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How to Register a Vehicle in Illinois

Illinois law requires that motor vehicle owners register their vehicle with the Illinois Vehicle Services Department before taking it on the road. Both new and second-hand vehicles must be registered, regardless of whether they are purchased from a dealer or an individual. In addition, new Illinois residents who have registered their vehicle in another state must register their vehicle in Illinois. The initial vehicle registration must be done in person, and registration renewals must be done annually and either in person, online, by mail, or telephone.

If you purchase a car, titling and registration must be done within 20 days of the purchase. If you are a new resident of Illinois, you need to do this within 30 days.


If you are registering a motor vehicle in Illinois for the first time, the process is described below in the following links.

Vehicle Registration Renewal

Guide to Illinois vehicle registration renewal. What is required for renewing your vehicle registration in IL, where and when to renew your vehicle, fees, mailing address, forms, etc

Illinois Vehicle Registration Replacement

IL Vehicle registration replacement information for lost, stolen or damaged vehicle registrations. Step-by-step guide to getting a new copy of your vehicle registration.

Illinois Vehicle Code

The Illinois Vehicle Code contains all of state’s the traffic laws regarding driver licensing and vehicle registration.

Illinois Car Registration Plates

This article is an overview of license / car registration plates. It covers the regulations for displaying and mainting your plates as well as information on vanity, disability and vintage vehicle plates.

Illinois Custom Car Registrations

There are different procedures for registering a custom or vintage car in Illinois, this information can be found here.


If you are registering a motor vehicle in Illinois for the first time, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Get your vehicle inspected for emissions. Vehicle inspections must be performed at an inspection station or by an inspector that has been licensed by the Illinois Air Team (under the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency). Find out more about vehicle inspections in Illinois, or locate an inspection station near you. Once the vehicle passes inspection, you will be issued an inspection certification.
  2. Complete a vehicle title/registration form – form VSD -190. You can get the form by calling (217) 782-7132 or visiting your nearest Secretary of State VSD facility or by writing to:
    Winchester Warehouse
    3701 Winchester Road
    Springfield, Illinois 62707
    ATTN: Forms Distribution    
  3. Visit your Secretary of State VSD facility and bring the completed title/registration form with you, along with the inspection certification. In addition, you will need to provide proof of insurance, and the odometer reading, if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
  4. For vehicles that have been registered in another state, you must also bring the original, out-of-state title. If the title is unavailable, bring the registration document, along with proof of sales tax payment.
  5. A completed Form RUT-50 if you already reside in Illinois
  6. A completed Form RUT-25 (if you have purchased from an out of state dealer) or completed Form RUT-50 (purchase from another person) if you are a new resident.
  7. If a Temporary Registration Permit (TRP) has been issued that should be mentioned as well.
  8. For registering an out of state vehicle that has a lien, you will have to submit additional documents. Information regarding this can be found here.


Temporary Registration Permits are issued to new vehicle owners who have applied for registration but have not received the license plates as yet. These permits are available at Secretary of State Facilities, licensed vehicle dealers, remittance agents and currency exchanges. They are valid for 90 days.


When registering your vehicle at the Secretary of State facilities, you will be required to pay certain fees, typically as follows:
  1. The registration fee, which is $78.
  2. Title application fee which is $65.
There may be additional fees when you register, depending on your county. Contact the Secretary of State VSD facility for the specific requirements.


Owners of motor vehicles in Illinois are required to renew their vehicle registration annually, and can do so in person, online or by mail or telephone. See our Registration Renewal section for complete details.


Reviews of How to Register a Vehicle in Illinois

I bought a car in germany, stationed here active duty army. We plan on moving to illinois when i get out, trying to figure out if i will have to pay sales tax on our cars purchased here in germany from the dealer.

Looking to become a Licensed Motor Vehicle Tag agent in IL. Anyone have any ideas on how to find the forms to start the process?

I have a Minnesota instruction permit can I buy a car so that I could get my road test done and later on use it, I am alone in US and have no friends who could help me take to a drivers road test

I bought a car in Wisconsin that had most recently been titled in Michigan. To make matters worse my lienholder is in California.

My temporary tags just expired and I still haven't been able to register my car OR pay the taxes on it yet. I am being told that I must obtain the title, in my name or a copy of the title that is again, in my name. Wisconsin joined 38 other states in not issuing titles to owners who have liens, instead they send the title to the lienholder. It is near impossible to get a copy of a title which a corrected name within 30days.

I would have thought Illionois would accept a certificate of origin along with a bill of sale, like the website says. This is the most frustrating experience ever.

Under the heading "Initial Registration" and "If you are registering a vehicle in Illinois" for the first time" it says "get your vehicle inspected for emissions." Because of this I drove to the test center to get a smog test only to be told that I didn't need one because I was registering a California vehicle. The guy at the test center said he encountered this confusion all the time. Please make this more clear on your website. Frankly I found the whole process of registering a vehicle to be a frustrating experience. On your website you also mention the items of identification needed to register a car failing to mention that you had to bring the car title. I had to go home for my title and return the next day. Why doesn't the state of Illinois just have one website for their motor vehicle department? Test the website out with real people to see if the instructions are clear and make sense. Thanks

I so agree with Naperville. I used to live in Illinois about 12 years ago, and it seemed things were so much easier. I thought Ohio and Pennsylvania registration was wacko, and now that I'm back in Illinois, I think I should add it to the wacko list. There have been 2 different sites with auto registration information and they have some differences. This doesn't help at all. Also, I think there should be a link to a page Just For Registering a Car from Out of State. Would make it much easier to understand and we wouldn't have to "hunt" for the information that applies only to those cars.

I agree. I succeeded in getting mine registered, but I question the expiration date they gave me. I bought the car from a dealer in June, and had it registered in Iowa (where I lived) June through October. I moved to Illinois, and registered it here in October. The Illinois registration sticker they provided me expires in June of next year. I called the Public Inquiry Division at (217)-785-3000 and asked about the expiration date the following business day. The lady let me know that if had been purchased within 90 days it would be considered new and the registration should expire in June. If I'd owned it longer than 90 days, then it wouldn't have been new, and the registration should expire in October. Since I had had it more than 90 days, I thought that was good, and I could get a new sticker with an October expiration. But she couldn't create a work order to get it fixed, because the registration wouldn't be in the computer system until 2 weeks after the car had been registered here in Illinois. While, it's been 2 weeks, so I called back today and spoke with a different lady. She informed me differently. She said that if the car had been purchased in the past 6 months, the expiration date would be in the month that the car was purchased. So I've now heard two different answers for the same question from employees in the same department. Ugh! Trying to search the net for an answer on which lady was right. I really wish they had a page just for titling/registering vehicles from out of state. It feels unfair to have paid the fees for June through October in Iowa, and then be forced to re-pay the fee in Illinois for the same period of time. At least Iowa pro-rates it's fees so you don't have to pay for a whole year for a partial registration.

IL - it's 2014! We have this "thing" called "The Internet" Why on earth don't you have ALL your forms accessible online? NO ONE wants to go into one of your dirty, outdated, horribly run facilities (worst/lazy employees ever). It's almost as if you are TRYING to make it difficult for IL residents. In AZ you can do everything online AND they mail your plates to you! Why can't you do that? Efficiency is NOT something you are good at! Get with the program! This is the worst state - bunch of corrupt politicians and bullies running the state gov. SHAME ON YOU!!!