This page provides an overview of motor vehicle services and requirements and guides you to specific information to help ensure you successfully complete your transaction. To estimate your transaction costs, see our sales tax page and motor vehicle fees page. Please also see our payment options page.
Motor vehicle services include not only motor vehicles but also mobile homes, travel trailers, park models, boats, utility and boat trailers, and heavy trucks.
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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.
Depending on your scenario, you may be able to complete your transaction online or by mail instead of in person. Title and registration service options are:
- Online – You may be able to renew your registration online and change your address while renewing (if applicable) through our online registration renewal service. You may also be able to complete other types of transactions online. To see if you're eligible, visit our online services page and view our online forms that are available for select transaction types.
- Self-service kiosk – You may be able to renew your vehicle registration at one of several self-service kiosks located at certain Publix stores and at some of our offices. For locations and payment options, see our self-service kiosk information.
- In person – For office locations and hours, see our locations page and office hours page.
- By mail – If you need to transfer a title but cannot come to our office, you might be eligible to complete your title transfer by mail. Visit our title by mail page to see if you qualify for this service.
We also offer dealer services to Manatee County dealers.
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For full requirements on transferring a title, read our Florida title transfer publication or out-of-state title transfer publication.
Signing over a title
To see how to correctly sign over a title, watch our complete a Florida title for transfer video.
To properly sign over a title, the buyer and seller must complete the following items in the "Transfer of Title by Seller" section:
- Printed name and signature of buyer(s) and seller(s)
- Selling price
- Date of sale
- Odometer reading (if applicable)
Complete these items carefully! Alterations and erasures, including strike-outs and white-out, may void the title.
Time frame requirements
If you have sold or transferred a Florida-titled motor vehicle, mobile home, or boat, to limit your liability you must notify the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) within 30 days. You can do this by one of the following:
If you have purchased a motor vehicle, mobile home, or boat through a private sale, to avoid late fees you must transfer the title into your name within 30 days.
To complete your title transfer at one of our locations, all owners or purchasers must be present with a valid (unexpired) driver license or ID card issued by a state or US territory. We can also accept a valid (unexpired) passport from any country. If an owner or purchaser cannot be present, you may bring a copy of that person's identification and a completed Power of Attorney form.
To obtain a title in a business name, you must submit documentation proving the business is valid. For this, you may use a SunBiz printout. If SunBiz does not list the person acting on behalf of the business as an officer, director, or registered agent, then you must also submit a statement on letterhead that authorizes that person to act on behalf of the business.
To record a lien at the time of your title transfer, you must provide the lienholder's name and address. In some cases, you may need to provide a completed lien addition form.
If you have paid off your lien and the lienholder has an electronic copy of your title, you can continue to store your title electronically until you transfer ownership to someone else. For information, read our electronic title FAQ.
Death Scenario Transactions
Due to the many variables that may be involved with a death scenario transaction, the Manatee County Tax Collector's Office has created the Death Scenario Assistance Chart (taxcollector.jotform.com/221954883649977) to walk you through determining the requirements.
You may also refer to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' procedure, TL-18 (flhsmv.gov/pdf/proc/tl/tl-18.pdf), for details and instructions on processing your transaction. Exhibits and charts are located at the bottom of the procedure to assist with determining the requirements.
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If you have lost or misplaced your Florida title, you can obtain a duplicate title at any of our locations. For requirements, read our duplicate title publication.
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Motor vehicle, motorcycle, boat registration
Privately owned motor vehicle, motorcycle, and boat registrations expire each year at midnight on the first registered owner's birthday. You can renew up to three months in advance – you do not have to wait for the courtesy renewal notice to arrive in the mail.
Renewal service options are:
- Online – You may be able to complete your renewal through our online registration renewal service.
- By mail:
- With renewal notice – If you receive a courtesy renewal notice in the mail, you may complete the renewal form and insurance affidavit (if applicable) and mail them to our office with your payment.
- Without renewal notice – If you do not receive a courtesy renewal notice, you may complete a Renewal by Mail form and mail it to our office with your payment.
- Self-service kiosk – You may be able to renew your vehicle registration at a self-service kiosk. For locations and payment options, see our self-service kiosk information.
- In person at one of our locations – Bring your proof of Florida insurance and your driver license or ID card.
To help ensure you successfully complete your transaction, please see our payment options page and read our registration renewal publication.
