how much does it cost to register a car in florida

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Car in Florida?

Just moved to Florida? You’re probably wondering how much does it cost to register a car in Florida. You’re probably also wondering what the process is like, what parties are involved, and how long will it take. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you understand how to register your car in Florida.

Registering a Car in Florida for New Residents

If you just moved to Florida and you intend to become a resident, you have 30 days to register an out-of-state vehicle with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). Once you officially become a resident and have new license plates, you’ll have 10 days to finish the process.

So, what’s considered a Florida residency? Well, once you are officially employed in Florida and have a Florida living address either through rental, lease, or purchase, then you are considered a Florida resident. Also, if you have kids and they’re enrolled in a Florida public school, then you’re considered a resident of Florida. Otherwise, you’re not a Florida resident. Even if you went to Florida and stayed for weeks, you’re not considered a resident.

We’ll be guiding you on how to register your car in Florida as a new resident, as well as the costs associated with registering your car. If you’ve just moved to Florida, you might want to watch this guide for new residents:

Registering an Out-of-State Vehicle

If you already own a vehicle in your previous state and you’re bringing it to Florida, then you will need to follow the out-of-state registration process. Here’s what you will need to prepare:

  • Get a driver’s license in Florida.
  • Obtain auto insurance in Florida.
  • Get a VIN check and official odometer filling.
  • Prepare a certificate of title.

Registering Out-of-State Vehicle: the Process

Afterward, you will need to visit the Florida county tax collector’s office to do the following process:

  • Present your Florida driver’s license. If the vehicle has multiple owners in the title, all of them have to be present to show proof of identity.
  • Show proof of auto insurance that’s valid in Florida.
  • Show the car’s out-of-state title.

If you don’t have the title because it’s being held by a lienholder, then you will need to provide the contact of the lienholder to the tax collector. Then the county tax collector will get in contact with the lienholder. They will then have the new title and new license plate sent out to the county tax collector’s office.

Also, you will need to get your car’s VIN and an official odometer reading. This can usually be done when you visit the tax collector’s office or you can have it done before visiting the office. If you want to do it before visiting the tax collector’s office, you can have it done by local police officers or licensed Florida car dealers. You can also have the car dealers from your original state verify it by using letterhead stationery. This process can also be done by a Florida public notary or an active military officer.

Once done, then you will need to do the following:

  • Present a form applying for a Certificate of Title.
  • Register your car for either one or two years.
  • Submit the VIN and odometer reading.
  • Provide payment for the fees necessary. This is usually around $225.

New Resident Sales Tax

If you’re a new Florida resident, then you will be charged a sales tax on your vehicle when you first register it. This depends on how long you’ve had the vehicle and your choice of license plate.

  • If you’ve owned the vehicle for less than six months, you will need to pay a 6% state sales or use tax. Along with any required local taxes. The tax is pro-rated, depending on whether or not you’ve paid taxes in another state.
  • For example, if you’ve paid a 2% tax in another state, you will only need to pay the remaining 4%.

Meanwhile, if you’ve owned the vehicle for over six months, then you won’t need to pay sales, use, or discretionary taxes. However, your title and initial registration fee from a different state must confirm that you are the owner of the vehicle and have been for more than six months.

Vehicle Registration in Florida

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Just like anywhere else, Florida residents will have to register their cars whenever they got a new one. Whether it’s purchased or given, it needs to be registered. The process will vary depending on where and how you got the car.

Dealership Purchases

When you buy from a Florida car dealership, authorized dealerships can file the registration on your behalf. Meanwhile, they’ll give you a temporary license plate so you can drive the car. Keep in mind that only authorized dealers can do this, so be sure to check if the particular dealer you’re going to buy from is allowed to do so. If they can, they will usually charge an initial registration fee at the time of your purchase.

The dealership will then have to transfer the car’s title and registration within 30 days. If they fail to do so, you will need to contact the DHSMV to figure out how to finish the process. They will likely ask you to visit the county tax collector’s office to complete the process.

Another thing to note is that the registration fee will usually not show up in your contract. If they appear in the contract, the dealership can only receive the exact amount of fees and not a penny more. However, dealers are allowed to add an extra fee if they were to do the registration on your behalf. But the extra fee has to be disclosed separately from your contract.

Leasing Registration

If you’re leasing instead of buying, dealers doing the leasing can also do the registration process for you, much like a normal purchase. However, leasing a car can become more expensive than buying. While monthly lease payments are generally cheaper, you may build up equity for the future when you decide to sell or trade it in.

Additionally, sometimes leasing also means that there’s a limited mileage contract. If you exceed that mileage, you will need to pay a penalty. Be sure to do your calculations and make sure that leasing is the better option for you rather than buy. If buying a car is actually cheaper, then we recommend that you buy instead of lease.

