Variance & Waiver Information

What is a Variance?

Section 120.52, Florida Statutes, defines a “variance” as a decision by an agency to grant a modification to all or part of the literal requirements of an agency rule to a person who is subject to the rule.

What is a Waiver?

Section 120.52, Florida Statutes, defines a “waiver” as a decision by an agency not to apply all or part of a rule to a person who is subject to the rule.

Are there any governing statutes or rules?

Yes, the governing statute is section 120.542, Florida Statutes, and the governing rules are found in Chapter 28-104, Florida Administrative Code, part of the Uniform Rule of Procedure.

What are the standards for granting variances and waivers?

Section 120.542(2), Florida Statutes, provides that variances and waivers are to be granted when the person subject to the rule demonstrates that the purpose of the underlying statute will be or has been achieved by other means by the person and when application of a rule would create a substantial hardship or would violate principles of fairness.

Under 120.542(2), Florida Statutes:
  • “Substantial hardship” means a demonstrated economic, technological, legal, or other type of hardship to the person requesting the variance or waiver.
  • “Principles of fairness” are violated when the literal application of a rule affects a particular person in a manner significantly different from the way it affects other similarly situated persons who are subject to the rule.
Where should I file a request for a rule variance or waiver?

Per Rule 28-104.002(1), Florida Administrative Code, requests for a variance or waiver should be filed with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agency Clerk, and a copy must be filed with the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Email: AgencyClerk@fdle.state.fl.us
Phone: (850) 410-7676
Fax: (850) 410-7699

Mailing Address:
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Agency Clerk – Office of the General Counsel
P.O. Box 1489
Tallahassee, Florida 32302

Physical Address:
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Agency Clerk – Office of the General Counsel
2331 Phillips Road
Tallahassee, Florida 32308

Joint Administrative Procedures Committee (JAPC)

Mailing/Physical Address:
Joint Administrative Procedures Committee
111 West Madison Street
Pepper Building, Room 680
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1400

What should a request for a rule variance or waiver contain?

The requirements for a petition for a variance from or waiver of a rule are specified by Rule 28-104.002(2), Florida Administrative Code, which provides:

  1. The petition must include the following information:
  1. The caption shall read:
    Petition for (Variance from) or (Waiver of) Rule (Citation)
  2. The name, address, any e-mail address, telephone number, and any facsimile number of the petitioner, if the party is not represented by an attorney or a qualified representative;
  3. The name, address, e-mail address, telephone number, and any facsimile number of the attorney or qualified representative of the petitioner, if any;
  4. The applicable rule or portion of the rule;
  5. The citation to the statute the rule is implementing;
  6. The type of action requested;
  7. The specific facts that demonstrate a substantial hardship or a violation of principles of fairness that would justify a waiver or variance for the petitioner;
  8. The reason why the variance or the waiver requested would serve the purposes of the underlying statute; and
  9. A statement whether the variance or waiver is permanent or temporary. If the variance or waiver is temporary, the petition shall include the dates indicating the duration of the requested variance or waiver.
What process will the Department follow?

The Department must grant or deny petitions for variance or waiver within ninety (90) days of receipt. However, petitions can be withdrawn at any time by the applicant prior to final agency action.

Upon receipt of a legally sufficient petition for variance or waiver, the Department will:
  • Publish a notice of the request in the Florida Administrative Register.
  • Request additional information to enable it to make a decision on the request.
  • Issue an order granting or denying the request.
Can comments be filed in response to a request for a variance or a waiver?

Yes, Rule 28-104.003(1), Florida Administrative Code, provides interested persons the ability to submit written comments on the request within fourteen (14) days of publication of the notice of the request in the Florida Administrative Register.

What can I do if my request is denied or is only granted in part?

You can request an administrative proceeding under Chapter 120, Florida Statutes. The order denying your request will include a notice of administrative appeal rights.

Can FDLE provide me with legal advice regarding my variance or waiver?

Employees of FDLE are not permitted to provide legal advice or specific guidance on how you should proceed with your request.

Does FDLE have examples of variances and waivers specific to certain rules that have been approved?

Yes, please see the examples below.
Rule 11B-27.002(4)

Example 1
Example 2

Rule 11B-30.008(1)

Example 1
Example 2

Rule 11B-35.002

Example 1
Example 2