How to Apply for Car Registration in the District of Columbia
Applying for a District of Columbia vehicle registration is one of the first steps you must take after purchasing a new or used vehicle. By law, you must obtain DC DMV registration credentials within 30 calendar days of buying a car or moving to the district, unless you qualify for reciprocity privileges.
If you do not qualify for reciprocity privileges and you fail to register your automobile with the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles (DC DMV) on time, you could be subject to traffic tickets and penalty fees.
Learn more about these DMV car registration requirements and the steps to register your car below.
How to Get Vehicle Registration Records in the District of Columbia
“Where can I apply for a DC car registration near me?” To obtain registration credentials for your newly purchased or out-of-state motor vehicle, you must visit a local DMV Service Center to apply in person. After registering your vehicle for the first time, you will be able to complete your yearly registration renewals online, in person or by mail.
Before you can get auto registration materials from the DC DMV, your vehicle must pass an inspection. You will need to present a valid inspection sticker during your office visit. Be sure to complete this inspection before visiting a DMV Service Center or you will not be able to register your car.
When obtaining new car registration materials for your motor vehicle, you must also provide the DMV agent with a few important documents as proof of your registration eligibility. As part of the registration process, you must submit proof of the following:
- DC residency
- A passing vehicle inspection
- Valid automobile insurance
- Vehicle ownership, such as a certificate of title
If you have any questions about the types of documents you must present during your registration, download our free step-by-step guide.
District of Columbia Vehicle Registration Fees
During your office visit, you must also pay car registration taxes and fees with an accepted form of payment. Typically, you can pay these fees with a credit card, check, money order or cash.
Your registration fees will vary depending on the type, size and class of your motor vehicle. If you have questions about the fees you must pay to register your newly acquired or out-of-state vehicle in Washington DC, you may contact the DMV before heading in.
To make your visit smoother, be sure to review our free in-depth guide on how to register your car in DC.