driver is diabetic and needs insulin on a regular basis, a designation can be added to the driving licence on request.

Get a score of at least 80% in the knowledge exam

The exam consists of 50 questions covering the rules of the road. To pass it, you need to answer at least 40 questions correctly, i.e., 80% or more correct answers.

How to Get a Driving Licence in Florida as a Foreigner?

Pass the driving skills test

The driving skills test is a behind-the-wheel test that assesses your ability to drive a car and perform certain manoeuvres on the roads. To pass it, you will need your own car since DMV does not provide cars. The car must be in good condition. Make sure your directional signals, brake lights, parking lights, and horn are working, and your vehicle registration and auto insurance have not expired. If you live in an apartment in Florida and know your neighbours well (or have friends with a car nearby), you can ask them to lend their car for the test (for free or for a fee).

Persons over 18 years of age, after successfully passing the test, receive a Class E licence. Drivers aged 15 to 18 years receive a learner’s licence, which can be exchanged for a regular Class E licence after a year.

What skills will an examiner check?

Here is a list of road manoeuvres that a Florida driving licence applicant must correctly perform on the test.

  • Three-point turn.
  • Approach of crossing: get in the proper lane and look in each direction.
  • Observe right-of-way: allow pedestrians to cross, pull over and stop for emergency vehicles. Do not enter an intersection where you will interfere with other traffic.
  • Straight-in parking: the vehicle should be centred inside the space with no part of the vehicle extending out in the traffic lane.
  • Parking on a grade.
  • Stop quickly: make a quick, safe stop when the examiner instructs you.
  • Backing up: back at a slow speed while looking to the rear.
  • Obey stop signs: come to a complete stop before reaching the stop line.
  • Obey traffic signals.
  • Signal and turn: signal your turn for the last 35 metres.
  • Passing.
  • Stay in proper lane.
  • Follow at a safe distance.
  • Use proper posture.

How to Get a Driving Licence in Florida as a Foreigner?

How can a foreigner exchange a driving licence in Florida?

Holders of a valid driving licence from the following places can exchange their licence for a local one:

  • other US states
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany*
  • Taiwan
  • South Korea

*German citizens will need to pass the driving skills test but are exempt from all other tests.

When exchanging a valid licence, citizens of the above countries must still pass a vision test.

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