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How much does it cost to register a car in Florida?

When you are relocating to a new state, you must get a few priorities sorted out when you arrive. One of these priorities is transferring your driver’s license and car registration.

Registering your car in the state of Florida may seem daunting at first since there’s a considerable amount of paperwork involved. Herein is a simple but comprehensive guide on the process and cost of registering a car in Florida.

The Car Registration Process in Florida

Steps to register your car in Florida includes:

Acquire the Necessary Documentation / Paperwork

The first document you will need to register your car is a valid Florida driver’s license. As such, you must ensure your card is unexpired and updated. If you have just relocated from another state to Florida, you must transfer your old driving license.

To transfer your out-of-state driver's license over to Florida, visit your local Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) with the old license and identifying documentation. 

Identifying documentation includes your US Passport, your birth certificate, or Certificate of Naturalization.

Also, you need to provide proof of your Social Security number and your Florida address. Proof of your Social Security number includes a Social Security card, a pay stub, or a W-2.

The second document you need is proof of insurance. You must have Florida insurance for your car before you can register it.

Add a policy online or consult your insurance agent to have your car insured. Ensure you have a printed copy of your policy, including the policy number and VIN.

You also need a car title to register your car in Florida. If you have already titled your vehicle to your name, you must bring this document with you when you visit your local DHSMV in Florida.

If not, you will have to apply for the car title at the same time you are applying for car registration. The only necessary paperwork you'll need is the car title application, which the DHSMV will avail to you.

You will need to have the VIN and odometer inspected. According to Florida law, your vehicle inspection number and odometer reading must be certified if you bring an out-of-state vehicle or purchase a new car in Florida.

Inspection forms are available at any DHSMV office in the state or the official website. Police officers, notary publics, and car dealers can verify your car's VIN and odometer readings.

Visit the Local DHSMV Office

Locate the nearest DHSMV office in your county in Florida. Ensure that you register your vehicle in the county that you reside in.

You can check the DHSMV website and select the location closest to your residence. Some offices allow you to make appointments through direct calls or online.

Once you have presented all your paperwork and paid the registration fee, the DHSMV will handle the car registration for you. You will receive your final registration in the mail.

Some counties in Florida provide the complete registration paperwork at the DHSMV offices, while others send the paperwork in the mail later.

Your DHSMV receipt will serve as proof of registration so you can keep it in your car.

The Cost of Registering a Car in Florida

In Florida, the car registration fees vary by the weight of your car, whether the vehicle is from out of state or not, and the duration you register your vehicle for.

The Initial Registration Fee is $225. You must pay this amount in person at your local Florida DHSMV at the aforementioned time of titling. If you transfer a car title to a newly bought car, you will be exempt from this registration fee.

The annual tax and other fees depend on the weight class of your vehicle. Below are the yearly fees for private use vehicles:

  • 0-2499 pounds - $27.60 per year and $55.20 for 2 years

  • 2500-3499 pounds - $35.60 per year and $71.50 for 2 years

  • 3500+ pounds - $45.60 per year and $91.20 for 2 years

Note that you will be charged the full amount regardless of when you register your car during the registration period.

If you have established residency, gained employment, or enrolled your children in a public school in the state of Florida, you have a period of 10 days to register an out-of-state vehicle. You also have 30 days to transfer over your driver's license once you've moved into the state.

You also have to pay for a new license plate. The cost of a standard license plate is $28. A personalized license plate can cost upwards of $70. The License Plate transfer fee is $7.

You may also have to pay sales, use, and local discretionary taxes on your car during the first-time registry. If you have owned your vehicle for six months or less, you have to pay a 6% use or sales tax together with any local discretionary taxes.

The sales taxes in Florida are prorated. This means that if you paid a 3 % sales tax in your previous state, you would incur a sales tax of 3% (6 %-3%) in Florida.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the process of registering your car in Florida is reasonably straightforward once you know the necessary steps.

The complete set of evidence of vehicle registration includes a metal license plate, a registration certificate (you must carry in your car at all times), and a registration decal provided on your registration certificate.

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