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If you have recently purchased a vehicle through a dealership or a private seller, you will need to apply for a car registration. All vehicles in your possession must be registered in your name to be driven legally in your state. You cannot typically apply for a new vehicle registration online or by mail. You must visit a DMV office in person to register a car. To make sure that you are fully prepared for the process, download our informative digital guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to register your vehicle with ease. You will also learn how to replace or renew your car registration, and how to change your name or address.

2. By Mail

Some states allow residents to register cars by mail. However, these applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as temporarily residing out of state or having purchased the vehicle out of state. To obtain your new car registration by mail, you will need to send your completed application and all necessary documents (such as proof of ID, a bill of sale, an insurance card, etc.) to your local DMV office. You will also need to send in a check or money order for the full payment amount. Due to mailing and processing times, delays are common with the mail-in application method. It may take several weeks for you to receive your new car registration.

3. In Person at a DMV Office

In most instances, you will be required to get your car registration in person at a local DMV office. You must submit a filled-out application, proof of your identity, evidence of the car purchase and proof of auto insurance coverage for the vehicle. Additionally, you need to provide payment for all applicable fees, such as registration fees, titling fees and state taxes. Because many car owners are not sure which forms are required or which fees must be paid, application delays are common at the DMV. Additionally, any mistakes on DMV forms will add to your potential wait time for receiving your new registration.


Car owners must obtain a vehicle registration in Alaska through the state Division of Motor Vehicles before operating their motor vehicles on state roads. The division issues DMV registration certificates through its various licensing offices. Applicants living in remote areas of the state without access to a DMV office by road within 50 miles can submit their request by mail.

Registering a car in AK is a process comprised of several steps that may vary to a certain degree depending on the vehicle type and the applicant’s circumstances. In standard situations, car owners will have to submit several types of documents and pay the applicable licensing fees. Note that, before the state DMV allows the applicant to register a car, truck, motorcycle or another type of vehicle, it must issue a certificate of title in the owner’s name.

Alaska Car Registration Requirements

To successfully obtain an Alaska car registration, vehicle owners will be required to meet certain requirements, which may vary depending on several factors. For instance, new state residents transferring a registered out-of-state car will not have to transfer title ownership before registering the vehicle. The standard car registration requirements are explored below:

  • You have successfully titled your motor vehicle, transferred an existing title or obtained the manufacturer’s certificate of origin.
  • You have obtained the mandatory auto insurance coverage.
  • You have collected the required application documents, supporting paperwork and fee payments.
  • You have had your vehicle identification number (VIN) verified, if you do not have an ownership document in your possession.

New state residents are required to get a new car registration in AK within 10 days of establishing state residency or getting employed within the state. On the other hand, existing residents who have purchased a new or a used vehicle must title and register it within 30 days of the date of purchase.

Note: Certain types of vehicles, such as manufactured homes and house trailers, are exempted from the state registration requirements. These vehicles only require a title.

Car Insurance Requirements for Registering a Car in Alaska

Before learning how to register a car in Alaska, vehicle owners must comply with the state’s mandatory insurance statutes. According to state law, auto registration applicants must have the minimum insurance coverages for both property damages and bodily injuries and/or death in effect. The minimum coverage amounts must include $25,000 for property damages, $50,000 for the injuries or death of one individual and $100,000 for the injuries and/or death of all individuals.

Note: You must carry proof of insurance coverage at all times when operating a motor vehicle. Failure to abide by the state insurance laws will lead to certain fees and penalties.

Vehicle Inspection/Smog Inspection/VIN Inspection Requirements in Alaska

In most cases, when registering a vehicle in Alaska, car owners are not required to submit it to inspections. However, the state DMV may enforce certain types of car inspections under specific circumstances. For example, vehicle owners who cannot provide an ownership document, such as a title or a manufacturer’s certificate of origin, may be required to have their vehicle verified. In such cases, vehicle registration applicants will have to submit the vehicle to an authorized inspector who will physically examine the car and its identification number. Then, the inspector will fill out the “Verification of Vehicle (Form 811)” document.

Registering a Vehicle in Alaska

When completing the process to get a vehicle registration in Alaska, you will be required to submit the necessary paperwork and pay for the applicable fees at a DMV office within the state. The steps for registering your vehicle may vary depending on whether you are licensing a new or a used vehicle or if you have brought an out-of-state car to be operated in AK. If you are a nonresident, you also have the option of legally operating your vehicle with an out-of-state registration document for 60 days.

How to Register a New Car in Alaska

If you would like to learn how to register a vehicle in Alaska purchased from a dealer, note that the car dealer is required to apply for a title with the state DMV on your behalf. Dealerships must submit the request for a title and a DMV registration within 30 days of the vehicle purchase date. If the vehicle in question is newer than 10 model years, you must also certify its odometer reading.

