Licenses can be confusing at the best of times. In the modern world, we all require driving licenses, it is just a fact of life when you live in big countries that have long working hours, while juggling your home life, that you are going to need a car or other mode of transport to make it easier.
What makes it worse is wandering around the DMV looking for the right license form to fill in, and then the agonizing waiting for that license to come.
On the day it arrives, especially if it is your first time, you may look over it, checking if all the information is correct and come across a small section at the top right of the card.
It is a tiny little part of the information on the license, and it will say ‘class’ with a letter next to it.
If you are a regular driver then, most likely, you will see a ‘D’ fill this section, with some variation between states.
But if you happen to see an ‘E’ on yours or someone else’s license, this may leave you confused. I mean, what can a person with an E class license do?
Today, we are going to find out the answer to that question.
Class E Licenses
The first thing to say about class E licenses is that this classification varies from state to state, with most states not even having an E class of license.
In fact, the only states that this license is available in are New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Georgia, Louisiana, and depending on which one you are in, depends on what that license means.
As an all definition that can fit all these states without going into too much detail, a class E license can be a specialized license for those who have to drive particular vehicles, or it can be a basic driver’s license that can be used for cars.
Most people who drive for a living and are required to reside or work in these states, may need to upgrade their license to class E to meet the license requirements, otherwise they can face charges.
This can be particularly annoying if you live in a state far removed from one of these particular states, like Oregon or Wisconsin.
The vehicles that can be driven using a class E can also be for commercial or non-commercial purposes, which is good to know if you are agonizing over a long-haul drive.
Different States Definitions Of Class E Licenses
As we said before, what a class E license is varies from state to state and if you plan to drive through one of these states then it is best to know this information before proceeding, especially if you are driving a specialized vehicle.
In New York, the class E license is specialized, being for drivers who transport people, specifically in limousines, taxis, or vans.
Unfortunately, there are some steps to getting a class E license in New York that can be quite tedious. For starters, you must give up your standard or your class D license, and you must do this directly to the New York State department of motor vehicles.
For those who are giving up their licenses (specifically, standard licenses), there should be no further problems, however there are several things you need to do when applying.
First, you need to show proof of identity and your date of birth to the DMV, if you have another license that you are turning in for the class E, the information on that will suffice.
Then, you need to fill the MV-44 form, otherwise known as an application for permit, driver license or non-driver ID card.
Finally, you need to pay the fees required by the DMV, these are calculated based on the expiration date of your current driver’s license.
Once you’ve done all this, you should be good to go.
For those without a standard license, you will have to take the appropriate tests in order to receive the class E.
These will involve the basic written, road, and vision tests you would normally have for a standard license.
For Louisiana, the class E is a standard license which allows the owner to operate personal vehicles under 10,001 pounds or farm vehicles by the farmer who owns them.
This is mainly a license that is taken for commercial or business purposes, for example if a farmer wants to use a large tractor, however, if need be, a motorcycle license can be added to this particular class E.
In order to get a class E license in Louisiana, there are a couple of things that you need to do first with most of the necessary things being about safety.
First, you need to complete some training courses which are licensed by the Louisiana department of public safety.
In total this includes 52 hours total of courses: a driver’s education course that is 30 hours of class time and 8 hours behind the wheel instruction, and the pre-licensing instruction, which is 6 hours long, plus a further 8 hours behind the wheel instruction.
After that, you need to produce proof of identity, which is most frequently a passport or a standard driving license, verification of your social security number, either from a social security card, a W-2 form, or confirmation – either by printout or letter – from the social security administration, and a secondary type of proof of identity to confirm the first.
Those seeking a class E license in Louisiana must also pass the standard tests – written, vision, and road – and show that their vehicle registration and vehicle insurance are up-to-date to the office of motor vehicles.
Once all this is done, you can enjoy that license for 6 years before you have to renew it.
Compared to the first two E licenses we have seen, Florida’s E license is quite different. For starters, it is the standard license for anyone driving a personal vehicle that weighs 26,001 pounds or fewer, which in essence makes it the standard license for the state of Florida.
