What is a Florida Vehicle Registration?

One of the requirements for those who wish to operate a vehicle in Florida, aside from obtaining a driver’s license, is to register it. When you pay the required taxes and fees for a Florida car registration, you will be issued your tags which consist of:

  • A metal plate valid for 7 to 10 years if it is a default Sunshine state license plate or 5 to 7 years if it is a personalized and/or specialty plate.
  • A decal, also known as the sticker, to place on the plate valid for 6, 12, or 24 months.
  • A registration certificate or card to keep in the car or with you valid for 6, 12, or 24 months.

The decal and certificate must be renewed 90 days before or on the day of expiration. Florida vehicle registration renewals can be completed in person, by mail, or online. The license plate is automatically replaced when required at the time of renewal.

New Residents and New Purchases

If you recently established residency, you will be required to register a car in Florida within 10 days. Residency is considered established when you enroll a child in a public school or become employed part of full time. Before you complete the vehicle registration in Florida, you must:

  • Obtain a Florida driver’s license or transfer your out of state one
  • Obtain auto insurance from a provider licensed in the state. Your current provider may be able to simply “transfer” your coverage to one of their Florida-licensed subsidiaries or you can shop for new service.
  • Complete the VIN and Odometer Verification form (HSMV 82042) as well as the Application for Registration form (HSMV 82040)
  • If you have owned the vehicle less than 6 months, you will be required to pay a 6% sales tax (pro-rated for any taxes previously paid in another state) as well as any required local discretionary taxes in addition to the initial registration fee, new plate fee, and registration tax.

If you purchased a new or used vehicle and you are not transferring a license plate, you will be required to obtain a new registration.

  • If you are purchasing the vehicle at a dealership, they will take care of all of the paperwork and charge you the required state fees as well as their titling and registration service fees before finalizing the sale.
  • If you are purchasing your vehicle from a private party, you will be required to register the car yourself which can be done at the time you submit the title transfer paperwork.

How Much Is It to Register A Car In Florida?

To register a car for the first time, a one-time initial fee of $225 fee will be required. Additional Florida vehicle registration fees also include a new plate fee ($28) and registration taxes which vary based on the vehicles weight and use among other things. This registration tax is the same one that is paid at each renewal term and can be as low as $16 or as high as $80 per 12 month period for vehicles up to 6,000 pounds. The registration tax for leased vehicles adds an additional $40 to $250 because of the taxing structure for “for hire” vehicles.

If you are registering a new vehicle in your name but are transferring a plate from another vehicle you own, you will not required to pay the initial fee but rather a transfer fee of $75.25.

How to Register a Car in Florida

In order to complete the Florida motor vehicle registration process, you must:

  • Go in person to your local Tax Collector or DMV office
  • Have your out-of-state title if you are new to Florida or the title of the previous owner signed by them and you
  • Show proof of insurance and valid ID
  • Pay the initial registration fee, plate fee, and registration tax

If you are looking to obtain a temporary tag for the purposes of transporting a vehicle into or out of the state, a 10 to 30 day temp tag can be issued at your local Tax Collector’s office.