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A Motor Vehicle Registration — or more simply, a car registration — connects a car to its owner for identification purposes, and is proof that the car owner has paid the required taxes and obtained the minimum auto insurance coverage required in their state. Each state requires you, by law, to register your car with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or transportation agency.
The vehicle registration process involves providing some personal information and details on your car and paying a registration fee. If you fail to register your car or renew your registration, you could face penalty fees, a ticket and possibly impoundment.
The most common scenarios wherein you’d need to register a car are:
The Arizona Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) oversees vehicle registration in the state. Find out more about car registration on the Arizona MVD page here.
In Arizona, you must register any cars or motor vehicles you own or operate with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).
The first time you register your car in Arizona, you’ll receive a license plate for your vehicle and a registration card. Additionally, you will receive a registration sticker that needs to be attached to your vehicle’s license plate.
When you renew your registration, you’ll receive a new registration card. In Arizona, drivers are required to keep the registration card with them when operating a vehicle. If you drive a commercial vehicle, you can carry the digital version of the card.
To register a car in Arizona, you must:
Find out more about the requirements to register a vehicle in Arizona here and the personal information requirements here.
The main difference between a car title (or pink slip) and a car registration is that while the first prove your legal ownership of a vehicle, the second allows your vehicle to be driven on public roads. Both documents are mandatory in all 50 U.S. states.
Unlike the car title, which does not need to be renewed, the car registration has to be renewed every one or two years, depending on the state. In Arizona, drivers may register their vehicle for the duration of one, two or five years and renew before expiration.
The car title only needs to be changed when the vehicle is sold and the owner changes, or if you have finished paying the car loan and the vehicle is now officially yours. In these cases, you must complete a transfer of ownership by transferring the title.
Learn more about your car title in Arizona here.
If you purchase a new or used vehicle at a car dealership in Arizona, the dealership will handle the vehicle registration on your behalf but will charge the applicable registration fees.
If you purchased a used car from a private seller or are a new resident of the state, you will need to obtain a car registration yourself.
To register your car in Arizona, complete the following three steps:
Learn what documents and information you need here.
In Arizona, you must register your car in person. Click here to find your nearest Arizona MVD Office location.
The cost to register a vehicle in Arizona will depend on the age, type and weight of the vehicle, as well as your county of residence. You can pay the MVD fees in cash, with a check or with a credit card.
If you have questions about the car registration process or require assistance, contact the Arizona MVD by phone at (602) 255-0072.
You can submit questions or requests online to the Arizona Department of Transportation by filling out the General Information Request form here.
To renew your car registration in Arizona, complete the following three steps:
Learn about the documents needed to renew your registration here.
To renew your registration online, click here to access the ServiceArizona Vehicle Registration Renewal Portal.
To renew your registration in person, click here to find your nearest MVD Office. Arizona MVD will mail you updated registration documents and plates.
To renew your registration by phone, call (888) 713-3031.
In addition to standard fees, you may need to pay an online service charge if you choose to renew your registration online.
If you have further questions about the vehicle registration renewal process or require assistance, contact the Arizona MVD by phone at (602) 255-0072.
Or, submit your question or request through the Arizona Department of Transportation by filling out the General Information Request form here.
If you applied for a new vehicle registration or requested a vehicle registration renewal for your car online, check the status of your application or request with the ServiceArizona portal here.
You can also visit or call a local MVD office for further assistance. Find your nearest local MVD office location and contact information in Arizona here.
Any missing or stolen vehicle title or registration must be replaced and reported to the local authorities immediately. This includes license plates. You can replace lost or stolen title and registration documents online or in person.
To replace documentation online, click here to access the ServiceArizona portal.
To replace documentation in person, click here to find your nearest MVD Office.
If you move to a new address within the state, you will need to update the address on your vehicle registration within 10 days of relocation.
To change your address online, click here to access the ServiceArizona portal. You can also change your address in person by visiting your nearest MVD Office. Find office contact information here.
If you need to update your name on your registration, you must change your name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) first. Learn more about how to change your name with the SSA here.
After changing your name with the SSA, you must visit a local MVD Office in person to update your registration. Find your nearest office location and contact information here. You will need documents that confirm the legal name change, such as a marriage or divorce certificate or court order.
Learn more about changing your name with the Arizona MVD here.
If you have recently moved to Arizona, you will need to register and title your car with the Arizona MVD within 15 days of moving to the state. Follow the same car registration steps outlined above to complete the process.
If you have not yet obtained an Arizona-issued driver’s license or ID card, you will need to provide your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number with your legal name and address to submit your car registration application.
Learn more about what to expect as a new Arizona resident here.
If you move out of Arizona, you will need to register your vehicle in your new state. Your new state may have different requirements for vehicle services. Click here to access your new state’s official DMV website for more information.
In addition to the fixed Public Safety Fee of $32 and the $1.50 Air Quality Research Fee, the total cost to register or renew your vehicle depends on:
Other registration and title fees include:
Any person driving a vehicle without a valid car registration in Arizona can be subject to a $50 to $300 fine. Drivers who falsify vehicle registration material or information can face a class 2 misdemeanor to class 5 felony.
To learn more about Arizona fines and penalties in 2020, click here and here.
For help with the car registration process, or for any further questions about your car registration, call the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) by phone at (602) 255-0072 Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
You can also contact the following customer service phone numbers:
Or, visit or call a local MVD office for further assistance. Find your nearest office location and contact information here.
While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the car registration process and compiled a guide and the following answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get familiar with the process by providing useful information.
Our free Car Registration Guide is filled with helpful information about how to apply, eligibility and how to get in touch with local offices. You can view or download our free guide here.