keep calm moving to floridaApproximately a thousand people a day move to Florida, many of them to Miami-Dade County.  In fact according to the 2013 U.S. census, of the nearly 20 million people who reside in Florida, more than 13% of its residents live in Miami-Dade.  If you are one of these people, welcome to the neighborhood! There is no denying that moving is a stressful event for everyone.  Even if you have movers pack up all of your belongings, haul them to your new destination, and unpack them for you, it is not a process for the disorganized or the faint of heart.  When you couple that stress with moving to an area as populated as Miami, learning as much about driving in the area can be especially beneficial.

Getting your Florida driver’s license:

  • Out-of-State Drivers:  When you move to Florida, if you hold an out-of-state driver’s license, you have 30 days to get your Florida license once you settle into your new address.  You will be required to present two forms of identification to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when you apply for your license.  One of these must be your previously issued license which you will have to surrender to the Florida DMV.

Other acceptable forms of identification include, but are not limited to, your social security card, a certified birth certificate, a certificate of naturalization, a certificate of birth abroad, as well as a few others.  You will not be required to take a road test or a written exam, but you will need to pass a vision and hearing test.  If your current license has expired, you might have to apply for a Florida learner’s permit and then complete all the other requisites to obtain an initial Florida driver’s license.

In addition to your two forms of identification, you will also have to produce proof of Florida residency to the DMV.  This can be a voter registration card, deed, mortgage, lease agreement, or other such documentation.

  • International drivers:  Florida recognizes foreign driver’s licenses with an international permit, however, just as with an expired out-of-state driver’s license, an expired international license will require that you get a learner’s permit and complete all of the requisites for obtaining an initial Florida license.  There are some exceptions to this which can be found in the Florida driver’s manual. 
  • Non-U.S. Citizens:  The rules and requirements for getting a Florida driver’s license for immigrant and non-immigrant drivers who are not U.S. citizens varies, so it is advisable to check with the DMV to determine what information you need to provide in order to get a license.

Registering your vehicle in Florida:

Whether you are getting a driver’s license or registering your vehicle, it’s important to remember that due to the volume of people in Miami-Dade, any trip to the DMV can be time consuming.  It is always best for you to make an appointment to help expedite the process, and this is something that you can do online.  You may want to arrive a few minutes early to make sure that you don’t miss your appointment.  Keep in mind that once you move to Florida, you only have 10 days to register your vehicle with the DMV once you get a job, register a child in a Florida school, register to vote, or file for a homestead exemption.  Additionally, if you reside in Florida for more than six months, you are then considered a Florida resident and are required to have a Florida driver’s license as opposed to an out-of-state license and register your vehicle with the state.  When you go to register the vehicle, you will need to provide verification of your vehicle identification number (VIN), proof of Florida auto insurance, and the title to the vehicle.

Florida 511 traveler information system:

The Florida 511 traveler information system is part of a national communications system formed by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Communications Committee, and other traffic safety-oriented organizations.  This system is designed to help travelers arrive at their destinations safely as well as to ease the flow of the delivery of freight from one location to another.  Although the transportation of freight was a major consideration for developing the 511 system, the benefits to drivers, especially in states that have heavy traffic flow such as Florida, this has proven invaluable.

The FL511 system works with the Florida Department of Transportation to provide the technology to provide you with information such as traffic conditions, road construction, and other traffic advisory alerts.  You can also plan you route before you leave for your destination to avoid many of the pitfalls that create frustration, which often lead drivers into committing traffic violations.

FL511 is available through the use of either your phone or your computer.  You can log on to to plan your route or to look to see if there are any impending difficulties that may impede your travel in Miami-Dade by setting up an account.  You can then set up routes that you routinely take to check for issues such as accidents or bridge closures before you start your commute.  To set up routes that you regularly travel, create an account at  You can also fine tune your account to include the specific types of traffic alerts that you may want to know about.

To set up your account, go to the user home page and select a user name and password.  You can then follow the prompts to create a route or routes by selecting a particular roadway, a starting location, and an ending location.  Once you have done so, you can then choose which alerts you would like to receive and the days and times that you are interested in getting them.  This gives you the option of choosing a different route should there be traffic issues on your usual route.

The FL511 system also provides estimated travel times to help you better prepare for your commute.  In addition to these types of traffic issues, the system can also tell you where in Miami you can find traffic light cameras, thereby avoiding them.  If you select Miami-Dade County and then the roadway you will be travelling, FL511 can show you where you will encounter these traffic light cameras.

Once you move to Miami-Dade you will quickly realize that traffic tickets are big business.  Driving without a valid license, not having your car properly registered, and traffic light cameras can all result traffic tickets that carry fines and penalties.  Since we seem to have a number of law enforcement agencies that are hell-bent on writing traffic tickets at nearly every opportunity, you may want to keep my number on speed-dial.  If you get a traffic ticket for any of these offenses or any other violation, give the Traffic Ticket Team a call at 954-967-9888 for a free consultation.