Not Approved to Drive Lyft? Here's What to Do Next!

Published: August 7, 2023
Last updated: February 29, 2024

Joining the Lyft driving community can open up a world of opportunities, but the journey doesn't always start smoothly for everyone. There might be a hiccup, such as finding out you're "not approved to drive Lyft." If you're facing this situation, it can be both confusing and disappointing. However, understanding the reasons behind this outcome and the next steps you can take to address it can prove invaluable. This article aims to guide you through this process and shed light on how to navigate this situation.

Potential Reasons You Are Not Approved to Drive Lyft

Before outlining the steps to take if you're not approved to drive for Lyft, it's crucial to comprehend the common reasons for disapproval.

Background Check Concerns

One of the primary factors Lyft takes into consideration is the applicant's background check. This is a comprehensive process that scrutinizes both your driving and criminal history. Here's what it encompasses:

  • Driving Record: Lyft requires drivers to maintain a good driving record. Multiple violations, such as speeding tickets, DUIs, or reckless driving charges, can be red flags, potentially leading to the denial of your application.

  • Criminal History: Lyft values the safety of its community. Therefore, certain criminal convictions, especially those involving violence, theft, sexual offenses, or property damage, can result in application denial.

Insufficient Driving Experience

Lyft aims to ensure that its drivers have sufficient on-road experience to provide safe, dependable rides. As a part of this:

  • Lyft requires drivers to have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S. If you're newly licensed or have less than a year's driving experience, this could be a reason why your application was rejected.

Non-compliant Vehicle Requirements

Lyft has specific requirements for the vehicles used by its drivers. These regulations are in place to ensure passenger safety and comfort. The common vehicle-related reasons for application denial include the following:

  • Vehicle Age: Lyft requires that your car be a certain age or newer. The exact requirement can vary depending on your city, but generally, your vehicle must not be more than 12 years old.

  • Vehicle Model: Certain car models might not be accepted due to various factors like size or safety ratings.

  • Safety Requirements: Lyft mandates a vehicle inspection to ensure your car is safe and comfortable for passengers. This involves checking your car's crucial functions, like brakes, lights, and seatbelts. Failing this inspection can lead to disqualification.

By understanding these common reasons for not being approved to drive for Lyft, you can better navigate your next steps.

What To Do If You're Not Approved

If your application to drive for Lyft was rejected, don't worry! There are several steps you can take to rectify the situation and potentially improve your chances of getting approved in the future.

Review Your Application Thoroughly

A simple mistake or omission in your application can lead to rejection. Here's how you can address this:

  • Accuracy Check: Go over your application carefully. Ensure that all information, particularly regarding your driving experience, vehicle details, and personal information, is accurate and up-to-date.

  • Omission of Details: Did you forget to include some essential information? Perhaps, a necessary detail about your driving history or vehicle specifications? If so, amend this before reapplying.

  • Reapply: After rectifying any errors or omissions, you can consider reapplying. However, be sure to wait for a reasonable period before reapplying.

Appeal the Decision

If you believe that your rejection was based on an error, you have the right to appeal. Here's how you can proceed:

  • Understanding the Reason: Lyft typically provides an explanation for your denial. Understanding this reason can help you frame a cogent appeal.

  • Filing an Appeal: Contact Lyft's support team to inquire about the appeal process. Each case is unique, so follow the specific instructions provided for appeal.

  • Providing Supporting Documents: During the appeal process, you may be asked to provide additional documentation to support your case. Be prepared for this and cooperate with the requests to facilitate a smooth process.

Improve Your Eligibility

Sometimes, the rejection could be due to factors that can be improved over time or with some adjustments. Here's what you can do:

  • Gain More Experience: If the issue was insufficient driving experience, consider reapplying after you've accumulated the required experience. Use this time to hone your driving skills, focusing on safe and responsible driving practices.

  • Vehicle Upgrade: If your vehicle doesn't meet Lyft's requirements, you might need to consider using a different car that complies. Check the specific requirements for your city and ensure your vehicle meets them before reapplying.

Reapplying After Rejection: What's the Ideal Waiting Period?

Experiencing rejection when you apply to be a Lyft driver can be disheartening, but it's crucial to remember that it's not necessarily a permanent decision. So, how long should you wait before you reapply?

While Lyft does not specify a mandatory waiting period before you can reapply, it's beneficial to allow ample time to address the reasons behind the rejection. Here's how you can approach it:

  • Background Check Concerns: If the rejection was due to a background check, wait until the circumstances have improved. This could mean waiting for a traffic violation to age out or allowing more time to pass after a criminal conviction.

  • Driving Experience: If you were rejected due to insufficient driving experience, wait at least until you meet the minimum requirement of one year of licensed driving experience before reapplying.

  • Vehicle Requirements: If your vehicle did not meet Lyft's standards, reapply once you have secured a vehicle that meets the necessary requirements.

In essence, the ideal waiting period before reapplying to drive for Lyft should be based on the time it takes to address the reasons for your initial rejection adequately.

Not Approved? Consider Other Options

If you've been denied and are unable to resolve the issues that led to this outcome, consider other driving opportunities. Other rideshare platforms may have different approval criteria and could be a good alternative. Delivery services or courier roles also offer opportunities to earn money using your vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lyft and Driver’s Applications

What specific crimes can disqualify me from driving for Lyft?

Lyft disqualifies applicants who have been convicted of severe infractions like violent crimes, felonies, sexual offenses, and property damage. However, the specific crimes considered disqualifying can vary based on local laws and Lyft's policy changes.

Does Lyft allow appeals for rejected applications due to criminal history?

Yes, Lyft does allow you to appeal a rejection due to criminal history. The appeal process involves providing more context or showing rehabilitation efforts. However, whether the appeal will be successful depends on the specific circumstances and Lyft's policies.

If my vehicle doesn't meet Lyft's requirements, can I rent a car to drive for Lyft?

Yes, if your personal vehicle doesn't meet Lyft's requirements, you can consider renting a car through Lyft's Express Drive program. This program partners with rental companies to provide vehicles that meet Lyft's standards.

What is the ideal waiting period before reapplying to drive for Lyft after rejection?

While there's no set waiting period before reapplying, it's best to wait until you've addressed the reasons for your initial rejection. This could vary from a few months to a year or more, depending on the specific circumstances.

How does the background check process work for Lyft?

Lyft's background check process involves reviewing the applicant's driving record and criminal history. It checks for major traffic violations, criminal convictions, and license suspensions. This process ensures that Lyft drivers meet safety and reliability standards. The background check is conducted by a third-party company and usually takes a few days to complete, though it can take longer in some cases.


Finding out you're "not approved to drive Lyft" can feel like a roadblock on your path to becoming a rideshare driver. However, it doesn't spell the end of your journey. By understanding the reasons, taking corrective actions, and considering alternatives, you can still find your way into the rideshare industry or related driving opportunities. Remember, every setback paves the way for a comeback, and your driving career may just be taking an unexpected detour, not coming to a complete halt.

Curious about the earning potential with Lyft? Dive into the next guide by Keep Driving and learn how much Lyft drivers make per ride to maximize your rideshare earnings!

Sales Development Lead Scott spearheaded a collective blog site before expanding his automotive knowledge and joining the team. Now he leads our team of experts by building ideas on our Sales Development department.
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