Motor Vehicle FAQ

Motor Vehicles FAQ

How to avoid waiting in line?

When you renew by mail you avoid the possibility of waiting in line. When you send your renewal card in please be sure the information on the front of the card is correct. Sign and complete the insurance information on the back of your card to avoid any delay in receiving your registration. Allow two weeks response time.

WHEN do tags and registrations expire?

Motor vehicles, trailers and mobile homes (on rented land) must be registered each year. The annual fee is due on or before the following dates:

Personal Vehicle - Owner's Birthday
Vehicle leased by an individual - Lessee's Birthday
Company -owned Vehicles (except trucks over 5000 lbs.) -June 30
Trucks over 5000 lbs., Tractors and Semi-Trailers - December 31
Mobile Homes - December 31

How are fees determined?

The annual registration fee is based on either the empty weight (for private passenger vehicles), gross weight (for large trucks and truck -trailers) or length (for mobile homes).

How do I renew the registration on my vehicle?

Renewal notices are mailed as a courtesy of the State, but neither the State nor the Post Office is perfect and so, you may not receive one. It is the owner's responsibility to make sure that his registration is renewed each year on time. If you do not renew the registration by the 10th day of the month following expiration, a penalty will be added to the regular registration fees. However, please note that for law enforcement purposes the registration expires on the owner's birthday. If you do not receive a renewal notice please bring a copy of your current registration along with proof of insurance (for passenger vehicles) into any of our offices. Or, renew by mail for merely an additional 75 cents postage and handling charge. If you decide to renew by mail, you may wish to telephone to verify correct fees. You now have the option of renewing your registration for either one or two years.

I purchased a vehicle from an individual and they left their tag on it. Can I use the tag?

No,a tag is not transferable between individuals.

Does Florida offer "Special Tags"?

Yes, indeed. There are currently over 100 specialized tags available, including but not limited to Commemorative Challenger, Panther, Manatee, Florida Salutes Veterans, Olympic, Special Olympic and Collegiate tags. They may be purchased at any of our agencies. The above mentioned tags may also be personalized. There are, of course, additional fees and some tags would have to be ordered. For fees and tag availability, contact any of our offices or click here.

How do I get a disabled person's parking permit?

A certification form may be obtained at any tag office and should be completed by a licensed physician. These permits are issued for 4 years at a time. Temporary parking permits may also be obtained upon a physician's request. The individual applying for the permit must have either a Florida driver's license or a Florida identification card. There is no fee for a permanent permit. The fee for a temporary permit is $15.00.

When I purchase a vehicle from a dealer, how are tag and title handled?

Florida licensed car dealers are required by law to apply for title and registration when they sell a vehicle. The dealership has 30 days from the date of the sale to submit the application to our office for processing. The tag/registration is then returned to the dealership within 2-3 days.

I just moved to Florida. How soon must I register my vehicle in this state?

Once Florida residency is established you have 10 days to register your vehicle. In addition, anyone who accepts employment or engages in a trade, profession or occupation in this state or enters his child in Florida public schools must register his motor vehicles here within 10 days, if the vehicles are to be operated on Florida roads.

How do I register my small trailer?

Florida does not title trailers unless they have an empty weight of 2000 lbs. or over. Therefore, most boat and utility trailers need registration only. If an out-of-state proof of ownership shows an empty weight, our offices will accept that proof weight, or a weight slip may be obtained at Better Roads (official weigh station) in Naples. When a non-titled trailer is sold by an individual, the seller should give the purchaser a notarized bill of sale and a copy of the registration.

My registration expires in July and I'll be away during the summer. Can I renew my license plates in advance?

All registrations may be renewed up to three months in advance. In other words, yours could be paid as early as April.

What is required when I purchase a vehicle from a private party?

Transfer of title by the seller (on the front bottom of Florida title) must be properly completed for transfer by seller. All purchasers must be present, with a valid driver license, indentification card or passport at the time of the title transfer. If a new tag is to be purchased at the time of the title transfer, proof of insurance is required. Remember that sales tax must be paid at the time of the title transfer.

What type of proof of insurance is required?

To protect yourself and other persons, any motor vehicle you drive, including motorcycles (except mopeds), should have property damage liability insurance and "Personal Injury Protection" (PIP) insurance in the amount of at least $10,000 each. This is required on any motor vehicle with four or more wheels, both private passenger and commercial. Failure to carry motor vehicle liability and PIP insurance could result in the loss of your driver's license, motor vehicle registrations and tags. Up-to-date insurance cards or documents must be presented and must show that the vehicle has Florida coverage. The vehicle identification number must appear on these documents.

What are the requirements to register a vehicle in Florida when the vehicle is registered in another state or country?

The following is necessary in order to apply for a Florida tag and title:

Original out-of-state title or Manufacturers Certificate of Origin (new vehicle): if the title is held by a lien holder, a form letter can be completed at any of our tag offices to request the title be sent to the county tax collector for registration. Florida tag/registration cannot be issued until the title arrives.

Physical verification of the vehicle identification number: bring the vehicle to our main office at the Courthouse complex or to any of our satellite offices (except City Hall and Pelican Bay) where an employee will verify the number. If the vehicle is not presently in Florida, a form may be obtained at any tax collector's office to have a law enforcement officer perform this requirement. Verification is mandatory for all vehicles coming to Florida from another state.

Vehicles from another country must have
a verification completed by a DHSMV Inspector and must
pay a 6% sales tax on the fair market value of the

Proof of insurance: insurance card, policy or binder is needed. Existing policies which are written out of state must be transferred to a Florida agent.

Identification: any person named on the title should have proper photo identification and be present to sign an application for Florida title. If the person is not in Florida, a notarized power of attorney appointing another individual to sign for that person is needed.

If vehicle has been owned for less than six months, you will need to provide proof that sales tax has been paid.

In addition, vans, pick-up trucks and motor homes may require a weight slip specifying the empty weight of the vehicle. Large trucks and tractors (empty weight in excess of 5000 lbs.) must have gross weight declared.

When does the initial registration fee apply

Florida statues provide for a $225.00 fee to be imposed upon any initial application for registration for a motor vehicle or motorized recreational vehicle. This fee is not due if a tag is transferred to your newly acquired vehicle from your disposed of vehicle.

Can I get copies of various forms through the Internet?

Yes, click here

I just sold my vehicle. What should I do with my license plate?

If you have sold your vehicle and will not be immediately replacing it with another vehicle, your license plate and registration must be turned in to our office for cancellation. Do not cancel your insurance on the vehicle until after you have cancelled the plate or you may be subject to a suspension of your driver license.

I am going to cancel my insurance coverage on my vehicle because it will be taken off the road and placed in storage, but the registration does not expire for several months. What should I do?

Florida Statutes 320.02 and 627.733 require personal injury protection and property damage liability to be continuously maintained throughout the vehicle’s registration period. Failure to maintain the mandatory coverage may result in suspension of your driver license, therefore, when you cancel insurance on a vehicle, the license plate should be immediately returned to our office for cancellation. Surrendering the plate will prevent your driving privilege from being suspended.