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Getting that First Florida License Plate

Yep, you all caught me… I have been driving around with WI plates on my car for the past 7 months. Why? Well, cost was one thing, and the possibility of buying a new car was another.  Since we made the choice to live out our old car for as long as we can, it was time to get that Florida License Plate.  Since all of you who relocate here will have to do the same, here is my story and how it all went. Enjoy!

We headed to the Osceola County Tax Collector’s Office which was located about 30 minutes from where we live off of Highway 192. They opened at 8:00 a.m., so we chose to get there early to beat the rush we expected to see.  Most times in WI, our Department of Motor Vehicles would have at least 20 people or more lined up before they opened, so we wanted to make sure we could avoid that if we could.

We got there by going around 192, taking the John Young Express Way instead, arriving a little after 8:00. We chose today, a Thursday, because we figured they wouldn’t be as busy like a Monday could be. As we approached the parking lot, it was quite full, so I was fully intending on being there until lunch and possibly even get some blog work done on my phone.

Since we were transferring my WI Title to a FL Title, I had to bring in my title, proof of FL insurance, and of course my vehicle. They went over my information at the front desk, then she walked us out to my car where she confirmed the VIN number as well.  We had made a copy of our insurance policy so that she could see all of mine and Craig’s info in case they had any other questions- we also had our cards as well.  At the front desk she did not ask to see my license, but then gave us our number and where to go when called.

As we sat there, we were amazed with how big and beautiful the building was. This was far from where we had gotten our drivers licenses, and since you can ALSO do that here as well, we will bring Kyra when she is ready HERE, instead of the hole in the wall we went too. We were maybe with a handful of people in the waiting room, and purposely timed how long it would take to do this process for you our readers. We sat at 8:19 a.m, and we were called at 8:30 to enter the “Brown Door.” Yeah, they have colored doors for certain things I guess. I joked with Craig that there was just a hole in the floor behind those doors and if you chose the wrong one you just disappeared. LOL Yeah, that’s my humor.

We were chosen for Attendant #11, which was our lucky number, so we saw it as a good sign.  We had a great guy (FINALLY some friendly service) who took our title and insurance info and started with question “Do you realize how much this will cost you today?” Yeah, we knew. I wanted to say “Yes, I knew, and that’s why I wasn’t here in June” but we had “heard” that they can give you a late fee for waiting on getting them, but NOTHING was said about such a fee- so be careful what you read or hear.

We got to choose if we wanted the Title printed today or mailed to the house- I said I would prefer to have it in my hands today. I was already spending over $400 for this, so what’s another $12.50? After that was agreed upon, we got to leaf through a VERY large binder with FL License Plate options.  For every cause and organization in FL, they must have a FL License plate fore. They all ran about an extra $30 if you wanted the special kind. I opted out for the normal FL plate, which there were three to choose from. I went with the “In God We Trust” which seemed fitting for our journey and adventure here.  He then printed out my Title and brought my FIRST FLORIDA LICENSE PLATE!!!!!!!!!! I was so geeked out it was seriously ridiculous. But hey, it was one of the last things I needed to have for my FL residence, so yay, it was finally done!

Total spent was $413, and we had to bring it in cash because they DO NOT accept VISA. Which meant they didn’t accept my VISA DEBIT CARD either. I will need to renew them this June, which they do by your birth month, but I can pay the $70 payment online and avoid having to spend the gas to come back. Keep that also in mind that if you move here in February and your birthday is shortly after that, it may be smarter to wait and get the plate AFTER so you don’t have to pay the $400 charge one month, then another $70 so close after.

We literally walked out of the building at 8:47 p.m. – THAT is how fast it went. Here I was all ready to sit there on my phone and pass the time away, and it was so incredibly simple. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of cars in their parking lot, the building is huge and handles many things, including registering to vote! Which I just realized we forgot to do…. we were so happy to have this done that we completely forgot to do it. Oh well, I will go back… I can now because I have my FL plate!!

15 Comments »

  1. My boyfriend unfortunately went the accident route… He thankfully had a decent officer who understood the not having 400+ dollars to spend and only had a fine. If they catch you, you could get a fine and jail time…
    Also a plus is, you can get your registration for two years, I got mine last year and it is good until 01/13, it isn’t that much more expensive to do two years over the one.
    Another plus is, the plate travels with you, not the vehicle as it does in some other states, PA, being my own experience. Thanks for writing about this Amy, because it is an expense that can’t be avoided and the reason it is so much is because there is no state tax (at least that is how it was explained to me) 🙂

  2. LOL. You meant to type A.M. right? Just love your blogs, can’t tell you enough. I have to also add that I’m so impressed how nice and new things like this are in Florida. A pleasure. Whee I’m originally from, it’s a mess and there’s NEVER a bathroom to use. God help the potty trainers.

    So you’re an official Floridian now eh?

  3. P.S. The state of Florida should hire you to write the book or post at the blog on all the in/s and out/s joys and headaches (?) of moving to Florida. It’s been a real pleasure.

  4. As was kindly explained to me by the Collier County sheriff after someone sheared off my bumper 6 months into our move to FL: You are technically required to change your driver’s license within 14 days of obtaining a job in the state of the Florida. (I waited til expiration time for that, too.) However, I was NOT required to change the title over. Transferring the insurance & registration was sufficient.

    So glad I *didn’t* change the title over, since I only had that car for another 8 months!! 😛

    • Oh, and as Heather mentioned, the new plate will stay with you! If you get a new car, you can transfer the plate, and just pay a pro-rated difference for the registration. Been through this a few times already. Bob refuses to give up his “pirate flag” plate!

      • Yup, I also found that out the hard way. Somebody decided that my back bumper looked better on the front of their F-350 as they pushed my car into another one… So, got a new car and transferred the plate. Was very simple.

        (yeah, 2011 was an interesting year for my boyfriend and myself, thankfully nobody was hurt in either accident)

  5. Fyi it is an arrestable offense in FL to not change your tags. Also if your birthday is close to the date you are changing your tags they will roll the payment into one for the future year so you do not have to pay twice so quickly.

  6. We recently moved back to Florida – wonder if we can use our previous Florida plate – probably not.

    So, for our Florida license fun, we were halfway through the process this morning and the computers went down. Unbelievable! Now we have to go back and do it all over again!

  7. Its interesting how much each state differs in this. In Missouri, we pay about $25 a year for new tags or a new plate, but we also have to have two inspections and showed that we paid our personal property taxes. Those are based on the value of your cars, boats, campers, etc. Ours is usually about $300 a year, but we drive cars that are worth under $10k a piece. I know some who pay $700 or $800 a year!

  8. Glad to hear that the wait time wasnt to painful, not tlike it can be here in WI. Thank you for another insight in the joys of becoming a Florida resident.

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