Getting Your Driver’s License: Florida, California, Texas

It’s a known fact that the process to get a driver’s license in the U.S. is dependent on the state you live in. Let’s check out the differences in difficulty between the steps to get a driver’s license in California, Florida, and Texas.


In the state of California, if you’re getting your driver’s license for the first time, then you’ll first get your driver’s permit after you pass the written exam. When you pass that exam and if you feel confident enough, you can set up the appointment to take the driving test as soon as the next day. Ignore this step if you’ve had a license in the U.S. before.

In Florida, before getting your driver’s license for the first time, you’ll have to take an obligatory driver’s education course.

In both states, if you have a driver’s license from another state, then it’s possible that you won’t have to take the exam at all.

As for Texas, when applying for a driver’s license for the first time, just like in California, you’ll have to get a learner’s permit first. Additionally, if an applicant is between ages 18 and 24, they’ll have to take a driver’s course as well as participate in the Impact Texas Young Drivers (ITYD) program.


To get the license class C in California, (the most common non-commercial license) you’ll have to present documents that not only prove your identity but also prove you live in the state. Specifically, in California, the AB60 legislation allows undocumented residents to be able to get their driver’s license as well. These are the documents required:

For undocumented residents in California:

  • (1) One Mexican federal election card
  • Or (2) Two of the following:
    • Valid ID from Peru or Guatemala
    • Valid passport from a foreign country
    • Federal government photo ID
    • Mexican, Ecuadorian, or Guatemalan consular card
  • Or (2) Two of the following:
    • Foreign expired passport, no date before 2005
    • Birth certificate issued in the last six months, with a photograph, translation, and certified
    • Photo ID issued by federal government
  • In the case of having difficulty providing these documents, it’s also possible to ask for an interview with a DMV investigator.

For documented residents in California:

  • Provide proof of social security number with social security card or military ID
  • Present (1) one document proving your birth date and legal status such as:
    • S. Passport
    • Birth Certificate

In contrast to California, the ability to obtain a driver’s license in Florida is not available to undocumented residents, as in most states around the U.S. So, for documented residents, the following are the required documents:

For Florida residents:

  • Proof of Identity such as:
    • Birth Certificate
    • Permanent Resident Card
    • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Proof of social security number such as:
    • Social Security Card
    • Pay Stub
    • 1099 Form

To get your driver’s license in Texas, its non-citizen residents will have to present documents that verify their legal presence. The Texas Department of Public Safety states that the acceptable documents depend on an individual’s legal status. To find out which documents are required for each type of status, check out this guide. Additionally, the following documents are required to obtain a driver’s license in Texas. For an in-depth explanation, learn more here.

For Texas residents:

  • Proof of Identity with:
    • (1) A passport or military ID
    • Or (2) two secondary documents such as Birth Certificate or Certificate of Birth Abroad
    • Or (1) one secondary document y (2) two supporting documents such as a Social Security card, voter ID, or 1099.
  • Proof of Social Security with one of the following:
    • Social Security card
    • W-2 Form
    • 1099 Form
  • Proof of Legal Presence with:
    • Birth Certificate or documents mentioned here.
  • Vehicle registration and proof of coverage for each vehicle you own.

Proof of Residency

In order to get your driver’s license in California, it’s also necessary to verify that you live in the state. Check out this official list of acceptable documents, two of which you should be able to provide to the DMV. These could include your utility bill, or your rental lease.

In the state of Florida, you’ll also have to show two documents to prove your residency, such as your rental agreement, an insurance policy, or bank statement.

Proof of residence is also required in Texas and can be verified with two documents including a current insurance policy for owners or tenants, an electricity, water or natural gas bill, a current mortgage statement, or a rental lease agreement.


In California, the first exam that newbies have to take is the written one, which contains 36 questions about traffic safety laws. After passing that exam, you’ll take the driver’s test. In order to take this part of the test, making an appointment is necessary, and you’ll have to supply your own vehicle as well as show proof of registration and insurance.

Similarly, in Florida, the first exam you’ll take is the written one, which is 50 questions long, also testing you on traffic safety laws. Afterwards, in order to take the driving test, you’ll also have to provide a vehicle, which will need proof of registration, at least a basic insurance policy, and needs to pass a vehicle inspection.

In Texas, the written exam contains 30 questions, 24 of which need to be answered correctly. As for the in-car driving test, it must be taken in a vehicle that passes a security check by the customer service officials present.


To get your license in California, you’ll also have to pay a $33 charge. The application fee for Florida is $48, while the fees in Texas are $25, or $9 for applicants above the age of 85.

Generally speaking, the states of California, Texas, and Florida have lots of similarities with their driver’s license processes. However, in terms of accessibility, California offers greater opportunities and makes it a bit easier for any law-abiding resident to obtain a driver’s license with the AB60 program. On the other hand, even though Texas has the lowest driver’s license application fees, it requires very specific documentation to obtain a license, and with the implementation of their Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) program for teens, it can prolong the time period it takes to become a licensed driver.

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