There are only a few vehicles you cannot drive with a class E license in Florida, but it is best if we list the ones you can to avoid confusion: cars, trucks, vans with a capacity limit of up to 15 people which includes the driver of the van, RVs, two wheeled or three wheeled vehicles – scooters, mopeds, or carts – but not motorcycles, as this requires other requirements in Florida.
As you can see in that list, there isn’t a lot you can’t drive with a class E license in Florida, but most are commercial, heavy-duty vehicles which would need additional training anyway.
To receive a class E or standard Floridian license, the applicant must be at least 16 years of age, pass the written exam and the actual driving test, pass a hearing and vision test, provide required documentation and ID to the Florida highway safety and motor vehicles department, and take drug and alcohol tests.
Considering most of this is standard practice for driving licenses, this should not be an issue for most people.
Missouri probably has the strangest designation for class E licenses of all the states that have one. The class E license in Missouri is a for-hire only license.
These are for drivers who do specific driving jobs as a service or as part of a business.
Specifically, a person applying for a class E license in Missouri must drive a vehicle transporting 14 passengers or fewer, drive a vehicle that is delivering products for a business, or drive a vehicle that carries freight or other merchandise for a business that is less than 26,000 pounds.
The kind of people getting this license in Missouri are people driving the shuttle bus to or from the airport or people who deliver groceries to homes, it is meant to be for specific purposes.
There are exceptions made for some for-hire drivers in Missouri who do not need a class E license to operate.
Drivers who drive a vehicle less than 12,000 pounds in weight, who transport people for a network or a taxi company, and fast food delivery drivers are all exempt from getting the class E.
In order to get the class E license in Missouri you need to pass a written exam, a vision test, and a road test, however if you have a standard license or a class F license, you do not need to take any tests for the class E, but you still need to meet requirements that you would for a full standard license if you are under 18 years old.
In Georgia, the class E license is a highly specialized license that is used for particular vehicles. Specifically, for driving emergency vehicles, vehicles of the fire department, and agricultural vehicles.
With agricultural vehicles, they must be owned by the farmer who is driving them. Otherwise, most of the onus is on what the vehicles are classified as before you attempt to drive them.
To receive a class E license in Georgia, you must be 18 years old at least, a minimum of 3,000 miles driving experience or a minimum of 3 months driving experience at the time of the application, and you must have a valid Georgia driving license.
As well as the driving license, you must also bring documents proving your identity – again, passport or another form – your residential address – a gas or phone bill will suffice – and proof of US citizenship or lawful status within the US to the DMV.
Once all this has been presented, you will then need to pass a vision exam, a knowledge exam, and pay the license fee.
Similar to Missouri, the class E license is for vehicles that have a weight limit.
However, in South Carolina, these have to be non-commercial vehicles, and, unlike Missouri, these licenses allow you to drive vehicles over 26,000 pounds, rather than restricting you to below it.
These vehicles must be single unit vehicles, so no 10-wheel trucks, and are most often small trucks, RVs and motorhomes.
In order to receive this license, the applicant must have prior driving experience or a beginner’s permit that they have held for no less than 180 days.
If they pass these markers, they then must complete an application for a non-commercial credential, pass a vision test, a knowledge test, an off-road maneuvers test, and finally a road test. After all this, the license is yours.
Kentucky And New Jersey
We thought to lump these two states together, as they give out a very similar license type with not much additional information.
In Kentucky, the class E is a moped license only and only allows you to drive a moped. Similarly, in New Jersey, the class E is a motorcycle license only and only allows you to drive a motorcycle.
But, for New Jersey, the class E can be established as a separate license or as an endorsement on an existing license, so if you are planning to get a motorcycle and live in New Jersey, it makes it a lot easier to tack the class E onto your existing license rather than trying to get a new one.
With so many states in the US with so many different laws and regulations, it can feel like a minefield looking for a specific license to apply for.
But with this handy little guide detailing the class E license – one of the more obscure licenses available – you should have no problem figuring out whether your state uses this kind of license and whether you need the class E in your day-to-day life.