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  • License Plates & Placards in Florida

    SUMMARY: License Plates in Florida

    As a Florida resident, you must have a FL license plate to operate your vehicle on public roads. You will apply for a license plate in person when you register your vehicle for the first time. You may also be able to transfer FL license plates from your previous vehicle if you’re registering it in the same name and get temporary plates while waiting for your registration paperwork. To renew your tags, you’ll renew your registration, which can be done online, by mail, or in person.

    Keep reading for more information about license plates and tags from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).

    NOTE: Looking for details about FL disability permits? See our Disability Placards & Plates page.

    Types of Florida License Plates

    Registered vehicles in Florida must display a license plate with a valid decal. In most cases, license plates go on the back of your vehicle.

    The standard Florida license plate features:

    • A license plate number, which is actually a combination of letters and numbers.
    • Oranges and orange blossoms against a silhouette of Florida in the center of the plate.
    • Either “Sunshine State” or “In God We Trust” at the bottom (your choice).

    In addition, you must have a decal in the upper right corner of your license plate that shows the month and year that your registration expires.

    Temporary Plates

    If you buy a vehicle from a Florida dealership, you will get a temporary plate valid for 30 days. This allows you to drive your car while waiting for your title and registration.

    If you buy a car in a private sale, you CANNOT get a temporary plate. You and the seller must go to your local tax collector or tag office to complete the vehicle transfer.

    You can apply at your local tax collector’s office for a temporary plate for other situations in which you need to operate the vehicle for a short time only, such as driving a car you buy in FL back to your home state.

    Other Florida License Plates

    Several specialty license plates are available from the FL DHSMV, including personalized plates and plates that support various organizations. See "Personalized License Plates" below for more information, including the FL DHSMV tag search to find available plates.

    You can also apply for a disability license plate or parking placard in order to use handicapped parking.

    Apply for License Plates in FL

    To apply for a license plate, you need to register your vehicle in Florida.

    You must register within:

    • 30 days after purchasing a vehicle.
      OR
    • 10 days of becoming a FL resident.

    For complete instructions, visit our Car Registration page.

    Renew Your Florida Tags

    Renewing your vehicle registration in Florida also renews your license plate and can be done no more than 3 months before it expires.

    For details about renewing your vehicle registration, including fees and forms, see our FL registration renewal page.

    Once you renew your registration, you’ll receive a new expiration decal for your license plate. Put the new decal on your license plate over the old decal.

    Replace Lost or Stolen License Plates

    If your Florida license plate or decal is lost, stolen, or damaged, you can apply for replacements.

    You must go in person to your FL DHSMV office with:

    • A completed Application for Replacement License Plate, Validation Decal, or Parking Permit (Form HSMV 83146).
    • Your current vehicle registration certificate.
    • Payment for replacement fees:
      • Damaged or defaced license plate: $28
        • If you’ve received a police citation, the replacement is free.
      • Lost license plate replacement: $28.
        • If your plate or decal was lost in the mail, the replacement is free IF you request it within 180 days of the original issue date.
      • Stolen plate replacement is free.
        • You MUST report the theft to the police.
    • The damaged license plate or decal, if applicable.
    • A copy of your traffic ticket for a damaged or defaced plate, if applicable.

    NOTE: If you are replacing surrendered or seized license plates, you must also include a letter of clearance from the appropriate agency.

    Transfer or Surrender FL Tags

    In Florida, license plates stay with the owner as long as they are in use. If you will no longer use your license plate, you must surrender it to the FL DHSMV.

    Transfer Tags

    You can transfer tags from a car that you sell or trade to a newly purchased vehicle ONLY IF the new vehicle will be registered:

    • In the same name or names of the current registration.
    • In the name of at least 1 owner on the current registration.
      OR
    • In the name of the current owner’s surviving spouse.

    You will transfer the tags when you register the new car.

    You CANNOT transfer FL tags to another person.

    Surrender Plates

    Florida license plates MUST be surrendered if you will no longer use them. You have to surrender plates when you:

    • Move to a new state.
    • Sell a vehicle and do not transfer the plate to your next vehicle.
    • Cancel the insurance on a vehicle that you own.

    You can surrender your tags to your county tax collector:

    • By mail.
      OR
    • In person.

    Fees for Florida License Plates

    The cost of license plates in FL is determined by several factors, including the type and weight of your vehicle.

    You will pay higher fees when you register your car than when you renew your registration, including an initial registration fee and an issuing fee.

    • Initial registration: $225.
    • License plate issuing fee: $28.
    • License plate transfer fee: $7.35.
    • Vehicle taxes (payable when you register AND renew tags):
      • Cars:
        • Up to 2499 lbs.: $27.60.
        • 2500 to 3499 lbs.: $35.60.
        • 3500 lbs. and above: $45.60.
      • Trucks:
        • 1999 lbs.: $27.60.
        • 2000 to 3000 lbs.: $35.60.
        • 3001 to 5000 lbs.: $45.60.
      • Motorcycles and other vehicles: See the FL registration fee and tax chart.
    • Service fees: Varies by location.
    • Replacements:
      • Damaged or defaced license plate: $28.
        • Free if you’ve been ticketed by law enforcement.
      • Lost license plate: $28.
        • Free if your tags were lost in the mail and you apply for replacements within the last 180 days of the issue date.
      • Stolen plate replacement: Free.

    Personalized License Plates

    The Florida DHSMV offers personalized license plates if you want a special message on your tags. You can look up license plate combinations online using the FL DHSMV online tag search to see if the plate you want is available. If it is, you fill out the Application for Personalized License Plate (Form HSMV 83043) and submit it to your local county tax collector's office. Even if you look up license plate combinations and find an available plate in your tag search, your selection can be denied if the FL DHSMV finds anything obscene or objectionable.

    If your license plate accepted, you should be able to pick it up at your county tax collector's office in about 45 days. You'll need to surrender your old plate at that time. The personalized plate costs $15 per year, in addition to regular renewal and/or other specialty plate fees.

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