Frequently Asked Questions

Are there times I won’t be allowed to renew registration?
Some US states prohibit car registration renewal for certain periods of the year. In Pennsylvania, car registrations expire year round, and there is no restriction on the time of year for car registration renewal. Car registration can be renewed up to one month in advance in Pennsylvania. To renew vehicle registration, you may go online so long as you do not have any outstanding vehicle-related fees.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

Can somebody else renew my registration for me?
No, Pennsylvania has a strict policy about this. Only the owner whose name is on the car title can renew car registration in person. Fortunately, the options for vehicle registration renewal by mail and online make this easier for the owner to. From the comfort of your own home, renewing car registration only takes a little bit of your time. Once you do renew registration, you will receive a new certificate within 10 days time.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

Do boats need to be registered?
In Pennsylvania, any boat with a motor must be registered with the state. Sailboats, row boats and non motorized boats may be used in public waterways without boat registration.

To register a boat in PA, fill out the Application for a PA Boat Registration/Title Form. Send the necessary documentation and check or money order to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Within four weeks time, you will receive the boat title, registration and decals to be affixed to the vessel.

For more information: How to Register Vehicles in Pennsylvania

Do I need to file a police report if my registration was lost or stolen?
Yes, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation requires that you file a police report for a lost or stolen car registration license plates. You must visit the state police or local law enforcement office to report your stolen or lost car registration. If you have your registration card, bring it with you to the police station along with your driver s license to verify your identity as the owner of the vehicle.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

Do I need to return my license plate if I move out of the state?
When moving out of Pennsylvania, vehicle owners do not need to return their PA license plates to PennDOT. Although it is not required, the DOT does still encourage it to prevent fraudulent use of your license plate.

If you would like to return your PA tags, mail them to:

PennDOT
Return Tag Unit


P.O. Box 68597


Harrisburg, PA 17106-8597

For more information: How to Register Vehicles in Pennsylvania

Do I need to turn in my damaged registration?
If your registration is damaged, apply for a car registration replacement. To apply, fill out an Application for Duplicate Registration Card, Replacement of Registration Plate, Renewal Sticker or Weight Class Sticker of Transfer of Registration and submit it along with your fees to the PA DOT. Contact the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to find out if you should enclose your damaged registration in your application to replace car registration.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

Does a motorized scooter need to be registered?
The majority of motorized scooters are considered unsafe for driving in major Pennsylvania roadways. When the speeds cannot exceed 35-45 mph, a motorized scooter does not need to be titled or registered. Motorized scooters with 50 CCs are required to have PA registration and title though. The process to get scooter registration is the same for a vehicle.

For more information: How to Register Vehicles in Pennsylvania

Does my vehicle qualify for a smog inspection?
Not every Pennsylvania county requires emissions inspections, yet, there are a large number that do. All PA drivers need to know if their counties do in fact require vehicle emissions testing to get car registration.

If you live in the Philadelphia (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia counties) or Pittsburgh (Allegheny, Beaver, Washington, Westmoreland counties) regions, for instance, yes, your vehicle qualifies for a smog inspection. Other major regions are South Central (Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northamption, York counties) and Northern (Blair, Cambria, Centre, Erie, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer counties) regions.

For more information: How to Register Vehicles in Pennsylvania

How can I renew my vehicle registration?
To renew car registration in PA, drivers have three options: online, by mail or in person.

The renew car registration online option is the most popular as it is the most convenient. By logging onto PennDot, you simply need to provide proof of your identity and have a major debit or credit card to pay the registration renewal fees. The by mail option requires submitting a Registration Renewal Form and mailing it to:

Department of Transportation

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Harrisburg, PA 17104-2516

You will receive renewed registration within 10 days.

Choosing to renew car registration in person is typically reserved for drivers who are requested to do so. If the PA DOT sends a car registration renewal notice that stipulates an in-person car registration renewal, bring the renewal notice and a check or money order with you.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

How can I transfer my registration to another state?
To transfer an out of state car registration to Pennsylvania is simple, yet the owner of the vehicle must be present at the time. The owner is considered the individual(s) whose name(s) is written on the car title. In addition, Pennsylvania requires a PA drivers license to register a car out of state. To do so, follow the instructions below:

  • Make an appointment at a Department of Transportation office.
  • Bring the car title
  • Show a Pennsylvania driver s license
  • Provide the valid out-of-state car registration
  • Show proof of vehicle emissions inspection and safety inspections

At that time, you will be provided with the necessary forms, surrender the non resident car registration and be responsible for paying the PA car registration fees. PennDOT accepts personal checks or money orders.

