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FAQs on Registration of Motor Vehicles
(Updated September 1, 2009)

What is a registration?

A registration is evidence of having paid the registration tax and fees on a motor vehicle. It consists of a metal license plate, a validation decal, and a registration certificate.

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Why must I register my motor vehicle?

In the state of Florida, a motor vehicle is required by law to be registered within ten days of the owner either becoming employed, placing children in public school, or establishing residency. Registering your motor vehicle goes hand in hand with the titling process.

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How do I register a vehicle if I am out of state?

If registering a vehicle from out of state, refer to the License Plate Rate Chart (you will need Acrobat reader) and complete the application for certificate for title. Mail the completed form to the individual's local county tax collector or license plate agency in Florida.

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How do I register a vehicle if I am in Florida?

If registering a vehicle in person, submit the original title, proof of Florida insurance to the local county tax collector or license plate agency.

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What are the basic registration fees?

The 12-month registration period begins the first day of the owners birth month. Company owned vehicles use the month of June. Full amount is charged for the registration period regardless of when during the registration period the vehicle is registered.

Classification Weight Annual Tax
and
Other Fees
Biennial Tax
and
Other Fees
Automobiles, private use thru 2499 pounds $27.60 $55.20
Automobiles, private use 2500-3499 $35.60 $71.20
Automobiles, private use 3500 $45.60 $91.20
Trucks, private and commercial thru 1999 pounds $27.60 $55.20
Trucks, private and commercial 2000-3000 $35.60 $71.20
Trucks, private and commercial 3001-5000 $45.60 $91.20
Additional Fees
Transferring a license plate from another vehicle $7.35  
When a new metal license plate is issued $28.00  
Initial Registration fee
This is charged when applicant does not have a Florida registration to transfer.
$225.00  

 

For registration fees for motorcycles, mopeds, mobile homes, trailers, and others, refer to the License Plate Rate Chart.

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How do I obtain a duplicate of my registration if I have lost it?

A vehicle registration may be duplicated at any county Tax Collector Office or License Plate Agency for the fee of $2.50 or from the departments website.

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Where do I affix the decal on the Florida license plate?

Affix the decal in the square space provided in the upper right hand corner of the Florida license plate.

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When do I have to get a new license plate?

Section 320.06(1)(b), Florida Statutes, requires ten-year replacement of all license plates. The replacement is necessary because license plates must be fully reflectorized to ensure visibility for law enforcement purposes. Current, in-use plates will have their replacement date altered to reflect this new 10-year lifespan. That is, if your plate is now 3 years old, you will not be required to replace it for another 7 years.

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Why am I paying a $225 fee for "new wheels?" This is not a new car. The term "initial registration" is confusing.

The term "new wheels" does not appear in the law. Section 320.072, Florida Statutes, requires a fee of $225 to be imposed upon the initial application for registration on certain motor vehicle registration transactions. Whether the vehicle is new or used doesn't matter. Basically, the fee is due on any private-use automobile, any lightweight truck, or any motor home unless the vehicle being registered is a replacement for a vehicle that has been disposed in the same category of vehicles.

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If I don't register my vehicle on time, is there a delinquent fee?

Yes. Section 320.07(4)(a), Florida Statutes, specifically requires the delinquent fee to be imposed on any applicant who fails to renew a registration before the end of the month in which renewal registration is due.

The delinquent fee is applied beginning on the 11th calendar day of the month succeeding the renewal period.

The exact expiration date is shown on the current registration certificate, therefore, the registered owner should be well aware of when their registration expires.

License TaxDelinquent Fee
  up to $25.00$5.00
  $25.01 to $50.00$10.00
  $50.01 to $100.00$15.00
$100.01 to $400.00$50.00
$400.01 to $600.00$100.00
$600.01 and higher$250.00

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What is the purpose for issuance of temporary license plates?

Florida law provides for a variety of legal uses of temporary license plates. The most common is by motor vehicle dealers to allow customers who don't have a license plate to transfer to be able to drive their newly purchased vehicle off the lot. The license plates are valid for 30 days, which gives dealers ample time to apply for titles and registrations for their customers.

If you are not a dealer, but you have acquired another vehicle and transferred your license plate from your old vehicle to the new vehicle, a temporary license plate may be obtained from the tax collector's office so you may demonstrate your old vehicle while it is for sale.

Non-residents also are eligible to secure a temporary license plate for "in-transit" purposes if they purchase a vehicle in Florida and want to drive it back home. However, proof of insurance (from Florida or home state) and sales tax in the amount required by the home state must be paid. If you feel you may be eligible for a temporary license plate, inquire through your local tax collector's office or the regional DMV office that serves your area.

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Why do lease cars cost more to register and renew registrations?

Lease cars cost more to register and renew registration because of the taxing structure in Section 320.08(6)(a) Florida Statutes, which states motor vehicles "For Hire" under 9 passenger pay $17.00 flat fee plus $1.50 per cwt (100 pounds). Section 320.08(6)(b), Florida Statutes states motor vehicles "For Hire" with 9 passenger and over pay $17.00 flat fee plus $2.00 per cwt (100 pounds).

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Why can't I renew my registration, even though the co-owner has a suspension against their license? They don't drive the car, I do!

Section 320.02(12), Florida Statutes, requires registration or re-registration to be withheld on any motor vehicle whether the owner or co-owner of the vehicle has a suspension against the driver license. It appears that it was the intent of the legislature for fines and parking violations to be paid regardless which co-owner committed the violation.

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The first registration is full price from the date of purchase, but only good until the owner's birthday. If the owner's birthday is beyond 15 months, they have to pay the full year for four months. Why?

