New to Florida? Make Sure You Understand these Laws!

Moving to a different country is not always a piece of cake. Sure, you’re excited and anticipating a change in the climate and surroundings of a new home, but the change runs deeper than that. If you are moving to a country like Florida, you might have to also understand the different laws that the citizens here must pertain to. Don’t worry, this is where we come to help. Here is a list of the basic laws and rules that everyone who’s new to Florida must understand and abide by.

Getting Settled in Florida

The good news is Florida is pretty flexible when it comes to accommodating citizens of other states, provided you cut ties with your previous state and agree to accept the citizenship of Florida. If your earlier country or state is still collecting an estate tax or income tax from you, you need to terminate that ASAP to confirm your residence here in Florida. This is necessary for all the preliminary requirements that you’d want in a state- for instance, to get a place to stay, buy a vehicle, open a bank account and other activities. Your Florida domicile will be respected only if you comply with these rules.

Voting Rights

One of the fundamental rights of the citizen of any country is the right to choose its government. As a resident of Florida, you will have a say in its government and other offices of power. Now, simply getting a voting card is not enough unless you actually exercise your voting rights in the first available election. You can apply for a voting card using either a driving license or any other non-driver ID card. The DM would provide you with the registration form as soon as you submit the required documents. Also, the voter registration books close about 30 days before an election, so apply accordingly.

Residence Laws

The “Declaration of Domicile” is a document that allows you to establish a place of residence in Florida and claim its citizenship. Your place of residence, however, has to be a permanent one and should be proved so legally. In the document, you have to state if you have residences in any other state or country and then confirm that your Floridan home is the permanent one. The Declaration of Domicile must be signed in the presence of a notary or public clerk of the Floridan court. You also have to submit a nominal fee for recording this statement. Failure to do so would result in a penalty $5,000 fine and prison time.

The Jury and Jail

The legal system of Florida is very similar to the rest of the US. In case you get into some trouble with the jury, then these prison laws and privileges would come in handy. As a prisoner your right to privacy is obviously terminated, however, you do have other rights such as the right to dignity and demand for basic living conditions in the jail facility. It is the responsibility of the state to protect you from excessive torture, discrimination, and neglect. You can check up on a family or loved one who’s in prison in Florida, Ohio or any other location, send him/her care packages, and communicate via mail.

Obtaining a License

Another important thing that you need to establish your presence in Florida is a driver’s license. If you have a vehicle and not have a license to drive it around, it is automatically assumed that you haven’t officially moved. You might have a Floridan residence permit, a domicile document, and other legal proofs but a driver’s license is mandatory. Also, you have 30 days to file for a license once you get your Declaration of Domicile. Note, that your previous driver’s license from your former country will be confiscated by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. You can’t have two licenses under one name. You must also get your vehicle registered under the DMV certifications. If you don’t drive, get a non-driver ID card ASAP.

Opening a Bank Account

You can open a bank account and avail the benefits of the Floridan investments with a legal ID card or your driver’s license and other documentation. However, ensure that all or at least one of your out-of-state accounts are transferred to the Floridan institution. You can have bank accounts and investments in other countries, that’s okay. But you need at least one main account in the country of current residence. Also, all your accounts from your former state of residence must be transferred to the Floridan bank.

Taxes and Exemptions

Once you have received your declaration of domicile, a license, and a job, you need to notify the taxing officials of Florida. You will have to abide by the tax laws and pay an income tax return if you earn as much. For this, you need to submit the address proof of a permanent residence in Florida for federal income tax purposes. Next, you have to file your return Internal Revenue Service Centre in Charlotte, NC 28201. You can apply for a Floridan homestead exemption for asset protection and further solidifying your residence in Florida.

The Bottom Line

Settling down somewhere new always comes with its fair share of trials and triumphs. Irrespective of the reasons why you’re shifting your state of residence, now that you’re here you need to learn the ways of the country. Like they say when in Rome, live as Romans do! Florida is a very accommodating place and welcomes people of different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds provided you abide by the laws of the state. Fair enough?

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