Due to its reliance on tourism, Florida is among five states that have registration laws for travel agents. While there is no true Florida travel agent “license”, you still need to register as a seller of travel if you conduct any business in the state, regardless of whether or not your business is actually located in Florida.
To become a travel agent, you must submit an application and a seller of travel surety bond to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), unless you qualify for an exemption.
Florida travel agent registration requirements
To register as a travel agent, complete a Florida seller of travel registration form, which includes information about the business, its owners, and its operations. Applicants must also purchase a Florida seller of travel surety bond. The bond amount depends on what travel services you offer but is almost always calculated as follows:
- $25,000 for travel agents who do not offer vacation certificates
- $50,000 for travel agents who offer vacation certificates
A seller of travel surety bond, also known as a travel agency bond, acts as protection for clients by ensuring that funds are transferred to the appropriate recipients. Furthermore, it guarantees that travel agents are conducting business according to Sections 559.926 through 559.939 of the Florida Statutes (Florida Sellers of Travel Act). The FDACS requires the original bond to be submitted with the applicant’s wet signature. For more information on the bond requirements, see Section 559.929 of the Florida Statutes.
Travel agents pay a yearly premium for their bond, which is usually 1-10% of the total bond amount and is based on a review of the travel agent’s qualifications. Get a free online quote for your Florida seller of travel bond or call SuretyBonds.com at 1 (800) 308-4358 to learn more and start the process of getting bonded.
Applicants registering as a travel agent must also pay the $300 application fee, and a $100 document fee is required for those offering vacation certificates.
An application is considered to be complete once the following is provided:
- Florida seller of travel bond form
- Payment of fee(s) in the form of a check/money order made payable to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
- Vacation certificate documentation required by 559.9295 and 559.932, Florida Statutes (if you offer vacation certificates)
Application materials and payment of fees may be sent via mail to the obligee at the following address:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Sellers of Travel Program
P.O. Box 6700
Tallahassee, FL 32399-6700
You can also register online by creating a consumer services account with the FDACS. Call the FDACS at 1-800-435-7352 if you have any questions regarding the application process. You’ll be notified within 30 days if something went wrong in your application or if you are successfully registered as a travel agent.
What to do after you become a registered travel agent
The registration is valid for one year, so it will need to be renewed annually, including payment of a $300 fee. Continuing to operate with an expired registration will result in legal action by the state of Florida.
If you offer vacation certificates, the annual Vacation Certificate Document Submission fee is an additional $100. Sellers of travel who offer vacation certificates, wholesale or retail, must also annually submit the documents required under s. 559.9295, F.S., including a copy of the contract in compliance with s. 559.932, F.S. These documents may be mailed to the FDACS or renewed online each year.
When advertising or selling to residents in Florida, you must include the phrase “(NAME OF FIRM) is registered with the State of Florida as a Seller of Travel, Registration No._______” in your contracts, advertisements, certificates and travel documents.
Who is exempt from registering as a seller of travel in Florida?
Independent contractors do not have to register in Florida if they obtain a written contract with a host that is registered in Florida or exempt from registration, do not receive fees directly from purchasers, and do not possess blank ticket stock or have the ability to issue travel documents. If independent contractors meet these requirements for exemption, they must pay a $50 fee and file an annual statement of exemption.
Those who have contracted with the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) for at least three years under the same ownership and control are not required to register, but they must have a statement of exemption issued by the department to obtain an occupational license. Travel agents that offer vacation certificates must have contracted with the ARC for at least five years under the same ownership and control to qualify for the exemption.
A full list of exemptions is available in s. 559.935 of the Florida Statutes.
What other states have registration laws for sellers of travel?