How to Apply for a Car Registration

How to Apply for a Car Registration

Every state requires drivers to register their vehicles before driving them. The process to apply for a car registration depends on your state. In some states, you’ll need to visit the DMV in person while other states let you begin your registration online.

However, there are a few documents that everyone will need when registering their vehicles, including proof of insurance, ownership and identity. In some cases, you also need proof of a vehicle inspection to register your car for the first time.

When to Apply for a Vehicle Registration

Most drivers have to register their vehicles after purchase. If you buy a car from a private seller, you’ll need to register the car yourself within a few days of the purchase. If you’re buying a car from a dealership, however, an agent will typically handle the process for you.

Another reason to complete a new car registration is moving to a new state. Each state has its own registration requirements and its own database, so you have to complete a new registration when you move to another state. You typically have between 10 to 30 days to complete the registration. If you miss the deadline, you may have to pay penalty fees.

You may also face penalties if you do not follow the steps to renew your registration before it expires, or complete the registration replacement process if your card is lost or badly damaged.

Application Methods for a Vehicle Registration 

The process to complete a vehicle registration depends on your state. However, there are only three main ways to apply for a registration:

  • Online through your state’s DMV or other office
  • In person at your state’s driver services office
  • By mail

Some states have more than one registration option while others may require everyone to register their cars in person. If you are wondering, “How do I find a car registration near me?” many states have search tools on their websites, which allow you to find nearby offices.