Lyft Driver Requirements: A Complete Guide to Applying

Today there are more opportunities than ever to work as a rideshare driver. Whether it’s for Uber or Lyft, being a rideshare drive is a great way to set your own hours while meeting interesting people.

However, there are certain requirements you’ll need to meet before you can sign up to drive for these services. In this article, we’ll examine the Lyft driver requirements, covering everything from the minimum age to the device you’ll need to run the Lyft driver app. This way, you don’t go through the Lyft application process only to find your application rejected because you didn’t meet one of the requirements.

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Lyft Age Requirements

To apply to drive, Lyft requires you to be at least 21 years old, though you only have to be 18 to use Lyft as a passenger. You’ll also need to have held an active U.S. driver’s license for at least one year. This ensures that you’re not only old enough, but also have sufficient driving experience. After all, would you want a Lyft driver who’s only had their license for a month?

Note: It is possible to run into issues with your application if your driver’s license was recently reissued or if you live in a state that doesn’t provide a driver’s license issue date. See this Lyft support article for more info.

If you’re not old enough to drive for Lyft but still want to make money using your car, check out this guide to driving jobs for people under 21.

Lyft Driving Record Check

To meet the Lyft driver requirements, you’ll need to have your driving record checked. Lyft uses a third party to check this information (except in the case of New York City, which has different laws that we discuss below).

A driving record check can sound intimidating, but don’t worry — having a couple parking tickets or even a minor accident shouldn’t disqualify you. However, you will generally be disqualified from driving for the Lyft platform if a report from your state’s DMV reveals any of the following:

  • More than three moving violations in the past three years, like accidents or traffic light violations
  • A major moving violation in the past three years, such as driving on a suspended license or reckless driving
  • A DUI or other drug-related driving violation in the last seven years
  • Driving-related convictions in the last seven years, like hit-and-run or felonies involving a vehicle

Also, keep in mind that any changes in your driving record while you’re a Lyft driver can also affect your eligibility to drive for the service. You aren’t free to get as many tickets as you want just because you passed the Lyft DMV check when you first applied. The point of the check is to ensure that you’re a safe, responsible driver. If Lyft finds out that’s no longer the case, they can deactivate you.

Lyft Background Check

In addition to having a clean driving record, one of the Lyft driver requirements is passing a criminal background check. As with the driving record check, Lyft uses a third-party service to conduct this check.

Certain minor offenses will not necessarily disqualify you, though Lyft will most likely reject your application if your background check reveals any of the following offenses:

  • Violent crime
  • Sexual offense
  • Disqualifying felony
  • Disqualifying drug-related offense
  • Disqualifying theft or property damage offense

Note that background checks can take several weeks to process, so don’t worry if you haven’t heard anything right away. To get a full background check requires coordinating the resources of county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Background checks are (understandably) not the highest priority for these agencies, so delays are common.

If your background check reveals something that could disqualify your application, Lyft will send you a copy of it via email (as well as information on how to dispute the results if you believe they are inaccurate).

As with the driving record check, Lyft can still deactivate you if they discover you’ve committed a crime after you passed your initial background check. Safety is always the priority for Lyft, and they will do whatever it takes to protect it. And whatever you do, don’t commit a crime while driving for Lyft. That’s a guaranteed way to get deactivated permanently.

Lyft Document Requirements

When filling out your Lyft application, you’ll need to provide several documents. The precise documents required vary from state to state (see the “State and Local Requirements” section below for more info). But Lyft requires all applicants to have the following documents:

  • Current valid driver’s license
  • Social Security number (in order to conduct the background check)
  • Valid license plates with current registration
  • Current valid insurance policy in your name

The last requirement is one to pay special attention to. If you’re still in college and on your parents’ insurance policy, for example, then you won’t meet the insurance requirement, as the policy must be in your name.

Lyft Insurance Requirements

It’s worth going into a bit more detail about the insurance requirements for Lyft, as it’s a topic that many potential drivers don’t understand. To begin, the only insurance that Lyft requires you to have is the minimum coverage that state law mandates. For all states, this means a certain level of liability coverage.

Lyft does have their own insurance policy in place that protects drivers while they’re transporting passengers. They offer up to $1 million in liability coverage, so you can rest assured that they’ll keep you safe.

However, you should know about the “coverage gap” that can occur when you’re going to pick up a passenger. In this moment, your personal insurance won’t cover you since you’re driving for business purposes. And Lyft won’t cover you because you’re not yet transporting a passenger. To protect yourself in these situations, we recommend getting rideshare coverage. It’s an affordable add-on for many insurance policies. You can learn more about it in our guide.

