Florida Vehicle Registration & Driver’s License


The first thing new residents should do is register their out-of-state vehicles with the Department of Motor Vehicles, because the law gives them only 10 days to do so after establishing residency in Florida by placing a child in public schools, securing a job or engaging in any occupation here. Strangely, the law also mandates that new residents must acquire a Florida driver’s license within 30 days, but that is needed before registering a car.

(Drivers may be ticketed if they’re discovered not to have completed these tasks in time.)

Then, auto insurance must be obtained from a company licensed in Florida. Vehicle registration is done by completing an application for certificate of title, which begins the process of transferring title from a person’s former state of residence and gives drivers a license plate, vehicle registration certificate and validation decal for the plate.

Applicants will need their Vehicle Identification Number(s), current license plate number(s) and out-of-state registration number(s), and to prove ownership and that they’ve met Florida insurance requirements. Those are: $10,000 minimum Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, and $10,000 minimum Property Damage Liability protection (PDL). The DMV may require anyone previously involved in an accident or convicted of certain offenses to buy Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) coverage as well.

Be prepared before you visit a DMV office to obtain a Florida driver’s license, because there are 14 million licensed drivers in the state and each year the busy DMV offices issue over 800,000 new licenses. ID requirements are much stricter than they used to be – and an out-of-state license does not fulfill them. All applicants must complete a vision test. The DMV will check the driving record of those with out-of-state licenses; any outstanding citations or anything that calls into question one’s driving ability may mean the person would also have to take the written Florida DMV test and/or a supervised driving test. It is advisable to call a local DMV office to make an appointment ahead of time.

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