Specialty and personalized license plates
You may opt for a standard license plate, a specialty plate, a personalized plate, or even a personalized specialty plate. Additional fees apply to specialty and personalized plates. To see the list of over 100 specialty plates and their associated fees, visit the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' specialty license plates page. For information on personalized plates, read our license plate FAQ.
If you are moving to Florida from another state and are leasing or making payments on your motor vehicle or boat, you may be eligible to get a Florida license plate and registration without getting a Florida title. For requirements, read our registration only publication.
Surrendering your plate
If you have sold (or otherwise disposed of) your motor vehicle, canceled the Florida insurance (or changed to an out-of-state policy), and/or are not immediately transferring the Florida license plate to a different vehicle, it is recommended that you surrender the license plate by mail or in person to a local tax collector's office. Failure to do so may result in suspension of your Florida Driver License per Florida Statutes.
For information on how to surrender/cancel your license plate, read our Sold Vehicle, Boat, Mobile Home publication.
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Mobile homes, travel trailers, park models
All mobile homes must bear a decal. If you own the mobile home and the land, the decal does not expire. If you own the mobile home but rent the land, the decal expires each year on December 31.
In addition, all mobile home attachments are subject to property taxes. Examples include air conditioners, screened porches, cabanas, and carports. When you purchase a mobile home, be sure to notify the Manatee County Property Appraiser (which is a separate agency from our office) to update the property tax roll.
You may or may not have to pay sales tax when you purchase a mobile home, depending on its classification. For information, see our sales tax page.
Travel trailers and park models
All travel trailers and park models must bear a license plate. The registration expires each year at midnight on the first registered owner's birthday. If you are moving to Florida from another state and want to get Florida license plates for your travel trailer or park model, you must first transfer the title to Florida.
If a mobile home, travel trailer, or park model does not bear the appropriate decal or license plate, then both the unit and all attachments are subject to property taxes.
For more information about mobile homes, travel trailers, and park models, read our mobile home FAQ.
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All boats registered in Florida and operated on Florida waterways must bear a decal and an "FL" number. The registration expires each year at midnight on the first registered owner's birthday.
If you purchased a boat and outboard motor from the same seller, you may qualify for a partial sales tax exemption. For requirements, read our boat title and registration FAQ.
For more information, read our boat FAQ.
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Utility and boat trailers
1,999 pounds and under
Florida does not issue titles on utility and boat trailers weighing 1,999 pounds or less. These trailers receive a license plate and a registration that serves as the ownership document and contains a bill of sale. For registration requirements, read our boat/utility trailer publication.
2,000 pounds and over
Utility and boat trailers weighing 2,000 pounds or more require a title and registration. If you have purchased a trailer that weighs 2,000 pounds or more, read our Florida title transfer publication and out-of-state title transfer publication for full requirements.
If the trailer is homemade and has never been titled or registered, you must obtain an inspection and an FLT number from a DMV Regional Office before applying for title and registration. To schedule an appointment, call the Palmetto DMV Regional Office at (941) 723-4551.
You can find a list of trailer weigh stations in our boat/utility trailer publication.
For more information about utility and boat trailers, read our boat FAQ.
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Heavy truck registration
Trucks, tractors, and wreckers with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) over 5,000 pounds are classified as "heavy trucks." If you have a heavy truck, you must declare the vehicle's GVW and classification (our office cannot determine these for you).
Due to a change in Florida Statute 320.055 that took effect September 1, 2020, privately owned heavy truck registrations with a GVW of 5,001 pounds to 7,999 pounds expire each year at midnight on the first registered owner's birthday. All other heavy truck registrations expire each year on December 31. In some cases, a heavy truck may qualify for a half-year registration, which expires each year on May 31 and December 31.
For information about fees, insurance requirements, heavy vehicle use tax, and license plates, read our heavy truck FAQ.
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Our DeSoto location provides dealer services. For information, read our dealer work requirements FAQ. If you have questions about your title work, need to request secure forms (82994, 82995, etc.), or need to update your information, please choose one of the following options:
Manatee County towing companies and government offices must use our drop-off service. Title companies may opt to use our drop-off service.
All transactions are subject to the $0.50 branch fee.
For instructions on picking up and dropping off your work using the Express Lockers, please view the Express Lockers video.
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For more information about motor vehicle, mobile home, trailer, and boat titles and registrations, including changes of address, read the appropriate FAQ:
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