Florida Car Title Transfer and Registration

In the state of Florida, vehicle registration must be completed with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) in order to legally drive on FL roadways. So what do you need to take with you to complete your transaction the first time? It depends on how you own your automobile (leasing, making payments, or owner with title) and how you want to register (single, joint, business or transfer to family member) your automobile.

You have 10 days to register and title your vehicle with the DHSMV once you:

  • Begin working in the state.
  • Register your children for a Florida school.
  • Establish FL residency through rental, lease, or purchase of an apartment or house.

You will be required to title your car or truck in the state of Florida at the same time as you register it. You can title the vehicle without registering it, but it will be illegal to drive the vehicle if it is not registered.

Before registering your vehicle, you’ll need to:

  • Get a Florida driver’s license.
  • Purchase FL auto insurance.
  • Have a VIN inspection and odometer reading completed.

Vehicle Registration & Title Transfer Process

Once you have taken these steps, go to the Florida county tax collector’s office and:

  • Show your Florida driver’s license. If there is more than one owner, all the owners must submit proof of identity.
  • Submit proof of Florida insurance.
  • Present the vehicle title.
    • If you do not have the title because it is still held by a lienholder, the tax collector’s office will help you contact the lienholder and send the new title to them.
  • Have your vehicle identification number (VIN) verified on the Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification form (Form HSMV 82042). Your VIN is often mistakenly referred to as a Florida vehicle registration number. You may be able to have your car verified at the county tax collector’s office or you can get it completed before going in to register your car from:
    • Any police officer.
    • Florida car dealers.
    • Car dealer from previous state on dealership letterhead.
    • Florida DMV examiners/inspectors.
    • Florida Notary Public.
    • Active duty military officers, provost marshal, or Navy legalman.
  • Submit a completed Application for Certificate of Title With/Without Registration (Form HSMV 82040). All owners must sign the form, and proof of identity is required for all owners, even if they are not present.
    • You are allowed to register the vehicle for either 1 year or 2 years.
  • Submit the completed Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer Verification (Form HSMV 82042).
  • Pay all registration and tax fees.

To be sure you have everything you need before getting in line at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), visit www.transfermyauto.com, answer 3 to 5 questions to generate a checklist of what is needed. Military personnel often get tax breaks in many states, your checklist will indicate if this is the case.