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All Florida residents must register their vehicles and obtain valid license plates. You can choose to get the state’s standard license plate or choose from an assortment of specialized styles.

Sample Florida License Plate

Types of Florida License Plates

When you register your car or motorcycle in Florida, you must also obtain validation stickers. After registering your vehicle, you’ll obtain 1 or more license plates to place on your vehicle.

The standard license plate in Florida comes with the choice of the following words at the bottom:

  • In God We Trust
  • Or, Sunshine State

Standard Florida license plates have oranges and blossoms with an outline of the state of Florida in the centre of the plate.

In addition to the standard license plate, you can also choose to personalize your plate (vanity plates), get specialized plates, or apply for disability plates.

Remember, you must put your validation stickers on the upper right corner of your license plate. The month and year of expiration must be clearly visible.

Personalizing Florida License Plates

Before deciding to personalize your Florida license plate, you can check availability online. When you are deciding on your custom plate number, keep the following in mind:

  • Use up to 7 characters (including a “-” or “ ”)
  • Use up to 5 characters for collegiate plates with logos on the left

The cost of registering and renewing personalized plates are $15 in addition to the standard fees to order or renew.

Specialized License Plates in Florida

Florida has a range of colorful choices for specialty license plates. Take a look a few of the options available:

  • Protect Our Oceans License Plate
  • University of Florida License Plate
  • Florida State University License Plate
  • Miami Dolphins License Plate
  • Support Autism License Plate
  • Fraternal Order of Police License Plate
  • Military Groups License Plate
  • Recipients of Silver Star License Plate
  • Historic & Custom License Plate
  • Horseless Carriage License Plate

Fees for these plates start at $20 and up. You’ll also have to pay for the standard registration fees and, some plates require an obligatory donation.

If you want to support a particular organization or show off your passion for what you love, these are the plates to get.

Applying for License Plate in Florida

When you purchase a new vehicle in the state of Florida, the dealership should provide you with a temporary plate.

If you are purchasing a vehicle from a private sale, you must obtain a temporary plate in advance. However, to do so, you must visit your local tax collector to complete a vehicle transfer.

Temporary plates are valid for 30 days and permit you to drive your car while your title and license plates are being processed.

You have 30 days to register your vehicle if you become a Florida resident or purchase a new vehicle.

Documents for Florida License Plate Application

To register your vehicle, you must go to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) in Florida.

Once there, you must bring the following:

  • Proof of ID
  • Valid insurance for your vehicle
  • VIN inspection certification
  • Odometer reading (for new residents)
  • Payment of $225 for registration fee

If you’re new to Florida, you’ll have to apply for a Florida driver’s license and get new insurance for your vehicle.

Once you have all the necessary documents, you can submit your registration. When you do, you may also have to pay sales tax on your vehicle. Contact your local DHSMV for more information. 

Receiving Florida License Plates

Once your application has been received and your payment processed, you may be able to receive your license plate and sticker right away. In this case, you can put your license plate onto your vehicle and put the validation stick on the upper right corner.

If you decided to go with a specialized or personalized license plate, it’ll take a few days to process and send the license plates to you. In this case, you must maintain your temporary permit to legally use your car on the roads in Florida.

Lost or Stolen License Plates in Florida

Did you lose your license plates? Maybe they were stolen?

If either of these situations happen to you, you must apply for replacement license plates. To do so, you must personally go to your local DHSMV in Florida and provide:

  • Current registration certificate for your vehicle
  • Form HSMV 83146: Application for Replacement License Plate, Validation Decal, or Parking Permit
  • Replacement Fees:
    • Damaged or defaced license plate: $28
      • With Police Report: Free
    • Lost validation stickers: $28
      • If lost in the mail: Free
    • Stolen license plate: Free
      • Requires police report

If you have one of your plates or damaged plates, you must surrender them to the DHSMV.

Surrendering License Plates in Florida

If you are no longer using your license plate, such as when you sell your car or your car breaks down, you must surrender them to the DSHMV. Otherwise situations where you are obliged to surrender your license plates include:

  • Moving to a new country or state
  • Not transfering your license plates to a new vehicle
  • Cancelling your vehicle’s insurance

When you surrender your license plates, you can provide them in person or mail them to your county tax collector.

Costs for License Plates in Florida

There are many variables used to calculate your vehicle’s registration fees. Here’s a few of them:

  • Issuing Fee: $28
  • Transferring Fee: $7.35 (if applicable)
  • Initial Registration Fee: $225
  • Vehicle Tax: Varies by weight
  • Service Fees: Varies by location

The cost of registering a vehicle in Florida is significantly greater than renewal. You should contact your local DHSMV office to obtain an accurate quote for your vehicle.

Looking Up License Plates in Florida for Free

If you want to obtain a bit of background information before purchasing a used vehicle, you can look up the license plate.

This search tool provides you with information, including:

  • Suspicious activity
  • Driver history
  • Owners
  • Images of the vehicle
  • Plate number availability
  • And much more

Try FindByPlate to get the most updated data on license plates in Florida.