This page provides an overview of benefits you may be entitled to as a result of your military service.
All of our in-person services are by appointment only and are available to Manatee County residents only. Before you visit our office, you must schedule an appointment through our online appointment system, and you must complete an online driver license and ID card application for all driver license and ID card transactions.
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Driver licenses and ID cards
Honorably discharged military veterans may be eligible for a "Veteran" designation on their driver license or ID card. To qualify for the designation, you must provide documentary proof of your veteran status, such as a DD-214 reflecting an honorable discharge or a VA card.
To add the designation without making any other changes, there is no fee. If additional changes are required, normal transaction fees of $25 and up will apply.
If you're a 100% disabled veteran, you may be exempt from certain driver license or ID card fees. To be considered a 100% disabled veteran, you must have been honorably discharged from the armed forces and have a 100% total and permanent service-connected disability rating for compensation or a service-connected total and permanent disability rating of 100%.
Renewal while deployed or on active duty
If you are on active military duty out of state or out of the country and need to process a driver license or ID card transaction, you may be able to complete your transaction without visiting an office. For additional information, visit the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' military and veterans driver license and ID card page.
Commercial driver license (CDL) skills test waiver
Military members with recent experience driving large trucks in the military may be eligible to obtain a Florida commercial driver license without taking the skills exams normally required. For details, visit the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' military drivers page.
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Motor vehicles, boats, and mobile homes
Initial registration fee ($225) exemption
Military members may be eligible to save $225 when registering their vehicle for the first time in Florida. To see a list of required documents and determine your eligibility, see the state's Initial Registration Fee Exemption Affidavit.
Based on eligibility, military members may qualify for a specialty military plate in Florida. For details, visit the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' specialty license plates page and see the military service license plate application.
Free license plate
One tax-free license plate can be issued to a disabled veteran with a 100% service-connected disability. The requirements to qualify are:
- You must be a Florida resident.
You must provide a letter or card from the Veterans Administration or United States Department of Veterans Affairs indicating you were honorably discharged from the armed forces and have a 100% total and permanent service-connected disability rating for compensation or a service-connected total and permanent disability rating of 100%. The language on the letter or card may include, but isn't limited to, the following:
- 100% total and permanent service-connected disability rating for compensation
- Service-connected total and permanent disability rating of 100%
- 100% service-connected, permanently and totally disabled
- Permanently and totally disabled due to service-connected disability or disabilities
- Payment at the 100% rate due to service-connected disability or disabilities
Per Florida Statute 316.1955, these license plates may also be used to park in disabled person parking spaces.
Sales tax exemption
Active-duty military members stationed outside of Florida who purchase a vehicle or boat may be eligible for a sales tax exemption.
To qualify, you must meet these requirements:
- You must be a Florida resident stationed outside of Florida.
- You must purchase the vehicle/boat outside of Florida.
- You must title and register the vehicle/boat in Florida.
- You must keep the vehicle/boat physically outside the state of Florida for six months or more.
You must also submit a copy of your military orders. For additional information, see our Military Affidavit.
Late fee exemption
If your mobile home or motor vehicle registration expires while you're serving on active duty 35 miles or more from your home of record, no late fee is charged. To qualify, you must provide a copy of your official military orders or a written Military Affidavit signed by your commanding officer.
Active-duty military members and their dependent spouse stationed in another state who claim Florida as their state of residency may be exempt from carrying Florida insurance. For details, see our Military Affidavit. You must complete and submit the affidavit with each original and renewal registration transaction.
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If you're a current or prior military member and own a home in Manatee County, you might qualify for property tax discounts. To see which exemptions you may be eligible for, visit the Manatee County Property Appraiser's military benefits page.
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Hunting and fishing licenses
Military Gold Sportsman's License
Active-duty or retired military service members may be eligible to receive a Military Gold Sportsman's License. This hunting and fishing license is valid for one year from the selected start date and includes the following privileges: freshwater and saltwater fishing, hunting and management area, muzzle-loading gun, crossbow, archery, turkey, waterfowl, lobster, deer, and Snook permits. For eligibility requirements, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.
You may purchase this $20 license online (subject to online verification process) at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's fishing and hunting license website. You can also purchase it in person at our Driver License office by appointment only. Additional fees apply. Schedule your appointment through our online appointment system.
Disabled resident license
Disabled Florida residents may be entitled to a no-fee hunting and fishing license. Eligibility requirements apply. For information and to see if you qualify, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's persons with disabilities hunting and fishing license page.
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For more information about benefits available to active-duty military members, veterans, and disabled veterans, read our military benefits publication.
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