For more information: How to Register Vehicles in Pennsylvania

How do I apply for a disabled person parking placard or plates?
Disability parking placards and license plates are available for drivers and veterans in Pennsylvania.

To get a disabled parking placard, mail one of the two forms below to the following address:

PennDOT

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

PO Box 68268

Harrisburg, PA 17106

  1. Person with a Disability Parking Placard Application Form MV-145A
  2. Application for Disabled Veteran, Severely Disabled Veteran Registration Plate or Severely Disabled Veteran Motorcycle Plate Decal Form-145V

Notarize the application before mailing.

To apply for a disability license plate, mail a notarized Person with Disability or Hearing Impaired Registration Plate or a Person with Disability Motorcycle Plate Form MV-145 to:

PennDOT

Bureae of Motor Vehicles

1101 South Front Street

Harrisburg, PA 17104

For more information: How to Register Vehicles in Pennsylvania

How do I file a police report if my car registration was stolen?
If you have a stolen car registration, you must report it to the Pennsylvania state police or to your local law enforcement office. To file a police report, visit your local law enforcement office. You are only required to file a police report in the case stolen license plates. If you have your registration card, bring it with you to the police station along with your driver s license to verify your identity as the owner of the vehicle.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

How do I obtain a duplicate car registration?
To get a duplicate car registration in the state of Pennsylvania, submit an Application for Duplicate Registration Card, Replacement of Registration Plate, Renewal Sticker or Weight Class Sticker of Transfer of Registration to the Department of Transportation. On the application, request to replace your damaged, stolen, or lost car registration. You can request any of the following:

  • Registration Card
  • Registration Plate
  • Renewal Sticker
  • Weight Class Sticker

Send your completed and signed application to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles along with the required fees.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

How do I obtain car registration?
If you recently purchased a new or used vehicle, you are responsible for registering car credentials with the Department of Transportation. When buying a new vehicle from a dealership, the dealer handles the registration process and submits the necessary paperwork on your behalf. When registering a used car in Pennsylvania, follow the steps below:

  1. Get car insurance and be able to show proof of auto coverage to DOT.
  2. Bring the transferred car title.
  3. Complete and sign Application for Certificate of Title Form MV-1 (provided on site).
  4. Also fill out Vehicle Sales and Use Tax Return/Application for Registration Form 4ST (provided on site).

For more information: How to Register Vehicles in Pennsylvania

If I do not renew on time, will there be an additional fee?
Yes, in addition to the county and state fees, you will be responsible for paying a late car registration renewal fee. This fee varies among counties, therefore, you are encouraged to contact your local drivers licensing office to learn about car registration renewal late fees.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

Is there a different process I must follow if I lost personalized plates?
Yes, there is a different process to apply for personalized license plates replacement in the state of Pennsylvania. Your stolen or lost car registration personalized license plate may not be replaced with a duplicate plate by the PA DOT. You must apply for a personalized plate with a new combination of letters and numbers using an Application for Personalized Amateur Radio Operator or Press Photographer Registration Plates. A standard license plate will be issued to you in the interim time until your new personalized plate is approved and sent out.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

Should I carry the registration on me or in the car?
Carrying your car registration on your person is unnecessary. The most important facet of your vehicle registration is that it shows proof that you as the vehicle owner have paid the necessary taxes and fees to the state. This is in addition to receiving necessary safety inspections and/or emissions inspections that guarantee your vehicle is safe for driving on public roadways. If pulled over by law enforcement, he or she will ask to see your DMV car registration in order to validate your driving. Therefore, be sure to keep your vehicle registration in your automobile at all times, or else you face the risk of receiving a penalty fine.

For more information: How to Register Vehicles in Pennsylvania

What are the most common reasons why I would need to replace my registration?
Some of the most common reasons why you might need to replace car registration in the state of Pennsylvania include the below scenarios:

  • Lost
  • Stolen
  • Defaced
  • Never Received

On your application you must certify the reason you require a car registration replacement. If you have never receive your original car registration, then you will have to fill out an Application for Personalized Amateur Radio Operator or Press Photographer Registration Plates and have it notarized.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

What are the required fees for my vehicle registration?
Registering cars in Pennsylvania is a small expense for having the privilege to drive on the public roadways. Car registration fees vary though among counties and municipalities. In addition to the standard license plate issuance fee of $76, there will be a state tax and county tax owed upon registering.

