How to Apply for a Car Registration in Alabama
You must apply for an Alabama vehicle registration within a certain number of days after acquiring a car. Whether you bought the car, inherited it or received it as a gift, you will need to register it before you get on the road, since operating a car without valid registration is illegal.
Note: If your vehicle is already registered but you have lost your registration, you will need to request a replacement vehicle registration rather than apply for a new one.
Additionally, if you wish to register an out-of-state vehicle that still has valid registration credentials from another state, you may apply for new registration credentials within 30 days of bringing the automobile into Alabama.
To obtain a new DMV registration, you must first complete an application for a vehicle certificate of title, unless your automobile is exempt from meeting the state’s mandatory titling requirements.
When obtaining DMV car registration credentials for a newly acquired vehicle, you must also present proof of a valid automobile insurance policy, as doing so is a requirement of the state’s Mandatory Liability Insurance (MLI) law.
To learn more about these requirements and to explore the different steps you must take to register your newly acquired vehicle with the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR), review the information below.
How to Get Vehicle Registration Records in Alabama
“Where can I apply for an AL car registration near me?” is a question you may ask after acquiring a new or used automobile from a licensed dealership or private seller.
Regardless of how and where you get the motor vehicle, you must visit an ADOR license plate-issuing office in the county where you live to submit your application materials in person. You cannot submit your initial registration application online or by mail.
When obtaining a new car registration, you must be able to provide the ADOR issuing agent with several important documents, including proof of a valid liability insurance policy and payment for taxes and fees. Typically, vehicle registration fees vary by automobile and the type of license plate you wish to purchase for your newly acquired car, truck, minivan or SUV.
Note: When you register a vehicle for the first time, you must pay a one-time fee that is typically higher than the yearly fee for a vehicle registration renewal.
When titling and registering a newly acquired automobile with the ADOR, you must also present the vehicle’s original certificate of title or Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO). Depending on the situation, you may need to present the additional documentation as well, including the vehicle’s current registration credentials.
After providing the ADOR agent with these application materials, you will receive new Alabama license plates for your recently acquired vehicle. If you lose or damage your license plates at any time, you must remember to purchase replacement credentials as soon as possible.
Get step-by-step information on applying for a car registration by downloading our free vehicle registration guide.
Penalties of Not Obtaining an Alabama Auto Registration
If you fail to pay car registration taxes and fees when you register your vehicle for the first time, you will need to pay a delinquent fee when you do register it. Moreover, you will need to pay a delinquent fee if you move into the state of Alabama and fail to register your out-of-state automobile within a certain number of days.
To avoid penalty fees after you purchase a new or used vehicle, it is important to apply for new titling and registration credentials as soon as you acquire an automobile.
Do you need to keep your Alabama car registration records inside of your vehicle?
After obtaining new auto registration credentials for your recently acquired vehicle, state law requires you to keep a valid registration card on you whenever you operate the automobile on public roads and highways.
Learn more about fees and the process of applying for a car registration in our free in-depth guide.