Frequently Asked Questions

Are there times I won’t be allowed to renew registration?
Yes. There are a few instances in which a driver will not be allowed to renew car registration in Washington. They are as follows:

  • You have unpaid tickets on your driving record.
  • You have unpaid late fees.
  • You have not passed an emissions test, if required by your WA county

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

Can somebody else renew my registration for me?
In Washington, someone else can apply for car registration renewal on your behalf. The designated party must have the information needed to complete the car registration renewal process, such as your full name, license plate number, driver’s license number and car registration certification. He or she must have the same last name and live in the same address as the owner of the vehicle does. Another option is to provide written consent to your designated party.

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

Do boats need to be registered?
The WA Department of Licensing requires that you register and title your boat within 60 days of moving to the state of Washington or within 15 days of the boat purchase, if you are already a resident.

For information: How to Register a Boat or Water Craft in Washington

Do I need to file a police report if my registration was lost or stolen?
No. The Washington Department of Licensing does not require drivers to report a lost or stolen car registration. This is because the DOL will not put a flag on your record until fraudulent activity is actually detected. Only after they see fraudulent activity can a cancellation of credentials be requested.

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

Do I need to return my license plate if I move out of the state?
Movers are not always required to return license plates to the state DOL. This is only necessary if your plates fell into one of the following categories:

  • Personalized
  • Disabled parking
  • Commercial vehicle
  • Baseball stadium
  • Collector
  • Horseless carriage
  • Gold Star
  • Pearl Harbor Survivor
  • Medal of Honor
  • Purple Heart
  • Disabled American Veteran
  • Amateur Radio Operator (HAM)

If you did not own one of the above plates, you can choose to take them to a local licensing office, mail them in, remove/invalidate the month and year tabs and dispose of the plates, or remove/invalidate the month and year tabs and keep them.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Washington

Do I need to turn in my damaged registration?
If your vehicle registration was not lost, stolen or destroyed but simply damaged, then the Department of Licensing does recommend that you turn in the certificate. The duplicate car registration will render the previous certificate invalid, but it should be disposed of properly to avoid the theft of personal

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

Does a motorized scooter need to be registered?
The WA DOL considers motorized scooters to be mopeds, and mopeds must be registered in the state of Washington within 15 days of their purchase, if bought from a private seller. During the vehicle registration process, the buyer must provide the signed-over car title and pay for the registration fees and taxes. On the other hand, if you have purchased a new scooter from a dealership, the dealer will take care of titling and registration for you.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Washington

Does my vehicle qualify for a smog inspection?
In order to register car documentation in the state of Washington, vehicle owners are required to pass a smog inspection. They have 30 days to accomplish both of these tasks once they move to Washington, and every two years after car registration, they will be required to pass another emissions test. Fortunately, the renewal notice that you receive in the mail will tell whether or not an inspection is necessary.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Washington

How can I renew my vehicle registration?
Washington residents have three options for renewing car registration. They can do so online, by mail or in person.

Online

As long as you have completed an emissions test, have your current address on file with the DOL and your current registration has not been expired for 12 months or more, you can renew online. To do so, simply log on to the Department of Licensing website and provide the following information:

  • Your license plate number
  • Your last name or the last four digits of your Social Security Number.
  • Your drivers license number, along with the number of other owners of the vehicle.
  • Credit card information for the fee.

Once that is complete, simply decide how you would like to receive your renewed registration stickers and certificate: by mail or in person for pickup.

In Person

To renew car registration in person, visit your local Department of Licensing office with the following:

  • Proof of emissions testing
  • Proof of ID
  • Current WA car registration or renewal notice
  • Proof of Washington residence
  • Payment for the renewal fee (which varies based on weight and type of vehicle, county and more)

When renewing in person, the new certificate and plate stickers will be issued before you leave.

By Mail

Drivers can renew by mail if they received a Washington car registration renewal notice. If you did, verify the accuracy of the information on the notice, enclose payment for the renewal fee (check or money order), provide proof of passing an emissions test (if necessary), and mail all of the above to the DOL address found on the notice.

Your new registration certificate and plate stickers will arrive within five business days.

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

How can I transfer my registration to another state?
To transfer car registration in Washington, you must:

  1. Complete a Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application form, signed by all owners.
  2. Provide the title of your out-of-state car.
    • If you have a lien on the car, you will have to request a copy of the title from the lienholder.
  3. Give an odometer disclosure statement, if your car is up to 10 years old.
  4. Provide smog inspection paperwork, if necessary.
  5. Give a bill of sale, if you purchased the vehicle in the last 90 days.
  6. Pay for the registration fees.
    • Fees vary based on location, weight of the vehicle and license plates.

This process can be completed at a vehicle licensing office, a Quick Title office or by mail, if you send the above documents to:

Refunds and Title Services Department of Licensing P.O. Box 9909 Olympia, WA 98507

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Washington

How do I apply for a disabled person parking placard or plates?
If during the process of getting car registration in Washington you decide to apply for disabled person placard or plates, you must:

  1. Print out and complete the Disabled Parking Application for Individuals form.
    • Make sure to have a licensed medical professional fill out the physician s section.
  2. Verify that you are the registered vehicle owner of the car for which you are requesting placards, plates or tabs.
  3. Mail the filled out application with the necessary fees to the Department of Licensing.

