Welcome to part two of our “moving” blog. You can view part one here.
To get a driver’s license in Florida, you need several forms of identification. We used our South Dakota drivers license, Passports and social security cards. Florida does recognize SD licenses as a primary form of ID, but for some reason, they do not recognize licenses from 20 other states as a primary form. It is best to be safe and have more ID then needed. You can read more about the requirements at the DMVFlorida.org website.
In addition, you must have two pieces of mail from your new address to get your license. (and the mail must have all names of those registering on it, and be from a bank, utility, insurance company, etc.) So it is very important to set up your mailing address about a month before you officially change your domicile, to insure you have the proper mail to complete the process.
Also, you must have proof of automobile insurance issued by a Florida agent before you can apply for your driver’s license.
When we signed up with St Brendan’s Isle as our mail forwarding service, we stated we would come in person to complete the forms in person, and pick up our first batch of mail. They were very helpful and went over the forms we needed, and gave us a map of the area so we knew which buildings to go to, and what order. Our only “glitch” at the time, was getting our VIN number verified for our 5th wheel.
Florida does require a VIN verification of any vehicle getting registered in Florida. When we left Amazon in Indiana, we drove down through Atlanta (on a Sunday with minimal traffic) and stayed overnight just south of the city. It was a long travel day, but we needed to get to Florida before everyone closed up for Christmas. The next day we stopped in Lake City, Florida which is near the intersection of I-10 and I-75. We decided to stay here, even though it was another 65 miles to Green Cove Springs. We figured we could just contact the police, have them verify the VIN on the 5th wheel, and then drive in to Green Cove Springs and complete the rest of the registration process.
However, the police in Lake City require you to go to their courthouse in town, pay a $4.00 fee, then call them back and they will have an officer come out when they have time. Since we only had the afternoon to complete our registration without staying another day, we decided to just skip this step, and register the 5th wheel another time via mail. We were not aware there would be a fee to have the VIN verified. (more on that later)
After picking up our mail, we drove over to the Clay County Courthouse and filed our Declaration of Domicile. This form is needed to register to vote in Florida. We used our SD Drivers license as our proof of identification. The cost for this form is $15.00 per person, which includes a $10 filing fee and $5.00 notary fee. We had two young couples ahead of us in line applying for marriage licenses, so our wait was about 15 minutes to complete this process.
After the courthouse, we went to the Clay County Administration Building to apply for our drivers license and vehicle registration. After making sure we had all of our paperwork, they gave us a number and told us to have a seat in the waiting area. But before our butts hit the chairs, our number was called. We encountered the most pleasant employee, Christie, who made for a very smooth process. (that’s right….a pleasant DMV employee!!) She also stated they are now able to complete our voter registration, so we did not need to go to another building to complete that.
We explained that we were not able to verify the VIN on our 5th wheel, and mentioned the fee that the Lake City police were going to charge. She said she has never heard of any law enforcement department charging for that service, and several of the other employees who heard us talking mentioned that as well. So apparently the charge is just unique to that city. She also stated since our fifth wheel did not have an odometer, it did not need the VIN inspection, and she could register it because we had the original, clear title, which had the VIN on it. We were very happy about that!! She did go out with Dan and verified the VIN and odometer on the truck.
She scanned all of our documentation in for the drivers licenses, and we did a very simple eye test, and took our photos. Christie even re-took Dan’s photo, because she didn’t like the way the first one came out. The driver’s license (good until our birthdays in 2023) cost $48.00 plus a $6.25 service fee. In Florida, you can renew your license up to 18 months prior to expiration, and you can renew on-line or by mail one time, before you have to appear again at the DMV.
The application for our titles were $87.75 for each vehicle, and the license plates were $52.10 for the 5th wheel (5 months, expires in May) and $127.35 for the truck (12 months). Since our pickup truck is over 5500 pounds, it falls into a class that gets renewed every December. Otherwise, the renewal is based on the month of birth of the first person listed on the title. That is how we ended up with 2 different renewal dates.
So our total costs with the DMV was $463.45, and if you include the $30 for our domicile declaration, our total cost to become members of the Sunshine State was $493.45. It took us about 30 minutes to complete everything, and then we were on our way!! It was a very simple process, and a lot cheaper than we expected.
And now that we are Floridians, we are eligible for the reduced rates at Disneyworld!!!
And for the Quote of the Day……