How to Apply for a Car Registration in Washington
Applying for a Washington vehicle registration is necessary after taking ownership of a new or used vehicle. The state’s DMV registration requirements apply to vehicles obtained through a dealership, private sale, gift or inheritance and must be completed within a certain time frame. However, the registration steps are different depending on how you acquired your vehicle.
Washington DMV car registration is handled by the Department of Licensing (DOL). If you are a new state resident, you must transfer your vehicle registrations as soon as possible to the WA DOL to avoid fines or other penalties. Read on to learn how to register a vehicle in Washington.
Washington Vehicle Registration Requirements
A new car registration is usually handled by the dealer when you purchase a vehicle from a car dealership. As part of your transaction, the dealer will submit your vehicle registration records and transfer vehicle ownership into your name for you. In Washington, a dealer has up to 45 days from the date of delivery to complete this task.
However, completing an auto registration is your responsibility when you buy a vehicle from a private seller or receive a car as a gift or inheritance. You must transfer ownership into your name and register the vehicle within 15 days of taking possession. If you fail to do so, you will accrue penalties that increase by the day.
Although you must transfer the car’s title to your name, you may not be required to get new license plates. If you got your vehicle from a spouse, domestic partner, family member or trust, you may be exempt from purchasing new plates.
If you recently moved to Washington, you must obtain a WA DOL registration within 30 days from the date of your move. Additionally, keep in mind that you need your new state driver’s license before you can transfer your vehicle registration records, and you cannot complete both tasks at the same place. The DOL has separate offices for driver’s licensing and vehicle licensing.
Information Needed for Washington Auto Registration
When you apply for a DOL car registration in Washington, the information you must provide will vary according to the type of registration you need. Most registrants will need to provide the following:
- Vehicle title
- Vehicle title application
- Odometer disclosure form (for vehicles less than 10 years old)
- Signed bill of sale
- Proof of emissions testing, where required
- Washington driver’s license
If your title does not display the vehicle’s weight, you may be required to have the car weighed at a scale house or obtain a vehicle weight slip from a DOL licensing office. After car registration is completed, you can add the new vehicle to your License eXpress account for ease in completing your yearly vehicle registration renewal.
Washington Vehicle Registration Locations and Fees
If you are wondering, “Where can I find an office for car registration near me?” simply visit the DOL online and search for your nearest location.
Although most drivers submit registration paperwork in person, you may be able to mail your application and fee payment to the DOL. You cannot obtain a new car registration online in Washington.
WA DMV vehicle registration fees vary by where you live, vehicle weight, type of license plate and other factors. Learn more about how to pay car registration fees and get step-by-step information on applying for a car registration in our free in-depth guide.