Driver License
Newcomers must apply for a Florida driver license within 30 days of establishing a permanent residence. Those with a valid out-of-state license are usually required to take only the vision test. Others will also need to pass a written exam on road regulations and traffic signs and a practical driving test. Those under 18 years of age who are applying for a license must hold a learner’s license for at least 12 months or until their 18th birthday, avoid incurring any traffic convictions, and be certified by a parent or guardian to have at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training. A full operator’s license will not be issued unless these requirements are met. To avoid delays, make an appointment before visiting the licensing office.

Driver License Field Offices

Vehicle Registration
Newcomers are required to register their vehicles and obtain Florida license plates within 10 days of establishing residence. Obtain vehicle insurance from a company licensed to do business in Florida. Then take the proof of insurance, along with the original title, to your local county tax collector. When the title is held by a lienholder, the local tax collector office will assist you in requesting that the original be sent to Florida. When the Florida title is issued recording the lien, it will be returned to the lienholder. Prior to issuance of a Florida title, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the vehicle must be verified unless the vehicle is new and a manufacturer’s certificate of origin is submitted. Fees can range from $174 to $200 depending upon the vehicle weight. If you have owned the car for less than six months, you will need to pay sales tax or show proof that you paid sales tax in a reciprocal state. The local county tax collector oversees vehicle registration at the following offices:

Motor Vehicle Service Offices

Mandatory Insurance
If you own a vehicle with at least four wheels and are registering it, you must have insurance. Florida’s minimum coverage is $10,000 personal injury protection and $10,000 property damage liability as long as you have a valid Florida tag, even if the vehicle is in another state or inoperative. If you have been involved in a crash or have been convicted of certain offenses, you may be required to purchase bodily injury liability coverage. For questions about insurance, contact:

Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles

License/Registration Renewals
Although new residents must obtain a driver license and register their vehicles at an office site, driver license renewals and address changes can be complete over the Internet, by telephone, or by mail. The Web site offers a form that can be printed out and mailed along with the fee.

Online Motor Vehicle Services

Watercraft Registration
Any motorized boat owned by a state resident must be registered in Florida before it can be launched in Florida waters. Out-of-state title, current registration, and any lien information are required for boat tags. Applications for vessel registration and title certificates are to be filed by the vessel owner with the county tax collector’s office in the county where the vessel is located or in the county where the vessel owner resides. Unless a vessel is exempt from titling, it must be titled at the same time it is registered. If the sales tax on the total purchase price of the vessel has not been previously paid, the vessel owner must pay the tax along with the fees. The local county tax collector oversees vehicle registration at the following offices:

Motor Vehicle Service Offices

Vehicle Safety Regulations
Florida law requires that all occupants of the front seat use properly installed seat belts regardless of age. Any passenger under the age of 18 must use a properly installed seat belt regardless of position in the vehicle. Children five years of age or younger must be protected by properly using a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. For children through three years of age, the restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat. For children from four through five years of age, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a seat belt may be used. The child restraint laws are primary, which means that a driver can be fined for non-compliance without being stopped for another violation.

Airbag Information

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