Florida Vehicle Registration (Everything You Need to Know)

Florida Vehicle Registration

Welcome to your complete guide to Florida vehicle registration. 

Here, we’ll look at:

  • The vehicle registration laws in Florida
  • The penalties for breaking those laws
  • How to register your vehicle
  • How to renew a registration

With this, you’ll know everything you need to know, so you won’t get in trouble for it. 

Are you ready?

Let’s dive right in!

Vehicle Registration Laws in Florida

When you purchase a vehicle or transfer it from out of state, the first thing you must sort out is registration. 

Now, in Florida, you’re given a specific amount of time to complete the process. Otherwise, you may be penalized if the police pull you over. 

Registration Timeline

Owners of brand new vehicles typically don’t have to worry about the registration timeline. This is because your dealer handles all the paperwork as part of their service.

However, the case is different if you’re transferring to Florida or you bought a second-hand vehicle. You have 10 days to complete the whole process.

If you don’t register within this period and continued to operate your vehicle on Florida roadways, you may face penalties if caught.

This is because it is a law that every vehicle has to be fully registered 10 days from purchase/transfer. 

Additional Tax for Heavy Trucks Registration

Here’s another law.

If you register a heavy truck, you must prove that you’ve paid the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT).

The HVUT is an annual federal highway tax imposed on some heavy MVs. Besides trucks, you must also pay it if you operate a truck-tractor or a bus.

You can use either of the 3 documents as proof that you’ve paid your HVUT:

  • A stamped received 2290 IRS Form, Schedule 1. Remember, it is the copy the IRS sent to you. Please do not send the form and the payment to the DMV.
  • A copy of the 2290 IRS Form, Schedule 1, and proof of payment. Receipts from a credit or debit card transaction are acceptable. If you issued a check, furnish a copy of its front and back.
  • The original or a copy of 2290 IRS Form, Schedule 1 if filed electronically. Ensure that there’s a slightly visible watermark indicating when you completed it. 

On the other hand, you can show proof of exemption through a copy of a stamped received 2290 IRS Form, Schedule 1, Part II. However, it is only applicable for the following:

  • Vehicles over 55,000 pounds, traveling less than 5,000 miles
  • Agricultural vehicles traveling less than 7.500 miles
  • MVs considered blood collector vehicles

Without these, the state will not process your registration.

Documents of a Fully-Registered Vehicle

The vehicle registration law in Florida states that you need these documents for a registered vehicle: 

  • A metal plate number. You must attach it to the designated area of your vehicle. To avoid future challenges, ensure that your plate number is identical to the one on your registration and decal.
  • A registration certificate. Once you receive this, you must keep it in your vehicle at all times.
  • A registration decal. The registration certificate comes with a sticker. That goes on the license plate. You’ll see a square in the upper-right corner — that’s where you should affix it.

Penalties for Late Vehicle Registration in Florida 

A late vehicle registration typically results in a fine called a delinquent fee. The actual amount varies between vehicles because it depends on your license tax. 

The same penalty applies if you don’t renew your registration on time.

A late registration/renewal requires you to pay anywhere between $5 to $250. The table below can help you estimate how much it’ll cost:

License TaxDelinquent Fee
$25.00 and below$5.00
$25.01 to $50.00$10.00
$50.01 to $100.00$15.00
$100.01 to $400.00$50.00
$400.01 to $600.00$100.00
$600.001 and higher$250.00

Besides the fee, there are other consequences if you continue to operate an unregistered vehicle in Florida.

If it’s been less than 6 months since your registration expired, you’ll have to pay penalties upon renewal, but it isn’t considered a criminal offense.

However, if you let more than 6 months pass, the impact is more severe. The FLHSMV can charge you with a Second Degree Misdemeanor — a criminal offense. 

If so, you may face these penalties:

  • A fine of up to $500
  • Jail time of up to 60 days
  • Probation of up to 6 months

Given all these, it’s safe to say that the Florida vehicle registration laws shouldn’t be ignored. So, mark that calendar to ensure it gets done!

How to Register My Car in Florida 

Okay, so now you know the vehicle registration laws and the penalties. 

But how exactly do you register your car in Florida?