When obtaining a motor vehicle through a dealership, you will be required to fill out the application for a new vehicle registration. The dealership will then issue you 60-day temporary tags, which you can utilize to legally operate the vehicle until you receive your title, registration and license plates. Note that the state DMV will mail your registration documents to the dealer, who will then have to forward them to you.

Note: If you have obtained a loan for the vehicle purchase, the registration paperwork will be redirected to the lienholder.

Registering a Used Car in Alaska

If you are getting a vehicle registration in Alaska for a motor vehicle purchased from a private entity, you will be responsible for submitting the necessary paperwork and fee payments yourself. To successfully apply for a vehicle registration in such cases, you will be required to submit the following items through a nearby DMV site:

  • A filled out Vehicle Transaction Application (Form 812). The title and registration form must be signed by the vehicle owner and include an odometer reading for newer-model vehicles.
  • The vehicle ownership document, such as the car title properly reassigned or the manufacturer’s certificate of origin.
  • The vehicle registration, if you have purchased a vehicle with valid plates.
  • A lien release form, if applicable.
  • The vehicle license plates, if transferring plates from another vehicle.
  • A power of attorney form, if another entity is applying on your behalf.
  • An official identification document, such as a state-issued driving license.
  • The applicable fee payments.

The state DMV will process your AK vehicle registration application once it confirms that you have submitted the full set of required documents. In order to expedite the application process, you can also schedule your visit via the DMV online services section, available through its official portal. If you live in a remote area of the state, you may be able to send the required paperwork by mail to a specific DMV branch.

Note: You will then be required to complete the vehicle registration renewal on a two-year basis. On the other hand, certain vehicles, such as trailers and older-model vehicles, may be eligible for a permanent registration.

How to Register a Car in Alaska as a New Resident

If you are wondering what you need to register a car in Alaska as a new state resident, note that you may not be required to meet the full set of requirements as outlined in the previous sections. To get your vehicle registration after moving to the state, you will be required to visit a DMV office and submit your out-of-state vehicle documents, fill out the 812 application form and pay the applicable licensing fees. If your car title is in the possession of a lienholder, you will need a photocopy of the title certificate, and you will only receive a car registration.

Vehicle Registration for Military Members in Alaska

You are not required to register your car in Alaska if you are a military service member stationed in Alaska on a temporary basis. In such situations, you can retain the validity of your out-of-state registration for the duration of your stay. However, you still have the option of getting a DMV registration, should you choose to do so. Note that military members may not be required to pay the vehicle registration tax, but they will be required to furnish additional documents proving their military service.

Note: If you are a state resident serving in the military outside of Alaska, you can continue renewing your registration documents by mail.

Temporary DMV Registration in Alaska

The state DMV may also issue a temporary car registration in Alaska for certain specific purposes. For instance, vehicle owners can apply for a temporary registration document if they need to briefly operate their vehicle to prepare for their upcoming titling and registration procedures. The division will also issue a one-time trip permit to applicants who must drive their vehicles to a VIN inspection station. To obtain this temporary registration paperwork, vehicle owners must contact a nearby DMV office.

Alaska License Plates

When registering a vehicle in Alaska, you will be required to pay for one or two license plates, depending on the type of vehicle you own. If you choose to obtain standard license plates, you will most likely receive them after paying your registration fees. However, if you are getting a DMV registration with certain types of personalized and/or specialized plates, you will be required to submit additional paperwork, and you will receive your tags by mail.

If you own a vehicle with a different AK car registration, you may be able to transfer that car’s license plates to your newly-titled and registered motor vehicle. However, this option is not available for standard license plates. If you are transferring your license plates, you will need to prove that you own both vehicles and pay a minor transfer fee.

Alaska Car Registration Fees

The state DMV will register a vehicle in Alaska only after confirming payment for the applicable licensing fees. The car registration fees may vary depending on the applicant’s circumstances, the type of vehicle he or she is registering and the type of chosen plate. The total AK car registration cost may also be comprised of the following smaller fees, since applicants most often complete both the titling and the registration procedures simultaneously:

  • $30 standard plate fee
  • $10 in-person transaction fee
  • $15 title fee
  • $15 lien recording fee
  • $5 plate transfer fee

To get an exact estimate of your due vehicle registration fees, contact a nearby DMV office. Note that other costs may also apply in addition to those outlined above. Certain types of plates will include an additional renewal fee as well.

Note: Senior motorists who are older than 64 years of age may be exempted from paying the DMV registration fees if their vehicle meets the applicable criteria.

Last updated on Wednesday, November 28 2018.

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