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How to Obtain a New Car Registration in Florida

Motorists must obtain a new car registration in Florida after a private party purchase or upon moving from another state. “How do I register my car in Florida?” and “What documents do I need when registering my car?” are questions that many car buyers may find themselves asking. The process for how to update and get car registration will often change depending on certain circumstances. The car registration process is straightforward, as long as a driver takes the time to understand the procedural requirements, such as applying in person, and provide the necessary documentation, such as proof of identity.

The Importance of Getting Car Registration in Florida

Florida car registration has many important functions. A DHSMV car registration shows that a driver has paid taxes and fees associated with having a car. Technically, a car registration in FL includes a license plate, a registration certificate and a validation decal that goes on the license plate. Required throughout the U.S., it is crucial to get a car registration completed for any new or old car.

Along with the car title, DMV car registration establishes ownership of the car. The registration will put the car under the correct owner’s name. If a motorist attempts to drive a car without getting car registration done, he or she could end up with potential fines and other penalties. The Florida Statutes require vehicle operators to be able to produce the registration certificate. A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) will also be associated with a car registration, and this is important if the car is ever stolen or run through the police database. Motorists are required to always drive with their registration, along with proof of Florida insurance. Before becoming eligible for a registration of vehicle in FL, any driver will need to obtain Florida insurance. In Florida, only Florida insurance is electronically reported to the DHSMV, which must be able to verify the insurance before registration may take place.

A new car registration application will require applicants to pay an initial fee. Once a new car registration has been completed, a driver must remember to renew the registration every year or every two years. Drivers will pay a smaller renewal fee when renewing the registration. Although drivers cannot obtain an initial FL car registration online, they will be able to renew their car registration online.

How to Get a Car Registration in Florida for Current State Residents

A car dealership will manage a new car registration on behalf of a car buyer. In this case, Florida residents who purchase a vehicle (whether new or used) from a dealership will not have to worry about submitting the initial car registration to the DHSMV, as the dealership will do this for the new owner. Thereafter, however, it will be the owner’s responsibility to renew the registration.

To complete Florida motor vehicle registration for a vehicle purchased from an individual, the new car buyer is required to obtain the title from the individual seller. The buyer can then go to a tax collector’s office to apply for a new title, registration and license plate. When getting the car registration, applicants must bring the original title and proof of Florida insurance. Drivers can renew the FL car registration online after applying and receiving the initial registration materials in person.

How to Get a Car Registration in Florida for New State Residents

A driver will have 10 days to get a new car registration in Florida after moving to the state, accepting employment in the state or enrolling a child in a public school in Florida. In addition to registration of the vehicle in FL, these motorists are also required to obtain a Florida title for the vehicle, unless an out-of-state lessor or lienholder holds the title and is unwilling to release it to Florida. Drivers who must register a car in Florida while living outside of the state do not have to appear in person at a tax collector’s office. Although they cannot apply for a car registration online, they can conveniently mail Form 82040, the Application for Certificate of Title With / Without Registration, to a Florida tax collector’s office. Applicants can obtain the form online from the DHSMV.


To apply for a new car registration in person, a driver will have to visit a Florida tax collector’s office. Drivers must bring proof of Florida insurance and the vehicle title to prove ownership of the vehicle. Typically, a Florida insurance policy will require applicants to have a Florida drivers license, so new residents may consider applying for the license before applying for the registration. Conveniently, most tax collector’s offices allow new resident applicants to apply for and obtain both a license and registration at the same time. If the vehicle was registered or titled in a different state, then a designated official will have to verify the VIN. No VIN verification is necessary if the vehicle is brand new, no matter if it was purchased in Florida or outside of Florida.

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