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Registering a Vehicle in Florida
The state of Florida requires that residents register their vehicles with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). This page will help guide you through registering a vehicle in Florida for the first time. Registration and titling happen together in Florida, so you will only need to complete the process one time to do both.
This page is dedicated to the first time registration of vehicles in Florida. If you need to renew your existing registration, please visit our page on Registration Renewal in Florida.
You have 10 days to register and title your vehicle with the DHSMV once you:
- Begin working in the state.
- Register your children for a Florida school.
- Establish FL residency through rental, lease, or purchase of an apartment or house.
You will be required to title your car or truck in the state of Florida at the same time as you register it. You can title the vehicle without registering it, but it will be illegal to drive the vehicle if it is not registered.
For details on how to title your vehicle, including additional fees to pay on top of your registration fees, please visit our Title Transfers in Florida page.
Registering Your Out-of-State Vehicle
Before registering your vehicle, you’ll need to:
- Get a Florida driver's license.
- Purchase FL auto insurance.
- Have a VIN inspection and odometer reading completed.
Once you have taken these steps, go to the Florida county tax collector's office and:
- Show your Florida driver's license. If there is more than one owner, all the owners must submit proof of identity.
- Submit proof of Florida insurance.
- Present the out-of-state title.
- If you do not have the title because it is still held by a lienholder, the tax collector's office will help you contact the lienholder and send the new title to them.
- Have your vehicle identification number (VIN) verified on the Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification form (Form HSMV 82042). You may be able to have your car verified at the county tax collector's office or you can get it completed before going in to register your car from:
- Any police officer.
- Florida car dealers.
- Car dealer from previous state on dealership letterhead.
- Florida DMV examiners/inspectors.
- Florida Notary Public.
- Active duty military officers, provost marshal, or Navy legalman.
- Submit a completed Application for Certificate of Title With/Without Registration (Form HSMV 82040). All owners must sign the form, and proof of identity is required for all owners, even if they are not present.
- You are allowed to register the vehicle for either 1 year or 2 years.
- Submit the completed Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification (Form HSMV 82042).
- Pay all registration and tax fees (see below).
New Resident Vehicle Sales Tax
The state of Florida may charge sales tax, use tax, and local discretionary taxes on your vehicle when you register it for the first time in Florida. Whether or not you pay the taxes depends on how long you have owned your vehicle.
- Vehicle owned less than 6 months:
- Owner is responsible for 6% Florida sales or use tax and any local discretionary taxes your new city or county might require.
- Florida sales tax will be pro-rated based upon any taxes you paid in another state.
- Example: You already paid 3% tax in previous state so you subtract that from the 6% tax owed to Florida. This means you owe 3% sales or use tax.
- Vehicle owned more than 6 months:
- No sales, use, or local discretionary taxes will be charged for vehicles that have been owned and registered in another state.
- Your out-of-state title and registration will need to verify that you have owned the vehicle more than 6 months.
Florida residents must register your vehicle for the first time whenever you purchase or are given one. The process is different depending on whether you buy the vehicle from a car dealership or from a private individual.
Buying from a Car Dealership
Authorized car dealerships can issue temporary license plates and file the title/registration for you. You may want to ask any dealership where you are shopping for cars if they are authorized to use the Electronic Temporary Registration (ETR) and the Electronic Filing System (EFS).
The dealer is required to transfer the title and registration within 30 days. If the transfer has not been completed in that time, you should contact the Division of Motor Services to find out about the status of the title/registration paperwork. The DHSMV provides contact information based on your county of residence – click here for a list of Florida counties to find out which number to call.
Registering a Leased Vehicle
The car dealership that is leasing the vehicle to you will take care of the titling and registration. Be aware that the fees for registering a leased car are more expensive than for a vehicle you own.
Registration Fees and Taxes with Dealer Purchases
The fees incurred in the registration and titling of vehicles are usually not included in the contract, but if they are, the dealer can only charge the exact amount of fees that were originally paid. Dealerships CAN charge an extra fee for filing the titling and registration paperwork, but they must disclose the extra charges separately.
Buying from a Private Party
When you buy a vehicle from a private party, you must fill out all the forms yourself and submit the paperwork to the county collector's office for registration. You must also fill out a Bill of Sale with the seller of the vehicle to prove record of the transaction. The seller will need to submit this form to the tax collector’s office, but it is extremely valuable for you to have a copy for your own records.
Please visit our FL Bill of Sale page for more detailed information on bills of sale and notices of sale in Florida.
After you and the seller have completed a FL Bill/Notice of Sale, take the following steps to register your vehicle:
- Properly fill out the title with the seller of the vehicle.
