To become a resident of Florida, a person must establish a home or a permanent dwelling place and demonstrate the intent to make Florida the place of permanent legal residence. There is no fixed waiting period required before a person can become a resident. Simply produce proof of intent to establish residence by filing a sworn statement with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where your new residence is located. There is a fee, and a driver's license or other picture identification is required for recording the affidavit.
The residency period required to establish eligibility for the following may be determined from the date the statement is filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
1. State or County Employment: There is no residency requirement for employment with most state or county government agencies; however, preference may be given to Florida residents.
2. Homestead Exemption: Florida residents are entitled to property tax exemptions of up to $25,000 on the assessed value of owner-or dependent-occupied homesteads. An application must be filed with the County Property Appraiser between January and March of the tax year in order to receive these exemptions.
3. Voting and Jury Duty : Any person who is 18 years of age or older, a citizen of the United States, and a permanent resident of Florida and of the county where he or she wishes to qualify to vote, may register with the Supervisor of Elections when the voter registration books are open. The books close 30 days before an election and reopen following the election. Persons selected for jury duty are taken from the roll of registered voters.
4. School Tuition Fees: Pupils in grades kindergarten through 12 whose parents or guardians are nonresidents of Florida should have a written Agreement of Transfer of Schools and may be charged a tuition fee payable at the time the pupil is enrolled. Tuition will be waived if a parent or guardian has lived in Florida more than one year, has purchased a home in Florida which is occupied as their residence prior to the enrollment of the child (or children) in school, and has filed an affidavit of domicile in the county where the child is enrolled. Fees may also be waived for certain individuals, such as military personnel. In order to qualify for in-state tuition fees at the state's public universities and community colleges, a student (or parent or guardian, if the student is a dependent) must have resided in Florida for 12 consecutive months prior to enrollment.
5. Eligibility for Dissolution of Marriage: To obtain a divorce, one of the parties to the marriage must have lived in Florida for six months prior to filing the petition.
6. Candidacy for Public Office: All candidates for office must be U.S. citizens and registered voters in Florida. Candidates for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the Florida Cabinet must be at least 30 and have been a Florida resident for the preceding seven years. Any candidate for the Florida Legislature must be at least 21 and a resident of the district he or she wishes to represent. A candidate for local office must be a resident of the appropriate district.
7. Driver's License: To operate a motor vehicle in the state, new residents are required to obtain a Florida driver's license within 30 days of accepting gainful employment, entering children in public schools, registering to vote, or filing for homestead exemption. Full-time nonresident students are exempt from this requirement.
8. Motor Vehicle Registration: To operate a motor vehicle on roads in the state, new residents are required to register their motor vehicles within 10 days of accepting gainful employment, entering children in public schools, registering to vote, or filing for the homestead exemption. Full-time nonresident college students are exempt from this requirement.
9. Noncommercial Fishing and Hunting Licenses: To qualify for resident statewide licenses, a person must have resided continuously for six months in Florida. Armed services personnel stationed in Florida and students enrolled in colleges and universities in the state are considered residents.
Retirement in Florida
Florida's elder population (people 60 years of age and older) has grown to over twenty three percent of the state's total population. The counties with the largest percentages of people age 65 and older are Charlotte (35%), Highlands (33%), Citrus (32%), and Sarasota (31%).