Anyone who drives a car in Florida is legally required to carry a valid driver's license. Non-immigrants visiting from other countries with valid, non-expired licenses are permitted to use their home licenses for up to one year after the date they first entered the U.S. After that, they must make an appointment with one of the many Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles locations to apply for a Florida driver's license.
Anyone visiting Florida without a valid license must obtain a Florida license before they can drive within the state. The requirements for obtaining a Florida license vary depending on your native country and reason for being in Florida.
Everyone must present a primary identification document to establish their lawful presence.
All applicants must bring one form of primary identification containing their complete name. Acceptable forms of primary ID include:
- A valid employment authorization card issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) form I-688B or I-766; or
- A non-expired proof of non-immigrant classification provided by DHS form I-94 with necessary supporting attachment(s). If in doubt, bring all United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) documentation with them. I-94s must be accompanied by a valid passport with a date of entry stamp.
Work-visa visitors must bring Proof of Social Security or a letter from SSA.
- Those here on work visas who do not have a Social Security Number must bring a letter from the Social Security Administration indicating that they were never issued a Social Security Number.
- Non-immigrants in Florida for school or tourism are not required to obtain such a letter.
Everyone must present proof of a current residential address.
The document may be a residential rental or lease agreement, a transcript from an educational institution for the current year, a current auto insurance policy or bill, a form DS-2019 for an exchange visitor, or two proofs of one's residential address from a parent, step-parent, legal guardian or the person with whom they reside, along with a Certification of Address form.
Most international visitors applying for a new license must pass a written test and a driving test with a DMV examiner. Anyone not presenting the clerk with a driver's license from another state, country, or jurisdiction must also take the Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course, which can be taken online. Finally, they must pass a vision test, which is done at the DMV.
International students may drive with both a license from their country of origin and an International Driver's License for 90 days in the U.S. before obtaining a Florida driver's license.
Visitors from Canada, France, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, and any U.S. territory or military base are exempted from taking a written test or a road test.
Additional information may be found on the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) website.
To schedule a consultation with experienced Palm Beach immigration attorney Jacqueline Delgado, call Delgado Law Group at (561) 342-1429 or schedule a consultation here.