Registering a Car Bought from a Private Seller

If you decide to buy a car from a private seller, the process is largely similar but you will need to fill in the titling form and registration on your own, rather than have a dealer do it for you. As a precaution, when buying a used car, always check vehicle history. Once filled, you will need to submit these forms to the county tax collector’s office, along with a Bill of Sale with the previous owner. Once you’ve both filled the Bill of Sale, you will need to provide the following items:

  • A completed car title.
  • VIN and odometer verification forms. If you haven’t had this then you will need to get a VIN and odometer inspection.
  • If the car is under 10 years old, you will need to fill a document disclosing the odometer and mileage.
  • Proof of auto insurance.

You will need to bring these forms and documents to your county’s tax collector’s office. Make sure to complete them so you won’t have any issues registering your car.

Personalized License Plates

If you want to add a bit of personality to your license plates, then you can, well, personalize them. You can order them at any of the DHSMV offices throughout Florida but you will have to be there in person. Additionally, you will have to pay an extra $15 annual fee for each personalized license plate.

To request a personalized plate, you will need to fill out the HSMV 83043 form. Afterward, bring the form to a local DHSMV office to submit the form. From there on they will start the process for your new personalized plates.

Vehicle Registration in Florida – Lost Registration

If you lose your car’s registration, you can request a duplicate. The duplicate for a lost registration will be issued by a local branch of a Florida tax collector’s office. You will need to provide your car’s decal number, the license plate number or the VIN, and a valid photo ID.

If you’re unable to visit an office, DHSMV recommends visiting to request a duplicate from the state. Keep in mind there will be a fee for a duplicate registration. At the time of writing the fee is currently $2.50.

Vehicle Registration in Florida – Getting a Duplicate Car Title

The car’s title is arguably as important as the car itself. Without the car title, there isn’t really any legal proof that the car actually belongs to you. Not having your car’s title will be very limiting. For example, you won’t be able to register that car in Florida, nor will you be able to register it in another state if you’re moving out of Florida.

Also, you wouldn’t be able to sell, trade-in, or use your car as collateral for a loan if you don’t have the title. Especially if you need car title loans in Orlando. You can still drive the car around, but without the title then you can’t do anything else with the car and it’s pretty much useless.

If you want to have a duplicate, Florida allows you to apply for a duplicate title. You can do this either by mail or in-person if you feel like standing around in line all day. You will need to complete the HSMV 82042 form, provide a valid ID, an odometer and mileage verification, paperwork about lienholders (if any), and of course, payment for the fee. These fees can either be paid to a Florida county tax collector’s office, a law enforcement officer, or a commissioned officer/provost marshal. As for the cost itself, it’s as follows:

Duplicate Car Title Cost

The fee for a duplicate title will vary depending on your circumstances. If your car has been previously titled in Florida, you’ll have to pay $75.25 for a duplicate. New car owners will have to pay a little more at $77.25. If your car has an out-of-state registration, then you’ll need to pay $85.25 for a duplicate title. If you need a car title expedited, it’ll cost you $85.25.

On top of all this, if you lost the title before you moved to Florida, then you’ll have to do a VIN inspection by an authorized dealership.

Vehicle Registration in Florida for Military Personnel

If you’re in the US military and are stationed in Florida with full residency, then you are required to register your car just like a civilian. However, one benefit you can get is that your initial registration is waived if you are a member of the military. This means you’ll save up to $225 on the initial registration fee. But you will need to complete a Military Initial Registration Fee Exemption Affidavit.

But what if you are stationed in Florida but not a resident of Florida? Well, Florida law does not require you to register your car. But of course, you will still need to have car registration and have valid auto insurance in your home state. But otherwise, you’re good to go.

Documents for Military Personnel Vehicle Registration in Florida

If you are in the military and you have full residency in Florida, then you will need to register your car. The documents you will need to complete the registration process are as follows:

  • An application for certification for a car title.
  • A military initial registration fee exemption affidavit to waive the registration fee.
  • A military insurance exemption information.
  • An exemption from Florida sales tax.
  • A Florida insurance affidavit.

Afterward, submit the documents to the county’s tax collector’s office just like a normal registration process.

License Plates for Military Personnel

Florida is proud to honor military personnel for their service to the country. Florida provides military license plates for military personnel should they want to display their service. Apart from the Medal of Honor plates, all military plates are available at a local motor vehicle service center. If you’d like to request a military plate, you will need to submit the request to the DHSMV. You’ll need to mail to the following address:

Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
Direct Mail
2900 Apalachee Parkway, MS #72
Tallahassee, Florida 32399

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Car in Florida?

Now we’ve talked about the different processes require when you want to register a car in Florida. Depending on your circumstances and how the car was bought, there are different documents are parties involved. So, the question is, how much does it cost to register a car in Florida? Well, your fees will vary depending on the weight of your car. Additionally, you can either register your car for one or two years, which will affect the fee as well.

