Drivers License
Newcomers to the state must apply for a Florida drivers license within 30 days of establishing a permanent residence. Those who are holding a valid out-of-state that has not expired are usually only required to take the vision test. Other applicants will need to pass a written exam on road rules and a practical driving test. Those who are 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 legal guardian to have at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training. A full operator’s license will not be issued until all of these requirements have been met.

To avoid delays, it is suggested that you make an appointment before visiting your licensing office. Licensing office addresses and hours are posted on the website for the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles and also listed in the blue pages of the telephone book.
The phone contacts by county will be helpful in obtaining more information for your area:

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

Office Locations by County


Vehicle Registration
Newcomers are required to register their vehicles and obtain Florida license plates within 10 days of establishing residency. 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 county tax collector. When the title is held by a lien holder, the office will assist you in a request for the original. When the Florida title is issued and the lien recorded, the title is returned to the lien holder. Prior to issuance of a Florida title, the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN must be verified. 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. The local county tax collector oversees vehicle registration. For more information or answers to specific questions, contact:

County Tax Collectors

Hillsborough County

Pasco County
Dade City
Land O’ Lakes
New Port Richey

Pinellas County

Sarasota County


Mandatory Auto Insurance
Florida’s minimum coverage is $10,000 personal injury protection and $10,000 property damage liability. Bodily injury liability may also be required depending upon your driving record. For questions about insurance, contact:

Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles


Florida Auto Safety Regulations
Florida law requires that all occupants of the front seat use properly installed seat belts regardless of their 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 in Florida. This means that a driver can be pulled over by a law enforcement officer and fined for noncompliance without being stopped for another violation. The Florida High Patrol website provides a wealth of information about vehicle and personal safety as well as links to a number of other valuable websites on safety:

Florida Highway Patrol Occupant Protection & Child Safety News


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