Out-of-Country Title Transfer & Importing a Vehicle into the US
Need to transfer your out-of-country title/import a vehicle from another country to Florida?
Follow these 8 easy steps!
Which Titles are Eligible for this Transaction?
If your vehicle was registered or titled in foreign country, including Canada or Mexico, or you are attempting to import a car into the United States and register/title it in Florida, you must follow this process.
Step 1 - Declare/Clear Your Vehicle Through US Customs and Border Patrol
You will need to import the vehicle via US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). CBP will provide you with a stamped "Entry Summary" Form. (If you shipped the vehicle to the United States using a broker, you should already have these documents.) The phone numbers for local CBP offices are:
Port of Manatee
Note: If you don't have written proof that your vehicle has cleared US CBP, you will not be able to title/register it in Florida. US Customs and Border Patrol is not affiliated with the Manatee County Tax Collector's Office.
Step 2 - Vehicle Inspection at DMV Regional Office
All vehicles being transferred to Florida from out-of-country, or imported into the country, must be inspected by a Compliance Examiner at the DMV Regional Office, not at a local tax collector's office. Only Bureau of Dealer Licensing personnel are authorized to conduct this vehicle verification.
Contact the DMV Regional Office at 941.723.4551 (option 6, then option 2) to schedule the verification after you have obtained an Entry Summary form (listed in Step 1 above) from CBP and have all vehicle ownership documents (title/registration) to present. These documents must be in English, or you will need to provide a translation by a certified translator. The closest DMV Regional Office is located at 323 10th Ave W, Suite 200, Palmetto, FL 34221. The DMV Regional Office is not affiliated with the Manatee County Tax Collector's Office.
After inspection at the DMV Regional Office, all documents will be returned to you and you will then proceed by visiting the First Manatee South County Tag Agency or the Manatee County Tax Collector's Office (appointment required - see Step 3 below for office locations) where you will present the completed VIN verification form, signed by the Compliance Examiner, and other documents detailed in the remaining steps below.
Note: This verification is not required on any boat, mobile home, trailer or semi-trailer with an empty weight of less than 2,000 pounds, or any travel trailer, camping trailer, truck camper, fifth-wheel recreation trailer, or of-highway vehicle.
Step 3 - Visit an Office Location
After you have completed Step 1 and Step 2 above, you may then visit one of the following locations to have your vehicle titled and registered:
Option 1: First Manatee South County Tag Agency
The First Manatee South County Tag Agency processes registration and title transactions for vehicles, boats, and mobile homes, as well as parking permits. This office does not offer driver license, hunting and fishing, or property tax services.
It offers extended hours (9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday) and Saturday hours (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Appointments are available but not required. To schedule an appointment, visit the auto tag agency website (autotagagency.net). It is located in Southwood Shoppes at 5756 14th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34207. Their phone number is 941.782.6050.
This office accepts cash, check, and debit. A 3.5% fee will be charged on all check transactions to guarantee funds and on all debit transactions as a processing fee. An additional $20 fast title fee applies to titles printed on-site.
The First Manatee South County Tag Agency is a privately owned office operating under the authority granted by the Manatee County Tax Collector's Office.
Option 2: The Manatee County Tax Collector's Office
Appointments are REQUIRED for all transactions! Visit taxcollector.com to schedule an appointment for your out-of-country title transfer. We only serve Manatee County residents and businesses. Limit 4 transactions per appointment. We have three convenient offices to serve you: our DeSoto Office(located closest to the Island, West, and Central Bradenton), our Lakewood Ranch Office(located closest to Lakewood Ranch and East Manatee County), and our North River Office(located closest to Palmetto, Ellenton, and Parrish).
Step 4 - Bring Your Original Title
Bring the original CERTIFICATE OF TITLE - not the registration and NOT a photocopy of the title. (If the country your vehicle is coming from does not issue a certificate of title for proof of ownership, bring the applicable ownership document [registration, etc.]). If you have misplaced the title or it is unavailable (lost, in storage), you will NOT be able to complete your transaction. We need the title to proceed. In some cases, you may have to contact the agency that issued your title to obtain a duplicate title so it can be transferred to Florida.
