How to Renew Your District of Columbia Car Registration With Our Free Guide

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Our FREE guide provides helpful information about the car registration process.

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Welcome to, your comprehensive resource for all your vehicle registration-related information. The guide we provide is completely FREE OF CHARGE. You can also find available related information in other official sites or local offices. You can download for for free our comprehensive guide and resources, which contains vital information in order to perform any DMV service.

District of Columbia

How to Renew Car Registration in the District of Columbia

You need to apply for a District of Columbia car registration renewal every year. Be sure to renew before your license plates expire, as driving with expired tags is against the law. As a reminder to apply for DMV registration renewal, the Department of Motor Vehicles will send you a notice about 60 days before your license plates are due to expire. Typically, you will receive this renewal notice by mail or email. Even if you do not receive this notice, you are still responsible for renewing your DC registration on time.

To apply for tag renewal in DC, you must take your vehicle for an inspection and settle any unpaid debts with the DMV. If your vehicle’s license plates expire before you can complete these steps, you must visit a local DC DMV office to purchase temporary registration stickers. Then, you will need to pay any outstanding balances and have your vehicle inspected before your temporary stickers expire.

For more information on how to renew your DC registration, review the sections below.

How to Apply for License Plate Renewal in the District of Columbia

You may apply for a DC DMV car registration renewal online or by mail. To qualify for online renewal, however, your current address must be on file with the DMV.

Note: If you need to change your name or address with the DC DMV, you must renew your registration credentials in person.

To learn more about how to renew registration online, by mail or in person, review the sections below.

How to Renew Online

If your name and address are current with the DC DMV and your vehicle has already passed an inspection, you may be able to renew your registration credentials online. To renew your car registration online, you will need a credit card for the fee. Our step-by-step guide will take you through the online renewal process so you can get your renewed credentials smoothly and quickly.

After submitting your online application through the DMV website, you can print a temporary registration card to use until your permanent credentials arrive in the mail.

If you wish to check vehicle registration status online before submitting your electronic application, you will need your car’s license plate number, identification number (VIN) and an email address. If you cannot provide this information, you must renew your credentials by mail. 

By Mail

To complete your car reg check and renewal by mail, refer to the reminder notice you received from the DC DMV. This will provide you with specific instructions for renewing your registration credentials. Once the DC DMV receives your application, it will process your request within seven to 10 business days.

If you need to apply for DC vehicle registration renewal but did not receive a reminder card from the Department of Motor Vehicles, you must mail a written request directly to the DC DMV. With your request, include your vehicle’s license plate number and your driver’s license or ID card number.

In Person

If you cannot complete your car registration check and renewal online or by mail, you must visit a DMV Service Center to submit your request in person. Typically, you must apply in person if you need to update your name or address with the DC DMV.

Review our free registration guide for direct DMV links and step-by-step instructions on how to renew your registration in DC.