Section 320.14(1), Florida Statutes, requires the full amount of the license tax to be imposed or charged for the registration period regardless of when during the registration period the vehicle is registered. This law was amended in 1990 by the legislature.

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Does my license plate and registration expire on my birthday or the end of my birth month?

Registrations issued in the name of an individual expire at midnight on the day of their birth date, except for mobile homes and commercial vehicles. Mobile homes expire at midnight on the last day of the month of December. Commercial vehicles expire at midnight on the last day of the month of May (if registered semiannually) or December (for annual registration).

Registration issued in a company name are assigned a designated month and the registration expires at midnight on the last day of that month.

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Can anyone renew my license plate for me?

Yes, however, the individual renewing your license plate must provide proof of insurance, a copy of your current registration or a renewal notice, and the proper fees. Fees are based on the weight of the vehicle and the type of license plate being renewed.

Some registrants are required to meet specific criteria when applying for an original license plate and registration. They are then required to prove they still meet those criteria every year upon renewal. Examples: disabled veterans, non-resident military, forestry, agricultural or horticultural, and X-series license plates.

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Do I have to turn in my license plate when I cancel insurance?

When insurance is canceled and motor vehicle records indicate the vehicle is still owned by the same person and the license plate is still valid, the Bureau of Financial Responsibility, Division of Driver Licenses, requires that the license plate be canceled. The license plate may be turned in to a driver license or tax collector office.

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Do I have to turn in my license plate when I sell my car, and if I do, do I have to pay the $225 "new wheels on the road" fee again?

When a vehicle is sold and the license plate is transferred to a replacement vehicle the $225 Initial Registration fee is not required. If the vehicle is not replaced the license plate must be turned in to the driver license office or tax collector to prevent a driver license suspension. The vehicle registration will be printed indicating license plate canceled (when the license plate is returned to a tax collector's office) or the registration will be stamped "canceled" (when the license plate is returned to a driver license office). This may be used to exempt the $225 Initial Registration fee when a replacement vehicle is registered.

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Can I give my license plate to someone else?

No, a license plate cannot be given or transferred to someone else. Section 320.0609(1)(a), Florida Statutes, requires that the registration license plate and certificate of registration shall be issued to and remain in the name of the owner of the vehicle registered. However, a personalized license plate may be relinquished to someone else. See RS-27 for more information.

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Are there any exemptions for the $225 Initial Registration Fee?

Section 320.072, Florida Statutes, provides for exemptions of the $225 Initial Registration fee. For example: when the vehicle being registered is a replacement vehicle for a vehicle that has been disposed. If the fee is not paid at this time and the owner decides to reregister the old vehicle, this will be an additional vehicle registered because the owner now has two vehicles registered instead of one.

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Why must out-of-state residents have Florida proof of insurance before obtaining a license plate or registration renewal?

Florida insurance is required to meet the requirements of Florida Statutes. Only insurance issued or countersigned by a Florida agent is electronically reported to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for verification purposes.

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What are the insurance requirements for a Florida resident in the military who is assigned outside of the state?

Military are exempt from providing proof of Florida insurance in the following circumstances:

1. The military member is an owner or co-owner of the vehicle and
2. The military member is a Florida resident stationed outside Florida.

In addition, an out-of-state address must be shown on the Florida Vehicle Registration Certificate. We must have a copy of the military orders or an affidavit from the military member's commanding officer, which confirms the military orders, and the date of the assignment.

You must submit an affidavit stating the vehicle will not be driven in the state of Florida.

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Why isn't all insurance on file with DHSMV's computer? I renewed my other car last month and didn't need my insurance because it was on file. Now this car isn't on file.

Usually when insurance proof is provided and the Florida agent has provided information on the insurance file, it does not match the vehicle on the data base because of an incorrect or incomplete Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Or, in some cases the insurance company may have failed to report both vehicles or there is a delay in reporting.

When the Department does not have record of your insurance on file, you must contact your insurance company to clear up this matter. Verify with your insurance company that both your VIN and your Driver License Number (DLN) are correct. If there is an issue with an incorrect VIN, DLN, or other inaccurate or incomplete information, the Department cannot move forward until your insurance company electronically submits accurate proof of insurance. This will update your insurance information in the Department's database, and your record will reflect that you have current insurance on file.

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Do I have to change the name on my registration when I marry or divorce?

The name can be changed on our database after your driver license has been changed. This will change your name on the registration, however, the printed title will still have your previous name unless a new title is applied for. If there is a lien on the vehicle, the lien holder may not allow a new title to be printed. It is permissible to leave the name unchanged on the printed title because the owner is still one and the same person.

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Why can't I pay for a three-year registration?

Current law only provides for 12 or 24-month registration plus three months advance registration, a total of 15 or 27 months.

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Why didn't I get my renewal notice this year as I have for the past several years?

If a current motor vehicle record is on the data base, the information is pulled for a renewal notice to be provided. Although Florida Statutes do not require that DMV provide renewal notices for motor vehicle registration, all records are provided as a courtesy. Renewal notices are now provided for county tax collectors or private vendors to print renewal notices. A county may elect not to send a renewal notice to its residents. Even if a notice is printed, the notice may get lost in the mail.

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Do I carry the registration on me or in the car?

Section 320.0605, Florida Statutes, requires the registration certificate or an official copy to be in the possession of the operator of the motor vehicle or carried in the vehicle at all times. Therefore, either way is permissible as long as a copy can be produced for law enforcement upon demand.

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What is required to register my motorcycle or moped?

Information for registering motorcycles and mopeds is contained in the DMV Procedures Manual, procedure number RS-61. For registration fees for motorcycles and mopeds refer to the License Plate Rate Chart.

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