How to Apply for Car Registration in Michigan

Applying for a Michigan vehicle registration is one of the first steps you must take after purchasing, acquiring or inheriting a new or used automobile. However, the specific application process varies depending on whether you acquired the vehicle from a dealership, private seller or family member.

When you purchase a vehicle from a licensed car dealership, the dealer will submit your application materials directly to the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS), eliminating the need for you to register the car on your own.

Note: Keep in mind that if your car is already registered but you have lost your registration, you must apply for a replacement car registration instead of re-registering your car.

Since your DMV registration receipt displays important information like your vehicle’s license plate number and the name of the vehicle’s owner, you must keep this credential on you whenever you operate the vehicle on public roads and highways.

To learn more about how to obtain new car registration credentials and to explore the steps you must take to begin the SOS application process, review the sections below.

How to Get Michigan DMV Car Registration Credentials

To obtain MI vehicle registration records after purchasing or acquiring an automobile from a private seller, you must visit a local SOS office to complete the application process within 15 days from the date of purchase.

During your visit, you must present evidence of vehicle ownership (such as the automobile’s reassigned certificate of title), a photo ID and proof of a valid insurance policy. In some cases, an Appointment of Agent may also be necessary.

As part of the auto registration application process, you may choose to transfer your existing license plates to the newly acquired vehicle before leaving the SOS office. Otherwise, you must purchase license plates for your newly purchased vehicle. Different types of license plates are available for purchase, including personalized or special organization plates.