- Make sure to cross-reference the VIN on the car with the one listed on the title. If the car has not been titled in Florida, you will need to get a VIN inspection.
- Complete an odometer/mileage disclosure (for vehicles less than 10 years old).
- Take the filled out title to the county tax collector's office and submit it to the agent.
- Show proof of insurance.
- If the vehicle also needs to be titled in the state (i.e. you’re purchasing a vehicle that is currently titled in another state), complete and submit an Application for Certification for Title With/Without Registration (Form HSMV 82040) and the Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification form (Form HSMV 82042).
- Pay all fees (see “Registration Fees” below for details):
- Title fee.
- Registration fee.
- Florida sales and use tax: 6%.
- Local county fees.
- License plate fee if required (you will not be charged if transferring plates).
- Get your license plates and registration stickers.
If you are a non-resident from another state who has purchased a vehicle in Florida, you may qualify to get temporary registration tags from a local county tax collector's office in order to legally drive the vehicle back to your state of residence before registering it in your home state. You will need to pay Florida sales tax and provide proper proof of insurance in order to get the temporary tags.
Vehicle registration for members of the military is different depending on whether you are a Florida resident, a resident of another state stationed in FL, or a Florida resident stationed out of state or overseas.
Florida Military Residents
Florida service members stationed in state are required to register any vehicle in the same manner as any other Florida resident; however, you do not have to pay the initial registration fee.
Complete and file a Military Initial Registration Fee Exemption Affidavit (Form HSMV 82002) along with all other documents listed above to claim your exemption.
Non-Resident Military Stationed in Florida
Military service members stationed in Florida are not required to register their car in the state. They must maintain current registration in their home state and carry proper insurance at all times.
If you do choose to title and register your vehicle in Florida, you can register it using the steps listed above. You will also qualify for an exemption from the initial registration fee by filing the Military Initial Registration Fee Exemption Affidavit (Form HSMV 82002).
Florida Military Residents Stationed Out of State
Members of the military who are Florida residents but are stationed in another state can still register their vehicle in Florida. Fill out all of the following forms, and send them along with payment for registration fees (see below) to the county tax collector's office in your county of residence:
- The original vehicle title, or an Application for Certification for Title With/Without Registration (Form HSMV 82040) if you also need to title your vehicle in the state.
- Florida Insurance Affidavit (Form HSMV 83330).
- Military Insurance Exemption Information.
- Military Initial Registration Fee Exemption Affidavit (Form HSMV 82002)
- Exemption from Florida Sales Tax for U.S. military service members.
You may also file a Power of Attorney for a Motor Vehicle, Mobile Home or Vessel (Form HSMV 82053) in order to allow a person of your choice to file your registration paperwork for you.
Your license plates and registration stickers will be mailed to you. Contact the DHSMV customer service center at (850) 617-2000 for help filling out any forms or to ask any questions.
Florida charges different fees based upon the type of vehicle you’re registering, its weight, the license plates you choose, and whether or not you will be registering the vehicle for 1 year or 2 years.
- Initial registration fee: $225.
- This is a one-time fee for vehicles that have never had a FL registration. If you are transferring a title to a new vehicle, you will not be required to pay the initial registration fee.
- Private-use automobiles:
- Up to 2499 lbs.: $46.15 for 1 year or $92.30 for 2 years.
- 2500 – 3499 lbs.: $57.15 for 1 year or $114.30 for 2 years.
- 3500 lbs.: $70.65 for 1 year or $141.30 for 2 years.
- Commercial and private-use trucks:
- Up to 1999 lbs.: $46.15 for 1 year or $92.30 for 2 years.
- 2000 – 3000 lbs.: $57.15 for 1 year or $114.30 for 2 years.
- 3001 – 5000 lbs.: $70.65 for 1 year or $141.30 for 2 years.
- Leased vehicles flat fee: $17 and:
- Vehicles "For Hire" that carry less than 9 passengers: add $1.50 per 100 lbs. of vehicle weight to flat fee.
- Vehicles "For Hire" that carry 9 passengers or more: add $2 per 100 lbs. of vehicle weight to flat fee.
- License plate fee:
- Transfer: $7.35.
- New issue plate: $28.
You will receive your license plates and registration stickers once you have filed all your registration paperwork. Stick the registration sticker on the square in the upper right hand corner of your license plate.
You’ll have the opportunity to choose whether you’d like standard issue plates, or other special or personalized license plates. For more information on the types of special plates offered in Florida, please see our guide on Florida license plates.Other Topics in This Section
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- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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