How to Register Your Vehicle

man holds car registration and car keys

Whether it’s new or used, your vehicle needs to have the proper vehicle registration for you to drive it. Registering your vehicle with your state gives you legal right to drive the vehicle without violating the law. Your registration is typically a piece of paper containing your information along with your registered vehicle’s.

If you happen to get pulled over, the officer will usually ask for your license and registration to show proof that you own the vehicle. It’s wise to keep your registration in the car so you’ll always have it on hand.

If you’re a first-time car buyer, here are some general documents you’ll likely need for vehicle registration:

  • Driver's license or identification card
  • Proof of insurance
  • Car title or signed lease agreement
  • Proof of a passed safety inspection
  • Vehicle registration application form

You may need additional documentation depending on your state, so make sure you check your state’s DMV standards before you begin registration.

If you’re renewing your vehicle registration, here’s what you’ll likely need:

  • Vehicle identification number, or VIN
  • License plate number
  • Driver's license number
  • Car insurance details
  • Vehicle registration card

The Vehicle Registration Process

Once you have all the required documents, you can begin the registration process at your local DMV. Here’s how the process works, according to

  1. Fill out the vehicle registration form asking for your personal and vehicle information.
  2. Once the form is filled out, submit it along with the rest of your required paperwork to a DMV professional.
  3. After submitting the paperwork, you’ll be required to pay a registration fee, which will vary by state.
  4. Once you’ve paid the registration fee, you’ll receive a registration sticker for your license plate as well as a piece of paper containing your personal and vehicle information to show proof of registration.
  5. Once the registration process is complete, you’ll be set until it’s time to renew.

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