So you want to become a Lyft driver, but you’re not sure if you meet all of the driver requirements? Lyft doesn’t want to bombard you with information that will prevent you from applying, so they try to make the driver application process as easy as possible by leaving some vagueness in the online application to become a driver.
I’ve listed all of the Lyft driver requirements below if you want to understand what you’re facing before you start the signup process.
Want to apply now? Apply to drive for Lyft with my referral link and you’ll be eligible for the best new-driver bonus in your area.
Lyft Driver Requirements
- You must be at least 21 years old
- You must be insured to drive a 4-door car that is year 2004 or newer
- Atlanta: 2007
- Chicago: 2004
- Washington DC: 2006
- Kentucky: 2006
- Las Vegas: 2006
- Miami: 2009
- Minneapolis-St. Paul: 2006
- New York City: Governed by the TLC
- Pennsylvania: 2006
- Portland: 2006
- San Diego: 2007
- Seattle: 2006
- You must have in-state insurance with your name on the policy
- Must have an in-state US driver’s license and one full year of US driving experience
- In-state plates with a current registration (commercial plates are acceptable)
- Pass a background check and a driving record check
- Own a current smartphone: iPhone 4s or newer running iOS 7+, Android devices running 4.0+
- Complete a Mentor Session
- Comply with any local regulations in your area
Does your car qualify? Lyft vehicle requirements: You can drive for Lyft with these cars
Need a car? Try Hyrecar. Rent or lease a car before you decide if you want to commit to buying a car.
What does all of that really mean? Some of it is clear — like the age requirement — and some of it isn’t as clear — like the insurance requirements. Let me try to clear up the requirements for you, and if you still have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you asap! Or, just apply anyway and clear it up later in the application process.
You must be at least 21 years old, with one year of US driving experience
Are you 21 years old or older, and have you had your drivers license for more than one year? If yes, you qualify. If no, you don’t qualify. There is no wiggle room here. Lyft won’t make any exceptions for you, even if your 21st birthday is next month.
21 is a really low age requirement, and I think driving for Lyft is the perfect college and fresh-out-of-college job. Most Lyft drivers are a little bit older, so if you’re not a fresh-faced twenty-something, don’t worry. Lyft won’t discriminate against your age even though their promo videos mostly feature the baby-faced.
You must be insured to drive a 4-door car that is year 2004 or newer
Do you own a 2-door coupe? You’re out of luck. Does your car have those weird center-opening rear mini-doors that aren’t quite a full door? Sorry, your car doesn’t qualify. Built in 1999? That’s a no-go.
Here’s where it gets tricky: What does Lyft mean by “own…a car?” Does that mean your name has to be on the title? Or can the car be registered in your mom’s, spouses, boyfriends, etc’s name?
The car does not have to be registered to you, but you must be insured to drive the car. As long as you’re a named driver on an insurance policy covering that vehicle, you qualify.
- Lyft vehicle requirements: You can drive for Lyft with these cars
- Try Hyrecar, a peer-to-peer network that allows you to rent or lease a car for Uber.
What condition does your car have to be in?
Good condition. It should not have any major dents, all safety features need to be present and working, the interior needs to be clean, stain free, odor free. The car does not have to be in perfect, new condition.
You must pass the Lyft Mentor Session
After you apply and pass the background check, you will schedule a ‘Mentor Session’ with a Lyft driver. At the Mentor Session your Mentor will check to see that everything is in working order, and they’ll check on the physical condition of the car. Any major mechanical or cosmetic issues will disqualify your car. Common problems are broken tail lights, blinkers that don’t blink, burnt out headlights, and cracked glass.
Oh — and clean your car before you meet with a Lyft driver! Show them that you care and they’re much liker to give you a good review.
Related reading about the Mentor Session
- Want to pass the Lyft Mentor Session? Follow advice from a real Lyft Mentor
- Stories from real drivers about the Lyft mentor session
If you need a car to drive for Lyft, these are good places to shop for a car or a loan:
- 1-800 Auto Yes - One-step application process
- Automotive.com - Shop for cars and loans
- myAutoloan.com - A fast way to see which types of auto loans you qualify for
You must have in-state insurance with your name on the policy
This was something I learned after I became a Lyft driver: Car insurance is issued state-by-state because each state can have very different insurance regulations. Lyft asks that your car insurance policy is issued in the state where you’re going to drive. So if you just moved to California from Arizona and your insurance policy originates in Arizona, you’ll need to get it changed. Contact your instance company for more help.
You must have an in-state drivers license and at least one year of US driving experience
California drivers need a California license, Texas drivers need a Texas license, etc. If you’re new to the state, head to the DMV and get a new license. Having the proper in-state license also comes in handy when you have to deal with anything government-related, including a stop with the police, so it’s always worth having the right license.
You also need to have at least one full year of US driving experience. That means that Lyft doesn’t count your international driving experience when they look at your licensing history. Even if you’ve driven internationally for 20 years, a US license that is only a few months old won’t meet the requirement.
In-state plates with current registration
Get your car registered in-state, and make sure your tags are up to date! This might mean another DMV errand, but it’s yet another good reason to have all of your car information in-order and in compliance.
It’s not only about being hired by Lyft — it’s also about being current with the law. Getting pulled over sucks. The last thing you want in life is to get pulled over for expired tags. Ok, Dad Moment over.
Pass a background check a driving record check
How clean is clean? You might not have the squeaky-cleanest driving record, but can you still be hired?
The Lyft driving record check looks at:
- Aged 21 or older, with an active US driver’s license for 1+ years
- Valid personal auto insurance that meets or exceeds state requirements
- No more than three moving violations in the past three years (e.g. accidents, traffic light violations)
- No major violations in the past three years (e.g. driving on a suspended license, reckless driving)
- No DUIs or other drug-related driving violations in the last seven years
- No extreme infractions in the last seven years (e.g. hit-and-run, felonies involving a vehicle)
Lyft will ask you to consent to a background check that is administered by a third party. Here’s what the background check looks at.
The Lyft background check looks back 7 years to screen for:
- No violent crimes
- No sexual offenses
- No theft
- No property damage
- No felonies
- No drug related offenses
Lifetime screen against:
- Individuals registered on the National Sex Offender Registry and DOJ50-State Sex Offender Registry
If you do not pass the background check, Lyft will email you the results and tell you how to contest.
Comply with any local regulations in your area
Some cities require Lyft drivers to comply with special regulations in order to legally pick up and drop off passengers. Special regulations could be business licenses, special placards, or a different state-required inspection or background check. Lyft will send you city-specific information when you apply to help you navigate all the steps you need to take to be legal in your area.
View the list of all City and State regulations for Lyft drivers.
How to apply when you don’t have a car
You might run into an issue during the application process if you don’t have a car, because the application forces you to input vehicle to complete the application. Many potential drivers don’t have a qualifying car, and plan to drive with a Hertz, Enterprise, or other type of Lyft rental. You can get caught in a loop: You can’t apply to Lyft without a car, and you can’t get the rental without being an approved driver.
To successfully apply without a car, apply to the Lyft Express Drive program. That application assumes that you need a car, so it will allow you to fill out basic information and do a background screening before you get a vehicle.
Get hired as a Lyft driver faster by…
The application process is mostly straightforward and I can guarantee you’ll be hired if you meet all the requirements and keep all of your documents in order.
I do have one suggestion for getting hired quickly, and getting on the road quickly: Apply now, even if you’re not sure if you meet all of the requirements. Lyft HQ is there to help you understand and meet the requirements, so the sooner you begin the process the faster you’ll be on the road.