Applying for Car Registration in Illinois
Obtaining Illinois vehicle registration credentials is one of the first steps you must take after purchasing a new or used automobile from a licensed dealership or private party. Driving an unregistered car, truck, minivan or SUV is against the law and could lead to fines and other penalties.
However, the specific DMV registration process will vary depending on how and where you acquire the automobile. If you purchase a vehicle from an Illinois dealership, for instance, the dealer will forward your title and registration paperwork directly to the Secretary of State (SOS), eliminating the need to complete this process on your own.
Keep in mind that if your vehicle is registered and you have lost your registration materials, you will need to order a duplicate car registration instead.
To obtain new car registration credentials after purchasing a vehicle from a private party rather than an Illinois dealership, you must manually submit your application materials to the Illinois SOS.
Typically, you can apply by mail or in person at a local SOS facility. To learn more about these requirements and the process to register your newly acquired vehicle in Illinois, review the information below.
Getting Vehicle Registration Records in Illinois
To obtain Illinois DMV car registration credentials for your newly acquired motor vehicle, you must submit your application materials to the SOS in person or by mail.
Note: If you purchase the vehicle from a licensed dealership, the dealer will forward your completed application and payment for any applicable fees directly to the SOS.
To learn more about applying for new registration credentials after purchasing a vehicle from an independent seller, download our helpful car registration guide.
In Illinois, you can begin your auto registration application online before submitting your request in person or by mail.
If you prefer to complete a paper application, however, you may contact the SOS by phone, or you may visit a local SOS facility to obtain a paper form.
You may be wondering, “Where can I apply for car registration near me if I prefer to submit my application in person?”
To register your privately purchased vehicle in person, you must visit a local SOS facility to submit a completed application, proof of automobile ownership and payment for any applicable fees and sales tax.
Typically, the amount of sales tax you must pay when registering your newly acquired automobile will depend on the vehicle’s model year and selling price. Keep in mind that this is a one-time fee. Your yearly car registration renewal fees will be lower than your initial registration fee.
When you pay car registration sales tax on the purchase of your vehicle, you must also submit a completed Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) tax form. If you wish to complete this tax form before heading into an SOS office, you must contact the IDOR directly.
To pay vehicle registration fees and sales tax by mail rather than in person, you must submit a completed application, proof of automobile ownership and payment for any applicable fees to the Secretary of State’s Vehicle Services Department in Springfield.
Illinois SOS Car Registration Required Documents
When completing your SOS registration and titling application, you must be able to provide several important pieces of information, including the vehicle’s title number, identification number (VIN), year, make, date of purchase and license plate type.
Additionally, you must provide the name, driver’s license number and address of each vehicle owner.
After submitting your application to the SOS, you may obtain a Temporary Registration Permit (TRP) if you wish to operate your newly acquired vehicle before you receive your permanent license plates. While TRPs remain valid for up to 90 days, you must remove them when you receive your vehicle’s permanent license plates.
To learn more about what documents you need in order to register your vehicle, download our free guide.