Delaware law requires that motor vehicle owners must register their vehicle with the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles 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 Delaware residents who have registered their vehicle in another state must register their vehicle in Delaware. The initial vehicle registration must be done in person, and registration renewals must be done annually, either in person or by mail. Initial registration must be done within 30 days, if you are a new resident within 60 days.
If you are registering a motor vehicle in Delaware for the first time, you must complete the following steps:
- 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 Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Find out more about vehicle inspections in Delaware, or locate an inspection station near you. Once the vehicle passes inspection, you will be issued an inspection certification.
- Complete a vehicle title/registration form, available at the DMV office.
- Visit your local DMV office, 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.
- 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.
If you need temporary registration (for taking a new vehicle for inspection or for any other reason), you can apply at your local DMV office. You will need to carry proof of insurance, residency and ownership. The fee is $10. This registration is valid for 30 days.
When registering your vehicle at the local DMV office, you will be required to pay certain fees, typically as follows:
- The registration fee, which varies depending on the manufacturer's model year or the vehicle's total weight. Generally, the registration fee will be between $40.00 and $50.00. If you are registering your vehicle for a year, the fee is $40, for two years it is $80. New vehicles being titled for the first time can be registered for up to 5 years by paying $200.This option is only applicable to certain models of vehicles. You can use the state's fee calculator to calculate the fees for registration and titling.
- Title application fee. Depending on the county, the title application fee is usually $35 with lien or $25 without a lien.
- If you are a new resident of Delaware and have bought a vehicle within 90 days of your move, you may be eligible for credit on sales tax or transfer tax based on what you paid in your old state.
There may be additional fees when you register, depending on your county. Contact the local DMV office for the specific requirements.
RENEWING YOUR VEHICLE REGISTRATION
Owners of motor vehicles in Delaware are required to renew their vehicle registration annually, and can do so in person or by mail. See our Registration Renewal section for complete details.
- If you are a non-resident active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces or a non-resident full-time student attending a Delaware college or university, you are not required to title or register your vehicle.
- The process for registering a motorcycle is generally the same as a car registration; however, there are different procedures for boat registration and custom car registration.
- Auto Insurance is needed to legally operate all vehicles in Delaware.
- See also Renewing Your Vehicle Registration.
- See also Title Transfers and Car Insurance.