Call Us Toll Free: 1-855-430-7753
Go To Top
Get Personalized Car Insurance Quotes
Currently Insured?

What is required to register a Canadian vehicle in Florida?


Question:  I am a Canadian citizen and have a home in Florida that I use during the winter months. I would like to bring my Canadian vehicle and register it in Florida and leave it there indefinitely. What is required to register a Canadian vehicle in Florida so that I don't need to bring it back to Ontario for the Clean Free Emission test every two years?

Answer: According to the Florida of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV), Canadian citizens are non-immigrants and are allowed to stay in the U.S. without obtaining INS documentation.

If you want to register and insure your vehicle in Florida, you will need a Florida driver's license. The HSMV says that Canadians without INS documents must provide proof of Canadian citizenship to be issued a Florida driver license by presenting two of the following documents:

  • Canadian passport
  • Canadian driver license
  • Original or certified Canadian birth certificate
  • Canadian Naturalization certificate

Canadians aren't required to take the written or driving tests, but will need to take the vision test and show proof of non-immigrant status.

Once you have your license ,it should be easier to obtain Florida auto insurance and register your vehicle. Florida requires any part-time or seasonal resident living in the state for 90 days or more during the year to obtain a Florida personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability auto insurance on their vehicle.

The HSMV notes that all out of state residents must have proof of Florida insurance before obtaining a Florida license plate or registration renewal. Florida insurance is required to meet the requirements of Florida statutes. Only insurance issued or countersigned by a Florida agent is electronically reported to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for verification purposes.

Once you get Florida auto insurance, you can take your policy, your original out of state title and the VIN (vehicle identification number) verification form (completed on an HSMV form that is available on their website) to a local Florida county tax collector's office. This state agency should then be able to help you obtain Florida registration and license plates for the vehicle you plan to keep in Florida.

For the months that you're not in Florida, you must continue to maintain insurance on your vehicle or surrender your Florida tag and registration at the nearest driver license or tag office. If you choose to do this, when you next return to Florida you can register the vehicle after you have obtained proof of Florida insurance once again. Since it sounds as if you plan to leave your vehicle in Florida for the full year, then you will want to continue insurance on it for that whole time.

Once you get a Florida license, which most all car insurance carriers will require, you can get a quote for Florida state car insurance here with us. Contact the Florida HSMV directly if you need more specific information on what paperwork you will need to bring from Ontario to register your car and leave it in Florida. Its representatives should be able to give you more information on your specific situation.

Leave a Comment
Ask a Question
Tell us your thoughts
Leave a Comment

10 Responses to "What is required to register a Canadian vehicle in Florida?"
  1. wwendy

    When I inquired a few years ago, I was told that as a Canadian citizen, I would have to surrender my Canadian (BC) drivers license in order to get a Florida one. Is that still the case?

  2. John

    I am a Canadian who winters in Tucson AZ. I would like to register my 2012 Subaru Forester (Canadian model) in Arizona and leave it in Arizona year round? How do I go about this?

  3. roger

    I am Canadian with a home in Florida, can I bring my motorcycle with Florida plates home for the summer months?

  4. Baxter Crann

    I am selling my Florida car that was purchased in Florida in 2011. The car has a Canadian title & now will be required to be registered to new owner here in Florida. I have obtained an Ontario seller's package. Is there further info required to make this transaction ?

  5. Ray Bracewell

    As Canadians with British Columbia driver licenses, we wish to drive our Canadian registered car to our condo in Fort Lauderdale, FL for next winter. Our plan is to stay in the USA for about 6 months then leave it there (approx. 6 months) while we return to Canada in the spring and repeat this process for the foreseeable future. Our thought was to put storage insurance on it during the time we are back in Canada. Is this possible and what would the procedure be and associated fees/taxes, etc. that we may not be aware of?


    I am a Canadian retired citizen and have purchased a Florida home. I intend to stay longer than 6 months of the year in this home. I have South Carolina tags and wish to purchase Florida tags, apply for a Florida driver's license for insurance purposes. Am I qualified to do that?

  7. Mike

    A Canadian cannot get a Florida driver's license now without giving up their Canadian one. A Florida driver's license is not required to register the car (I just did it) but the number of insurance companies that will issue a policy is limited. There is also an additional step - out of country cars must go through an inspection, but all it involves is verifying the VIN. Getting an appointment (contact # from the tax collector) is the hardest part.

    1. Colleen March 01, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      As Canadians who come to Florida for the winter, every year, we have our Canadian licenses, and Florida licenses, as we own cars down here and up north. We have had our Florida licenses for about 10 or more years and have no problem renewing them every year. We did not have to surrender our Canadian licenses. We did have to have a Florida license to obtain insurance for our Florida cars.

        Reply »  
  8. Luigi Sperduti

    I have a vacation home in Florida and I would like to purchase a car in Florida to use when I go there (we a talking about 2 to 3 trips every year for 2 to 3 weeks at the time). My plan would be to leave it in my garage during the time that I will not be there, can I get insurance for it that it would be on stand-by when I'm not using it? Also, would it be best to get a drive license from Florida and if that is the case, what do I need to do to get it?

    1. Gerry Gladu March 06, 2013 at 7:10 AM

      You answered this question in 2008. It is now 2013. Is your answer still valid?

        Reply »  
Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided are for information purposes. They are not intended to substitute informed professional advice. These responses should not be interpreted as a recommendation to buy or sell any insurance product, or to provide financial or legal advice. Please refer to your insurance policy for specific coverage and exclusion information. Please read our Terms of Service.

Ask Your Question Now


Penny will do whatever research it takes to find your answer ASAP.