FIRST TIME DRIVERS


All customers applying for a Florida license will be required to meet minimum vision requirements and provide identification documents for issuance. Please see our document requirements section for more information. Customers must be 15 or older to obtain a Florida Class E Learner’s Permit. The following information pertains only to customers who have never had a driver license anywhere before. Customers with a driver license from another state or country should visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for licensing requirements.


Steps to Obtaining a Florida Class E Driver License


1. Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education Course (TLSAE)

Commonly referred to as the “4-hour drug and alcohol course.” This course is a requirement for all first-time drivers and is done strictly outside of our offices.

List of approved TLSAE providers

2. Class E Knowledge Exam & Practice Test

After you have completed the TLSAE requirement, you must pass the Class E General Knowledge exam.

The Class E General Knowledge exam is offered by appointment only (the service type selection is “Knowledge Testing”). The test is available in English, Spanish, Haitian-Creole, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. Please view our fee page for testing fees.

Customers may also take the Class E General Knowledge exam through FLHSMV approved third-party providers for an additional fee. (Note: Online testing options are only available to minors.)

List of approved third-party testing providers

The general knowledge computer test contains 50 multiple-choice, randomized questions. Most questions are situational and pertain to Florida traffic laws.

We recommend that customers study the Florida driver’s handbook before taking the general knowledge exam. Handbooks can be downloaded for free in English, Spanish, and Creole at the FLHSMV website. Limited supplies of handbooks are also available in our branch offices and the public libraries.
After studying the Florida Driver's Handbook, you can try a practice test online.

Some high schools offer driver education courses that include all the required permit tests. Parents wanting to use this option should inquire with their child’s high school.

3. Learner Permit Issuance

Customers over 18 are not required to obtain a learner’s permit. After passing the vision and Class E General Knowledge exams, these customers may choose to obtain a learner’s permit, or make an appointment for the driving skills test. Once you pass the driving test you will be issued your Class E license.

Minors will be issued a Class E Learner’s Permit after passing the vision and Class E General Knowledge exams.

Consent must be given from a parent or legal guardian for a minor to obtain a learner’s permit. Stepparents, grandparents, or other family members may only sign if they have legal custody of the minor. If a parent or legal guardian will not present at issuance, the parental consent form must be completed ahead of time.

Minors who attempted Class E General Knowledge testing online will need the parent or guardian that monitored them present at issuance to certify that they were proctored during the exams. If the parent or legal guardian will not be present at issuance, the parent proctoring form must be completed ahead of time.


4. Upgrading the Learner Permit to a Class E Operator License

Minors are required to hold their learner’s permit for at least one exact year from the date of issuance or their 18th birthday, whichever is sooner. Once the required time has elapsed, it will be necessary to pass a driving skills test to upgrade to the Class E license.

Driving tests are offered by appointment only at our North and South Fort Myers offices (appointment service type selection is “Driving Test”). Please review the Driving Test Instructions prior to arriving at our office for your driving skills test.

Driving tests may also be completed at FLHSMV-approved third-party testing locations for an additional fee. APA Driving School (239-243-9422) and Ault’s Driver Education Center (941-474-5125) are local providers in Lee County. Please see FLHSMV’s website for full list of providers.

Customers who passed a driving skills test in a driver’s education course at school may come in to upgrade their licenses once the required time has elapsed. 

Customers under 18 must have a responsible adult 21 or older present when upgrading to a Class E license. If a responsible adult 21 or older cannot be present, a certification of driving experience of a minor form must be filled out ahead of time to certify the minor had a minimum of 50 hours of driving experience, with at least 10 hours having been at night.

Customers who are non-immigrants (anyone who is not a United States citizen or permanent resident) will need to bring current immigration documents to upgrade their license.

The fee to replace the learner’s permit with a regular Class E operator license will be just $6.25 provided the permit is not expired or lost, and no other changes are being made. If there is a name or address change, the total will be $31.25 to upgrade and applicable documents will be required.