A disabled license placard is free of charge in Pennsylvania.

For more information: How to Register Vehicles in Pennsylvania

What are the required fees to get replacement registration?
The required fees to replace car registration are according to which aspect of car registration you require. The following is a list of fees associated with obtaining a duplicate car registration:

  • Registration Card- $6
  • Registration Plate- $11
  • Replacement Renewal Sticker- $6

There is no fee for a replacement weight class sticker. Fees subject to change.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

What are the required fees to renew my registration?
Car registration renewal fees range from $9 to $565.50 depending on which county you live in and the type of vehicle you have registered. In Pennsylvania, car registration replacement fees are as follows:

  • Duplicate registration at the time of initial registration or transfer or replacement of registration plates: $2
  • Registration plate replacement: $11
  • Replacement of renewal sticker: $6

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

What documents do I need to present to get a replacement car registration?
To replace car registration documentation, provide a completed, signed, copy of Application for Duplicate Registration Card, Replacement of Registration Plate, Renewal Sticker or Weight Class Sticker of Transfer of Registration. On the application you must certify the reason for your request for a duplicate car registration. You may apply for one if your original has been lost, stolen, defaced, or if you never received one to begin with. Submit your documentation to the PA DOT.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

What documents do I need to present to get new registration?
When getting car registration for the first time, vehicle owners must have the following documents in hand:

With these documents, you may the visit a Department of Transportation office.

For more information: How to Register Vehicles in Pennsylvania

What documents do I need to present to renew my car registration?
The only time documents are required to renew car registration is when visiting a Department of Transportation office. If you receive a notice to renew car registration in person, then bring the following items with you:

  • The renewal notice
  • Your PA driver s license

Check or money order

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

What should I do if I have not received my registration tags or stickers?
PennDOT is committed to providing fast and efficient service. Yet if you find yourself waiting longer than 10 days for a renewed auto registration certificate, complete an Application for Duplicate Registration Card, Replacement of Registration Plate, Renewal Sticker or Weight Class Sticker of Transfer of Registertation Form MV-44.

For further assistance, contact the PennDOT customer service line 717-787-2838.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

When does my car registration expire?
Yes, the PA DOT sends renewal notices out in the mail. For that reason, it is recommended to always process a car registration change of address after setting up a new residence or new business. The Department of Transportation is restricted to sending mail to specific addresses on file. In the event that you do not receive an auto registration renewal notice, you are still responsible for renewing on time.

PA car registrations expire once a year, and are classified one of two ways:

  1. Expiring on or before June 30
  2. Expiring July 2015 or later

Your renewed car registration documentation and decal will arrive within seven to 10 business days of submitting an auto registration renewal request.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

Where can I find a local tax county collector office?
To title and register your vehicle in the state of Pennsylvania, you will have to have paid taxes on the purchase price. The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is the agency that collects state taxes. There are regional offices located throughout the state. Office hours are 8:20 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visit their website for more information.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

Will I need to fill out an application to replace my car registration?
Yes, you will need to fill out an application to replace car registration. The Application for Duplicate Registration Card, Replacement of Registration Plate, Renewal Sticker or Weight Class Sticker of Transfer of Registration may be downloaded from the PA DOT website. On the application, certify the reason for your request for a duplicate car registration. You may mail your application and fee(s) to:

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

1101 S. Front Street

Harrisburg, PA 17104

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

Will I receive a renewal registration notice in the mail?
Yes, the PA DOT sends renewal notices out in the mail. For that reason, it is recommended to always process a car registration change of address after setting up a new residence or new business. The Department of Transportation is restricted to sending mail to specific addresses on file.

In the event that you do not receive an auto registration renewal notice, you are still responsible for knowing the expiration date and renewing your license plates and getting new certification and decals.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania

Will my registration expire on my birthday or birth month?
No, car registration certification does not expire on a birthday or birth month in Pennsylvania. Instead, car registration expires one year from the date of issuance. To learn more about fees, you will review them in one of two categories depending on your car registration expiration date:

  1. Expiring on or before June 30
  2. Expiring July 2015 or later

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in Pennsylvania