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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 (DOT) 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 North Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) oversees vehicle registration in the state. Find out more about car registration on the North Dakota DOT page here.
In North Dakota, you must register any cars or motor vehicles you own or operate with the North Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT).
The first time you register your car in North Dakota, 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 North Dakota, 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 North Dakota, you must:
The main difference between a car title (or pink slip) and a car registration is that while the first proves 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 North Dakota, registrations have to be renewed every year.
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 North Dakota in the video here.
If you purchase a new or used vehicle at a car dealership in North Dakota, 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 North Dakota, complete the following three steps:
Learn what documents and information you need here.
In North Dakota, you must register your car in person by appointment. Click here to make an appointment with your local North Dakota County Assessor Motor Vehicle Office or call 1 (855) 633-6835.
Before your appointment be sure to fill out the car registration application found here.
The cost to register a vehicle in North Dakota will depend on the age, type and weight of the vehicle, as well as your county of residence. You can pay the DOT 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 North Dakota Transportation Department by phone at (701) 328-2725.
You can also submit questions or requests online by filling out the General Information Request form here.
To renew your car registration in North Dakota, 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 Vehicle Registration Renewal Portal.
To renew your registration in person, click here to make an appointment with your local DOT Office
In addition to standard fees, you will 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 North Dakota Transportation Department by phone at 701-328-2725.
Or, submit your question or request through the North Dakota Transportation Department 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, check the status of your application or request with the North Dakota Vehicle Registration Status Check tool here.
You can also visit or call a local County Motor Vehicle Office for further assistance. Find your nearest local County Assessor Motor Vehicle office location and contact information in North Dakota 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 in person or by mail.
To replace the lost or stolen car title or registration, you will need to pay a fee of $10 ($5 for the duplicate title or registration, and $5 to remove the lien).
After requesting your replacement title or registration, you can check the status of your request on the North Dakota Transportation Department website.
Click here to check the status of your title and vehicle registration.
If you move to a new address within the state, you will need to update the address on your vehicle registration within 30 days of relocation.
Complete the North Dakota Car Registration form here and submit it to your local DOT office or send it by mail to the following address:
Motor Vehicle Division
ND Dept of Transportation
608 E Boulevard Ave
Bismarck, ND 58505-0780
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 County Assessor Motor Vehicle 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 a court order.
Learn more about changing your name with the North Dakota DOT here.
If you have recently moved to North Dakota, you will need to register and title your car with the North Dakota DOT within 90 days of moving to the state. Follow the same car registration steps outlined above to complete the process.
If you have not yet obtained a North Dakota-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 North Dakota resident here.
If you move out of North Dakota, 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 DOT website for more information.
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 North Dakota can be detained up to 72 hours and will need to pay the applicable fees to be released. As of 2020, failure to carry your registration in the vehicle will lead to a $67 fine, while the fine for operating a vehicle without registration amounts to a $101 fine.
To learn more about North Dakota fines and penalties in 2020, click here.
For help with the car registration process, or for any further questions about your car registration, call the North Dakota Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division by phone at 701-328-2725 or email email@example.com.
You can also contact the Department of Transportation (DOT) Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on their general information line at (701) 328-2500 or toll-free at 1-855-637-6237.
If you are hard of hearing or require TTY assistance, you can also call 711 or 1 (800) 366-6888.
Or, visit or call a local DOT 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.