If the vehicle is already titled in your name in the previous country, you will leave the title blank.
If newly purchased, both buyer and seller must properly complete the "Transfer of Title" section on the title. It must include printed names and signatures of buyer(s) and seller(s), odometer reading and date read, selling price, and date of sale. Any alterations, cross-outs, white-out, or erasures may void the title and require you to submit a notarized or perjury clause Bill of Sale signed by the seller.
Title transactions involving a boat require an HSMV 82040 VS Application for Certification of Title to be completed and submitted with all original and transfers of title.
Step 5 - All Owners Present with Valid Legal Identification
All owners/purchasers* must be present with one of the following valid (unexpired) identification documents:
Driver License/ID Card from any US State (Includes US Territories)
Passport from any country
Canadian Driver License/ID Card
If an owner/purchaser cannot be present, consider using a Power of Attorney form. You will be required to submit a copy of the absent individual's valid identification along with the completed form. The form must contain original signatures.
Note: If the vehicle is newly acquired, it is not mandatory for buyer and seller to visit our office together, but it may expedite the process.
*BUSINESSES are required to submit documentation showing that they are a valid business. This can be done with a printout from:
The printout must show an "active" status. If the individual acting on behalf of the business is not listed on the printout, the must also submit, on letterhead, a letter that authorizes them to act on behalf of the business.
Step 6 - PROOF of Your New FLORIDA Insurance on the Vehicle You are Titling/Registering
Not providing PROOF of FLORIDA insurance is one of the most common reasons this transaction cannot be completed. Please note, your out-of-country insurance policy MUST be transferred to Florida and a new FLORIDA policy issued with a Florida ID Card/Binder/Policy Number. In almost all cases, your out-of-country insurance agent will not be able to write a Florida insurance policy and phone/internet based insurance companies will have to issue new policy documents showing it is a Florida policy. Card/Binder/Policy requirements:
Must state that it is a FLORIDA policy - if it doesn't say FLORIDA on the card, we won't be able to take it
Cannot be expired or post-dated
Must list at least one owner' name that will be recorded on the Florida title
Must list the specific information for the vehicle you are titling/registering (i.e.. VIN, year, make, model)
Must list the 5-digit Florida Insurance Company Code Number
Note: If the vehicle you are titling is a truck that weighs more than 5,000 pounds, view our heavy truck FAQ for additional insurance requirements.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles does not require our office to view proof of insurance for motorcycles, trailers, boats, mobile homes, or off-highway vehicles.
Step 7 - Paying Florida Sales Tax on the Vehicle's Fair Market Value
Because Florida does not allow sales tax credit to be paid to foreign countries, Florida sales tax will be collected on the Fair Market Value (some call it the book value) of the vehicle. The sales tax is 7% in Manatee County - so 7% of the Fair Market Value of the vehicle will be collected at the time of registering and titling.
With all registration/title transfer transactions, the amount of sales tax paid by the customer, the reported purchase price, and the Fair Market Value claimed by the customer are subject to investigation and audit by the Florida Department of Revenue in Tallahassee.
Step 8 - Acceptable Methods of Payment and Estimated Fees
We accept cash, check, debit cards, and credit cards. A $2.50 processing fee for debit cards and a 2.5% processing fee, minimum of $2.50) for credit cards will apply. Our office does not retain any portion of this fee.
The estimated cost to title and register a vehicle for the first time is $369.00 - $441.00. Estimate does not include sales tax, if applicable. (This estimate includes transfer costs, the title, and a one year registration.)
Titles must be transferred within 30 days of the purchase date to avoid a late fee of up to $20.
Fees may be reduced if you previously had a license plate in your name in Florida. Other exceptions may apply - ask an associate during your visit for details.
Active duty members of the US Military who are legal Florida residents may be exempt from some fees - ask an associate during your visit for details.
Non-Manatee County Residents
Not a Manatee County resident? Out-of-County residents can only be served at First Manatee South County Tag Agency. See Step 3 for more details regarding the First Manatee South County Tag Agency. Otherwise, you will need to visit your home county tax collector's office.