Applying for a Car Registration in Tennessee
Applying for a Tennessee vehicle registration is one of the first steps you must take after purchasing or acquiring a new or used car, truck, minivan, SUV, trailer or motorized bicycle.
Under state law, you must register any motorized vehicle after purchasing, acquiring or inheriting it from a licensed dealership or private seller. Driving an unregistered vehicle is against the law and may result in fines and penalty fees.
Note: If your car is already registered but you have lost the registration, you must request a duplicate vehicle registration instead.
To obtain DMV registration credentials after purchasing or acquiring a vehicle, you must visit the clerk’s office in the county where you live to submit your application materials in person. Typically, the types of documents you must submit along with your application will vary depending on whether you wish to register a new or used automobile.
Additionally, the DMV car registration process varies slightly if you wish to register an out-of-state vehicle in Tennessee. To learn more about the steps you must take to apply for new registration credentials, review the sections below.
Obtaining Vehicle Registration Records in Tennessee
To get a new car registration card after purchasing, acquiring or inheriting a motor vehicle from a dealership or private party, you must visit your local county clerk’s office. You cannot obtain new registration credentials online or by mail.
Once you arrive at your local county clerk’s office, you must submit several types of documents as proof of vehicle ownership. Typically, these documents will vary depending on whether you wish to register a new or used automobile.
Find information on applying for a new car registration in our free guide.
To obtain new car registration credentials after purchasing an automobile from a dealership, you must provide your county clerk with a Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin and a vehicle invoice. If you wish to transfer license plates to the newly purchased vehicle, you must also present a copy of your current registration card.
To obtain a TN auto registration after purchasing, inheriting or acquiring a used automobile from a family member or private seller, you must provide your county clerk with the vehicle’s reassigned certificate of title and an Odometer Disclosure Statement (if necessary).
If you wish to transfer license plates to the newly acquired automobile, you must also submit a copy of the vehicle’s current registration card.
Where can I apply for a Tennessee car registration near me for an out-of-state car?
Before you may obtain a DMV vehicle registration for your out-of-state automobile, you must first submit to an emissions test if the county in which you live requires one. After the out-of-state vehicle passes an emissions inspection, you must visit your local county clerk’s office to submit the emissions certificate.
In addition to these out-of-state car registration requirements, you must provide your county clerk with several other important documents, including the vehicle’s current out-of-state registration card and original certificate of title. If there is a lien on your vehicle’s title, you must provide the name and address of your lienholder.
To obtain new auto registration credentials for your out-of-state motor vehicle, you must also provide your county clerk with proof of Tennessee residency and evidence of your identification (such as a driver’s license or another form of photo ID.
Tennessee Vehicle Registration Fees
When you obtain new registration credentials after purchasing, acquiring or inheriting an automobile from a dealership or private seller, you must pay several fees before leaving your county clerk’s office.
When you pay car registration fees, however, your total amount will vary depending on the type of vehicle you wish to register and the county where you live. Keep in mind that these are one-time registration fees and are different from the yearly fee you must pay when you complete a vehicle registration renewal.
You can find detailed information on how to apply for a vehicle registration in our guide.