What is the process for registering my vehicle?
The process for registering your vehicle will depend on your situation.
From out-of-state. If you have just moved to the state, you must title and register your vehicle yourself. You can title and register your vehicle during the same trip, so be sure to bring all required paperwork and fees to the DMV.
From a private owner. If you purchased your vehicle from a private owner, you need to transfer ownership. Both the seller and the buyer must sign and date the back of the vehicle title. The buyer then needs to go to the state's DMV to update the existing vehicle registration by applying to transfer the vehicle title under his/her name.
From a car dealership. Purchasing a used or new car from a dealership typically means the paperwork is done for you. You’ll just need to be sure the dealer has titled and registered the vehicle properly.
What are the requirements for registering my vehicle?
The requirements for registering your vehicle will depend on your state's rules. Look to the list below for more general requirements. Go to your state's motor vehicle agency for more specific information by following the state links below.
Vehicle Registration Requirements:
- Present the vehicle’s title (or title application)
- Some states require you to show the Vehicle Bill of Sale
- Provide proof of vehicle insurance
- Provide proof of residency
- Certain states require proof of paid personal property taxes
- Pay a registration fee
- If you have a license plate you want to transfer to the new vehicle, you must provide that vehicle’s/plate’s registration information.
- If leasing a vehicle, show your lease agreement
What happens after I register my car?
Once you successfully register your car, you will receive two license plates that you must display on your vehicle—one on the front, one on the back. Some states require an annual mechanic inspection to assure the quality and safety of your vehicle. Consult your state’s DMV for specific requirements including procedures, fees, application forms, and other important documents. Click on your state below get more information from your state's DMV website.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.