For more information: Information for Disabled Drivers in Washington

How do I file a police report if my car registration was stolen?
The state of Washington does not require drivers to file a police a report in the event of a stolen car registration. Should you choose to do so anyway, the process is simple. Go to a local police station and describe the nature of your situation. An officer will provide you with the necessary forms to fill out. Once they are completed, it becomes a game of waiting for the car registration to turn up.

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

How do I obtain a duplicate car registration?
To replace a stolen, damaged or lost car registration in Washington, follow the simple steps outlined below:

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

How do I obtain car registration?
The process to register car credentials can be approached in two ways: by mail or in person. To register in person, you must follow the steps below:

  1. Visit a vehicle licensing location.
  2. Complete a Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application form.
    • You must sign in front of a representative.
  3. Provide an active WA drivers license.
  4. Give your out-of-state car title, if you just moved to Washington.
  5. Provide proof of emissions testing, if applicable.
  6. Fill out a bill of sale, if the car was purchased in the last 90 days.
  7. Give an odometer disclosure statement, if the car is less than 10 years old.
  8. Pay the registration fees.
    • Fees vary based on weight of the vehicle, location within the state and if you have specialized plates.

As mentioned before, drivers can also mail in their application to a local licensing office.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Washington

If I do not renew on time, will there be an additional fee?
The Washington Department of Licensing is more lenient than the DMV offices of other states. Whereas other departments enforce a fine or late fee for not renewing car registration by the deadline, the WA DOL does not charge any late fees for not renewing on time. However, driving with an expired registration can still result in a ticket.

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

Is there a different process I must follow if I lost personalized plates?
The process to replace personalized license plates varies slightly from the steps necessary to get new standard plates. For custom plates, the applicant must visit a local licensing office and provide:

o A notarized letter to the DOL, which states the loss, theft of destruction of the plates, is also acceptable.

The main difference between standard and customized plate replacement is that an applicant for a new standard plate does not need to fill out the License Plate Replacement Application.

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

Should I carry the registration on me or in the car?
Regardless of the state you live in, it is highly recommended that drivers keep their auto registration documents in the vehicle at all times. This ensures that this vital document is always at arm s reach when it is required.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Washington

What are the most common reasons why I would need to replace my registration?
There are three typical reasons why one would need to replace car registration in Washington. They include:

  • If their car registration has been lost.
  • If their registration was stolen.
  • If their registration is damaged/destroyed.

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

What are the required fees for my vehicle registration?
The Washington Department of Licensing attaches fees to the WA car registration process. These fees vary based on numerous factors, including how much the car weighs, in what part of the state you live and whether or not you have specialized license plates.

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Washington

What are the required fees to get replacement registration?
While the fees may vary for obtaining a new car registration certificate, applicants seeking to replace car registration documents must pay a standard rate of $10.

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

What are the required fees to renew my registration?
Fees for renewing car registration in Washington vary based on a number of factors, including:

  • The weight of the vehicle.
  • The make, model and year of the car.
  • The county where it is registered (for additional taxes).

Fortunately, the renewal notice that you receive in the mail will detail the amount you owe.

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

What documents do I need to present to get a replacement car registration?
Drivers are only required to bring the following documents when replacing car registration in WA:

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

What documents do I need to present to get new registration?
In order to get car registration in WA, a vehicle owner must provide the following documentation, based on their specific situation:

  • A completed Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application form
  • A current WA drivers license
  • An out-of-state title, if you moved to Washington
  • Proof of emissions testing, if applicable
  • A bill of sale, if the car was bought in the last 90 days
  • An odometer disclosure statement, if the car is under 10

For more information: How to Register a Vehicle in Washington

What documents do I need to present to renew my car registration?
When going in person to renew vehicle registration in Washington, drivers must provide all of the following documents:

  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of WA residency
  • Your current auto registration certificate or a renewal notice
  • Proof of emissions testing, if necessary

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

What should I do if I have not received my registration tags or stickers?
If you renew expired car registration in Washington in person at a local licensing office, the tabs should be available to pick up immediately. However, if you have ordered them by mail and have not received the tags after 15 days, you must contact the specific office where you ordered them. If it has been between 15 and 90 days, applicants may have the option to just apply for car registration replacement tabs.

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

When does my car registration expire?
It can be difficult to remember exactly when your vehicle registration expires. Fortunately, the WA Department of Licensing resolves this problem by sending drivers a car registration renewal notice. Along with the necessary fees that must be paid, recipients will also see the date of expiration in the letter.

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

Where can I find a local tax county collector office?
The Department of Licensing has spread its offices all over the state of Washington. These locations are one-stop shops for obtaining a wide variety of documents related to driving, including car registration replacements. Fortunately, our Licensing Locations page helps you find the closest office as quickly as possible.

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

Will I need to fill out an application to replace my car registration?
Yes. Drivers who are planning to replace car registration documentation must fill out an Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest/Gross Weight License form. This form can be submitted to a local licensing office in person or by mail, whichever is more convenient to the applicant.

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

Will I receive a renewal registration notice in the mail?
Yes, drivers who must renew car registration should receive a renewal notice in the mail when it comes time to get new tabs. However, even if you do not receive a notice in the mail, all drivers are still required to go through the renewal process.

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

Will my registration expire on my birthday or birth month?
To find out when you need to perform car registration renewal in Washington, check the date lasted on the renewal notice that you receive in the mail. It will list the expiration of your license, as well as the price that you must pay.

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