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Car in Florida? Private and Commercial Vehicles

  • Cars up to 2,499 pounds will cost $27.60 for one year, and $55.50 for two years.
  • Cars that weigh between 2,500 to 3,499 pounds are $35.60 for one year and $71.50 for two years.
  • If your car weighs 3,500 pounds or more, then it will cost you $46.50 for one year and $91.20 for two years.
  • There is also a $225 registration fee for cars that have never been registered in Florida.

This process can either be done in person at the Florida DMV, or you can do it online through eTags. We recommend visiting the Florida DHSMV website for more information.

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Car in Florida? Leased Vehicles

For leased vehicles, there will be a $17 flat fee plus the following:

  • For-hire vehicles that hold less than 9 people will have to pay an extra $1.50 per 100 pounds of weight to the flat fee.
  • Meanwhile, a for-hire vehicle that can accommodate more than 9 people will have to pay an extra $2.00 per 100 pounds of weight to the flat fee.

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Car in Florida? License Plates

If you have an existing license plate that you would like to transfer, then there’s a fee of $7.35. As for a new issue plate, that will cost you $28. And as mentioned, a personalized license plate will cost you an extra $15 on top of the new issue plate fee.

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Car in Florida? Other Types of Vehicles

If you have other types of vehicles, such as a moped, a motorcycle, a semitrailer, or a heavy truck, then the cost varies greatly. If you decide to trade your motorcycle with American Motorcycle Trading Company, you may need to get new custom plates. It can range from $5 for mopeds to thousands of dollars for large heavy trucks that weigh more than 72,000 pounds. We recommend checking the Florida DHSMV website if you drive these vehicles. However, the initial registration fee remains the same at $225 for all types of vehicles.

Renewing Florida Registration

If you need to renew your Florida registration, you can do this online. This is great since you won’t need to spend the better part of the day going to the DHSMV. All you need to do is visit and choose whether you need a registration renewal or a duplicate registration if you need one. Afterward, go to the payment portal to pay the appropriate fee, you can pay by using a credit card. The fee will depend on your vehicle type:

  • Cars and trucks that weigh up to 2,499 pounds will cost $14.50.
  • $22.50 for cars and trucks that weigh between 2,500 to 3,499 pounds.
  • And if your vehicle weighs more than 3,500 pounds then it’s $32.50.
  • Antique cars and motorcycles cost just $7.50.

For more information, you can visit the eTags site to see just how much it will cost you to renew the registration. If you own a motorcycle or a moped, these fees will be much cheaper. Of course, if you have a heavy truck or a semitrailer, then the cost will be much higher.

You will also need a personal identifying information of the vehicle’s owner to log in to the site, including valid insurance. If the site isn’t able to verify a valid insurance, you won’t be able to register your car. In which case, you’ll need to go to an office or call the Florida DHSMV customer service at (850) 617-2000. If there are no issues, you should receive the registration in the mail between 7 – 10 business days.

Buying a Vehicle in Florida as a Non-Resident

Okay, so what if you’re not a resident of Florida but you want to buy a car there? Maybe you saw a secondhand import car that you just can’t find anywhere else? Well, you will need to get a temporary registration tag. This applies to both new and used cars. To acquire the temporary tags, you will need to visit the county tax collector’s office and show proof of insurance. Additionally, you will need to pay Florida sales taxes on the vehicle. As mentioned, this tax currently stands at 6%.

You’ll need to get these tags, otherwise, you can’t drive the car back to your home state. Well, technically you can, but that would be illegal. A temporary tag should cost no more than $5 and is valid for 30 days, which is enough for you to drive back to your home state.

How Much Does It Cost to Register a Car in Florida? – In Conclusion

Buying a new car is always a fun process until you have to deal with the registration stuff. Well, apart from the haggling as well, of course. But whether we like it or not, this is something we have to deal with. Thankfully, a lot of this process has now been digitalized, so you can do it at home as long as you got a computer and decent internet connection. At the very least you don’t always have to spend hours waiting in line and spending the better part of the day registering your car.

So, how much does it cost to register a car in Florida? To summarize, you’ll need to pay $225 for the initial registration fee. On top of that, you’ll need to pay between $27.60 to $91.20 for the registration. This depends on both your car weight, and whether you get the one-year or two-year registration. The process usually involves the county tax collector’s office and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Be sure to have your Florida driver’s license, proof of auto insurance, car title, and other necessary documents ready to register your car in Florida. Hopefully, we’ve helped you understand how to register a car in Florida, and how much you might need to pay. If you still have questions, visiting the DHSMV website or calling their customer service should help you to understand the process better. Or you can also contact your lawyer or accountant to help you.

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