Residency, Driver's Licenses and Voting in Florida

To become an official Florida resident, file a declaration of domicile. The document states that you reside at a certain address and is notarized by the Clerk of the County Court. Contact the Sarasota County Clerk of Circuit Courts, 2000 Main St., Sarasota, (941) 362-4066.

New residents must register their vehicles in Florida within 10 days of gaining employment or enrolling children in school. To register a vehicle, be prepared to provide the Sarasota County Tax Collector's office with your current driver's license, proof of Florida auto insurance, prior registration certificate and ownership title. The vehicle identification number will be verified, and you will need to apply for a Florida license plate. The fee depends on the vehicle's weight. Newcomers also must apply for a Florida Title Certificate if there is a lien on the vehicle; you should bring your payment book to the Tax Collector's office. Contact the Sarasota Tax Collector, 101 S. Washington, (941) 362-9898.

Drivers Licenses
Florida law requires that new state residents apply for a Florida driver's license within 30 days. But first, register your car as noted above.

The Department of Motor Vehicles will need to see proof of your Florida vehicle registration, your out-of-state driver's license and your social security card. If you own a Florida-registered vehicle, bring the registration as well. If your out-of-state license is valid, you need only take a vision test. A written exam and driver's test is required if your license is invalid or if you are applying for your first license. The written exam is based on the Florida Driver's Handbook and the driver must supply the vehicle for the test. A license is valid for six years and costs $20. Contact the driver license office at 601 S. Pompano Ave., (941) 361-6217, or call (941) 361-6222 for an appointment.

Registering to Vote
To vote, you must register in your county of residence. You are eligible to vote if you are a U.S. citizen, county resident and at least 18 years old by the next election. To register, fill out a form and swear an oath that you live in the county. Your voter registration card will be mailed to you before the next election. For information on registration locations near you, call the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office at 101 S. Washington St. (941) 951-5307.

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