April 13, 2022
The reason I originally started this site was — yes, to have an outlet for my desire to move closer to Disney four years before I would be able to do so! But it was also to share information with others who might want to make the move one day. Until now the site has been a lot more of the former than the latter! But with the move now in progress, we’ll be sharing a lot more of what we’re figuring out.
During our first week at our new apartment, we only had one weekday free before my wife started her new job so we decided to spend part of that day getting her Florida driver’s license. The process was mostly painless… but that’s because we were prepared! Here are some suggestions to make the process as relatively smooth as it was for us. (This assumes you’re just changing from one valid state driver’s license to a Florida one.)
First, make an appointment. The office we went to was very busy, but things went fairly fast for the stereotypically sloth-like DMV. A big part of that was we got in quickly. There were two lines, and it felt very inspired by the FastPass lines at Disney where nine people with appointments were let in for every one person without an appointment. When you visit the link above, be sure to find the correct county for where you’re moving to. For us, the Orange County/Osceola County border was very close to our apartment so I did some extra digging to ensure we went to the right place.
Second, make sure you have the right documents well in advance. And I mean very well in advance! There was one document I didn’t think we had, and when I went to the government agency website to have a copy mailed to us there was a six-month wait! Luckily it turned out we did have a copy. But waiting until two weeks before we moved to check what documents we needed was almost disastrous.
(By the way, if you changed your last name when you got married then you will need a certified marriage certificate in addition to your certified birth certificate. Court orders and divorce decrees are also necessary for anyone else with a name different than that on their birth certificate.)
Third, you’re going to need two different proof of residential address documents — but bring more than two! We almost got in trouble here, but luckily I was afraid of not having exactly what they wanted and brought as many items from the list as we had, which was four. They only accepted two of them.
- We signed our lease contract electronically over the internet. I printed a copy as one of our proofs thinking it would be obviously and easily accepted. It was not! Even though it was the entire 16 page contract with every bit of information filled in and signed by us, it was not technically signed by the apartment representative, so was rejected.
- We signed up with the power company before moving in. On our online account page with them, there is an option to get a verification of electric service confirming you are a current customer at the listed address. We printed this out and brought it with us because what is the point of having a verification of electric service except to give to places like the DMV as proof of residency? Another rejection! I’m not sure why this was not acceptable. (Note that this was not a printed bill, which would have been acceptable according to the website.)
- The apartment required us to have liability insurance. So we contacted our current agent who referred us to an office near where we were moving. (Insurance can’t generally be purchased for property across state lines; it must be from someone in the same state.) That agent worked with us via email to have a policy set up before we arrived. A printout of that policy was accepted as proof of residency.
- The last document I brought was a fluke! Two days before we arrived, we were having issues with my wife’s cell phone. We had just had her local 407 number ported to it but something wasn’t working. Our cell service provider agreed to overnight a new SIM card to our apartment so it would be waiting for us when we got there. A few days later when we were walking out the door to go to the DMV, I saw the opened envelope sitting on the counter, not yet thrown away. On a hunch (and being a bit paranoid!) I grabbed it since it technically had my wife’s name and new address on it. After giving them all four pieces of proof we had, it was the insurance and this empty envelope they went straight for!
To be clear, this was just our experience. Your milage may vary. It could just be that since we brought extra proofs, they selected the two that were most readily acceptable. It’s possible that the other two documents might have worked but needed further approval from someone else at the DMV. The moral of the story is, it doesn’t hurt to be over-prepared, just in case.