Well, the actual process is straightforward. However, before you go to a local service center, make sure you collect all the necessary documents. 

Here’s a list of what you need. Let’s see if you can check everything off:

  • A completed copy of Form HSMV 82040 (Application for Certificate of Title With/Without Registration). All parties must sign if the car has more than one owner.
  • A valid Florida driver’s license
  • Proof of Identity for all owners indicated
  • Proof of insurance. You can show your insurance card or a copy of your policy.

NOTE: Your policy must meet the minimum car insurance requirements of the state. In Florida, that’s at $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL)

  • Completion of the following forms:
  • Out-of-State Title or Title from the seller (if transferring the title and registration from a different state)
  • Lienholder information (if you’re leasing your car)

Note: If you’re transferring from out-of-state or purchased your vehicle from a private seller, you may need more paperwork. Just call your local service center and ask. 

Once you have the necessary documents, here’s what to do next:

  1. You must process the initial registration in person, so go to a local service center.
  1. Hand in all the necessary documents based on the list above
  1. Pay for the registration fee. Initial registration costs $225, but you may have additional fees, including:
    1. $10 or $5 for motorcycles or mopeds, respectively
    2. $7.50 for antique motorcycles or automobiles
    3. Anywhere between $14.50 to $32.50 for automobiles and trucks, depending on their weight
    4. Anywhere between $160.75 to $1,322 for heavy trucks, depending on their weight
    5. $28 for the license plate fee
  1. Get your license plates, tags, and temporary vehicle title.
  1. Receive your official title through the mail

And there you have it! 

You now don’t need to worry about driving your vehicle illegally in Florida. 

How to Renew Car Registration in Florida 

Your vehicle’s registration expires at midnight on your birth date. Remember that there is no grace period for expired registrations.

Even if it’s not considered a criminal offense within the first 6 months, you’ll still be penalized if caught. 

Fortunately, Florida provides customers with 3 ways to renew their vehicle registration. You can also renew it up to 3 months before it expires. 

Let’s take a look at how to renew your vehicle registration with the 3 channels. 

Renewing Online

Most vehicle owners can renew their registration online unless there are stops that appear. In that case, you’ll have to go to a physical office.

Also, before you begin the process, make sure you have an active insurance policy. You cannot complete your renewal if the FLHSVM cannot verify it.

To register online, do the following steps:

  1. Go to MyDMVPortal and log in. If you don’t have an account, you can simply make one. 
  1. Follow the prompts and provide the necessary details. You can choose to renew your registration for 1 or 2 years.
  1. Pay for the registration fee. 

NOTE: You can only pay online renewal using a credit card. Plus, you will pay an additional $2 processing fee.

  1. Wait for your new registration. It will arrive through mail within 7 to 10 business days.

Renewing Through the Mobile App

Those with busy schedules can rest easy. Now you can renew your registration while you’re on the go. 

An additional benefit of doing it through the app is it allows you to renew up to 5 vehicles simultaneously. This way, you’ll only have to pay one processing fee.

Here are the steps:

  1. Download the MyFlorida app from iTunes or Google Play.
  1. Provide any of the following information:
  • License Plate number
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Hull Identification Number (HIN)
  1. Choose whether you want to register for 1 year or 2. 
  1. Pay the registration fee.

NOTE: You’ll pay a $4.00 processing fee if using a credit card. If you use a checking account, the processing fee is $3.75.

  1. You will receive a digital document. It’s a temporary proof of registration until the official one arrives via mail.

Renewing Through a Service Center

If you have a stop on your registration, you have to go to an office or call customer service at (850) 617 2000

Renewing in a service center is also an excellent option for those who aren’t comfortable using technology. It’s also best for those who want an FLHSMV representative guiding them through the process.

Also, you can get your registration on the same day using this channel.

All you have to do is go to the center, submit your vehicle’s information, and make the necessary payment. 

The Wrap Up

There you go! 

Everything you need to know about Florida vehicle registration. 

Now that you know the laws, and the penalties, you should go out there and register or renew your vehicle right away. 

As you can see, there’s no excuse not to as it’s so easy. 

So what are you waiting for?

Register or renew your vehicle today!

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