Lyft Phone Requirements

Lyft Driver Requirements - Phone

Mobile device are crucial to making the Lyft service work at all. They’re what allow drivers and passengers to connect across cities and in a variety of weather conditions, all at the touch of a button. It’s crucial that you have a mobile device that works and meets the following requirements:

  • A cellular connection: You need a cellular connection in order to run the Lyft driver app. You can’t use a device that only works on WiFi, such as an MP3 player, tablet, or phone without an active cellular data plan.
  • Operating system requirements for iPhones and Apple devices: iOS 11.
  • Operating system requirements for Android devices: Android 7 or higher.

If you don’t meet the operating system requirements, it is still possible that the Lyft app will work; it just may not perform at the optimal level. This could interfere with your ability to successfully and safely give rides.

Lyft Vehicle Requirements

What exactly are the requirements that your vehicle needs to meet for Lyft? These vary based on the market in which you’re operating. Here are the general requirements, however:

  • Vehicle age requirement — In general, your car can be no older than 15 years. In many cities, the maximum age is 10 years.
  • Vehicle type requirement — Lyft never allows you to drive taxis or stretch limos for their platform.
  • Number of seats — All vehicles must have at least 5 seats (including the driver’s) and no more than 8 seats.
  • Number of doors — All vehicles must have 4 doors
  • Vehicle inspection — Most cities require you to pass a vehicle inspection. This checks to ensure that key safety features like brakes and seat belts are working.

To learn more, consult our complete guide to Lyft vehicle requirements.

Best Cars for Lyft

Vehicle requirements are nice to know about, but what if you’re in the market for a new car and want to know what the best model is to get for Lyft? We wrote an entire guide to this topic, which we recommend you consult for a full look. In brief, here are our top picks for Lyft vehicles based on key features like fuel economy and passenger comfort:

  1. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
  2. Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
  3. Toyota Prius Hybrid
  4. Ford Fusion Hybrid
  5. Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE

You can’t go wrong with any of the above cars, and as long as they meet your city’s age requirements, they’ll meet all other necessary requirements out there. Indeed, they’ll go above and beyond the minimum requirement in order to deliver a high-quality passenger experience.

Lyft State and Local Requirements

In addition to all the requirements outlined above, you may have to meet additional specific requirements for your state, city, or locality. This can be annoying, but it’s the reality of how transportation and business laws vary across a country with as many states as the U.S. (not to mention the requirements for Lyft drivers in Canada).

For example, in New York City the driving record and criminal background checks are not conducted by Lyft. Instead, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) conducts them according to their licensing standards. This can make things a bit trickier for would-be Lyft drivers in NYC, who also need to get a commercial license through the TLC.

Specific requirements like these are crucial to be aware of before you apply to drive for Lyft. To view a list of specific requirements for your region, visit Lyft’s driver application requirements page and select the area in which you want to drive.

You’ll also receive further information on additional requirements once you’ve completed your online application.

Driver Document Requirements for the Top 5 Lyft States

The state document requirements for Lyft drivers can vary. Let’s examine the top five states for Lyft drivers and what their requirements are:

1. Illinois

To drive in the Illinois, you’ll need have the following documents:

  • Vehicle inspection form
  • Driver’s license
  • Vehicle registration
  • Personal vehicle insurance
  • Driver photo

2. California

Make sure you have these documents handy before you apply:

  • Vehicle inspection form
  • California driver’s license
  • California vehicle insurance
  • Driver photo
  • California license plate

3. Florida

Florida drivers need to have these documents:

  • Driver’s license
  • Vehicle registration
  • Florida vehicle insurance
  • Driver photo

4. New Jersey

Lyft drivers in New Jersey must be sure to have these documents:

  • Driver’s license
  • Vehicle registration
  • Personal vehicle insurance
  • Driver photo

5. Texas

Lyft drivers in Texas must have all these documents:

  • Driver’s license
  • Texas vehicle registration sticker
  • Personal vehicle insurance
  • Driver photo

As you can see, the driver requirements don’t vary that much from state to state. However, there are some subtle differences to keep in mind, especially if you’re moving from one state to another and want to keep driving for Lyft.

Don’t see your state in this list? Don’t worry, it’s easy to find out your driver requirements. Just Google the name of your state + “lyft driver requirements.” You should be able to see the requirements promptly.

Final Requirements to Start Driving for Lyft

Meeting the Lyft driver requirements is an essential part of beginning your gig as a Lyft driver. While they can feel frustratingly detailed and specific, the requirements are ultimately there to make sure that you and your passengers have a safe, enjoyable experience using Lyft.

Before we go, we should mention that, in addition to driver requirements, there are also Lyft vehicle requirements that your car will have to meet before you begin driving. To learn more about these, check out our comprehensive guide to Lyft vehicle requirements.

We also suggest having a look at our Lyft vehicle inspection guide, as most states will require your vehicle to pass an inspection before you can begin giving rides.

Are you considering driving for Uber as well as Lyft? Are you curious to learn about Uber driver requirements? They’re very similar to Lyft, but there are some differences. Learn all about them in our comprehensive guide.