Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
The sellers of travel law requires any person or business that is a seller or promoter of travel-related services to register annually with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), unless exempt. Sellers of travel are required to provide proof of assurance in the form of a performance bond, in an amount not to exceed $25,000, or $50,000 if they sell vacation certificates.
FDACS is authorized to collect registration fees and impose penalties for noncompliance of the law.
Student tour operator is a special designation under the sellers of travel law. Sellers of travel who wish to function as a student tour operator are required to file annually with FDACS and provide proof that they have met the additional student tour operator insurance requirements. Please visit the Student Tour Operators FAQ for information on how to obtain this designation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Select a question below to expand the answer.
I'm a military veteran. How can I apply for a business registration fee waiver?
Initial business registration fees can be waived for honorably discharged veterans, the spouse of a veteran, or a business with a majority ownership held by a veteran or spouse of a veteran within 60 months after the date of discharge. The waiver is available to veterans from any branch of the United States Armed Forces.
Applicants must meet the licensing requirements of the specific industry and must submit a separate Military Veteran Fee Waiver Request [ ] form. The applicant must also submit a DD-214 form as proof of honorable discharge. This waiver does not include examination fees or other incidental fees.
Call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) for more information regarding the veteran fee waiver.
What is a seller of travel?
A seller of travel is any resident or nonresident person, firm, corporation or business entity that offers for sale, directly or indirectly, at wholesale or retail, prearranged travel or tourist-related services for individuals or groups, through vacation or tour packages, or through vacation certificates in exchange for a fee, commission or other valuable consideration. The term includes any business entity offering membership in a travel club or travel service for an advance fee or payment, even if no travel contracts or certificates or vacation or tour packages are sold by the business entity.
Who is required to register?
Any seller of travel that has a business location in Florida or that offers to sell travel-related services in Florida for individuals or groups. An annual filing fee of $50 is required for each independent sales agent.
Persons who have contracted with the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) for three years or more under the same ownership and control are not required to register but must have a statement of exemption issued by FDACS in order to obtain an occupational license. Sellers of travel that offer vacation certificates must have contracted with ARC for five years or more, under the same ownership and control, to qualify for this exemption.
What is required for registration?
Sellers of travel that DO NOT offer vacation certificates must submit:
- A completed registration form,
- $300 nonrefundable fee and
- Proof of assurance in the form of a surety bond in an amount not to exceed $25,000.
A seller of travel that DOES offer vacation certificates must submit:
- A completed registration form,
- $300 nonrefundable fee,
- $100 document submission fee and
- Proof of assurance in the form of a surety bond in an amount not to exceed $50,000.
Your registration will be denied if:
- Registration form and fee are NOT supplied,
- Surety bond is NOT completed properly (seals or signatures by principal and witnesses are missing), or
- Power of attorney is not included with surety bond.
Original documents for surety bond must be submitted. Copies will not be accepted.
What are the annual fees for sellers of travel?
- Registration: $300
- Vacation Certificate Document Submission fee: $100 (Additional fee ONLY if offering vacation certificates.)
All fees are nonrefundable.
How long is the registration in effect?
All registrations are valid for one year, beginning the day the certificate is issued, unless suspended or revoked for cause.
What are the penalties for failure to register?
Civil or administrative fines of up to $5,000 for each violation, cease and desist order, and injunctive relief. Each sale or attempted sale may be considered a separate violation.
Is any public notice and disclosure required by the sellers of travel law?
Registered sellers of travel must include the following phrase in their contracts:
- "(NAME OF FIRM) is registered with the State of Florida as a Seller of Travel Registration NO."
Each advertisement of a seller of travel must include the phrase:
- "Fla. Seller of Travel Reg. No."
In addition, all registered sellers of travel shall prominently display in their place of business, including branch offices, the certificate issued by FDACS.
How long does a seller of travel have to file a security?
The security is renewed annually. Persons who have been in the travel business for five or more consecutive years in compliance with Florida law may apply to FDACS for a waiver of the security by filing an Application for Security Waiver and providing the necessary documentation.
How long does FDACS hold my security?
Florida Law gives consumers the right to file a claim against the security provided by a business, the claim must be made in writing to FDACS within 120 days after an alleged injury has occurred or is discovered to have occurred. In response to this, FDACS may retain security for an appropriate amount of time.
What happens if I fail to timely renew the bond or registration?
Continued operation with an expired registration or bond will result in legal action by FDACS which may include injunctive relief, order to cease and desist, and civil or administrative fines of up to $5,000 per violation.
How long does FDACS have to review an application for registration?
FDACS must notify the applicant of any deficiencies within 30 days.
What do sellers of travel claiming exemption from the registration requirements under Section 559.935, F.S., need to do?
Sellers of travel claiming an exemption must obtain a letter of exemption from FDACS. To obtain the letter of exemption, the seller of travel must provide sufficient documentation to FDACS supporting the exemption.
Are nonprofit corporations exempt from registration under the Seller of Travel Law, s. 559.927, F.S.?
Not specifically as a group; the only exemptions that are recognized under the law are contained in s. 559.935, F.S.
Do travel clubs have to comply with the Sellers of Travel law?
Yes, including the vacation certificate provisions. The definition of a Seller of Travel states: The term includes any business entity offering membership in a travel club or travel services.
Are there any additional requirements for sellers of vacation certificates?
Sellers of travel who offer vacation certificates, wholesale or retail, MUST 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. and pay an additional fee of $100. Additionally they must submit the materials listed in s. 559.9295, F.S. anytime the documents are changed.