Florida residents have been required to register vehicle tags since 1905. A tag is required by law to enable vehicles to be identified in association with who owns the vehicle. In Florida, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issues tags, although you can also order your tags using an online service such as Swift-tags.com.
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A specialty registration plate reflects your support of an organization or cause, such as a university or the military. The FLHSMV has over 120 authorized specialty plate designs available.
Many drivers like to have personalized plates for their vehicle, for example, to reference their name, their sports team, their family or any other significant configuration to display on plates. Specialty plates and personalized plates are not the same, personalized plates have letters and numbers that have been tailored, while specialty plates have a specific design related to the cause or organization. Specialty plates can be used for a regular Florida license plate or a personalized plate.
There are a number of scenarios where the state of Florida will only issue a temporary license plate. Typically, this will be for a period of 10, 30 or 90 days and the period of time will depend on the reason for issue.
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Car dealerships will often have temporary tags issued for vehicles so that if the buyer does not have a license plate, the temporary tag will be fitted onto the vehicle so that the new owner can drive the vehicle legally until their own permanent tag is issued. The new owner should then apply for their new plate as soon as they can and replace the tags when the new ones arrive.
Another reason that a vehicle might require temporary tags is if someone has temporary employment in Florida, in which case they can get a temporary Florida tag for a period of up to 90 days. If you are waiting for specialty plates, this is another reason that you may be issued with temporary tags.
When Florida license plates are no longer required, for example, if you sell the vehicle and will not use the plates on another vehicle, but the decal has not yet expired, the plates must be returned to a motor vehicle service center before your insurance expires.
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This is because the plates belong to the state and there is a legal requirement for them to be returned. The plates can be returned in person, or they can be sent in the mail, whichever is the most convenient.
If a Florida tag is stolen, damaged or lost, the owner should complete a “Surrender of a License Plate by Owner” to inform the Florida state that the tag has been lost, damaged or stolen. If the tag has been stolen, this should also have been reported to the police as soon as the incident occurs and a crime reference should be issued that you can provide as part of your surrender disclosure.