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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.


Obtaining a vehicle registration in Georgia is a procedure that can be completed through the Department of Revenue (DOR). In order to obtain a DMV registration, car owners will be required to submit the necessary paperwork and pay for the applicable fees through a nearby county tag office. Motorists will also have to apply for a new car title during the same office visit, provided their motor vehicle is not exempted from the state’s titling laws.

To complete the process of registering a car in GA, applicants will be required to follow several steps, which may vary to a certain degree depending on factors such as their residency status and the type of vehicle they own. Consequently, the applicable requirements may also slightly vary. Note that certain vehicles are exempted from the car registration and/or title requirements. Learn more about the registration procedure by reading the following sections.

Georgia Car Registration Requirements

In order to successfully obtain a Georgia car registration, vehicle owners will be required to meet the full set of applicable requirements. While the state car registration requirements may vary depending on certain factors, the following list outlines the most common prerequisites:

  • You have a valid Georgia drivers license or a photo ID card.
  • You have obtained the mandatory insurance coverage.
  • You have the corresponding vehicle ownership document, such as its original title or a manufacturer’s certificate of origin.
  • You have submitted your vehicle to an emissions inspection, if required to do so.

State law requires you to apply for a new car registration within seven days of obtaining a used motor vehicle, and within 30 days of purchasing a new vehicle from a dealership. If you are a new resident applying for a first GA auto registration, you will be required to submit your request within 30 days of establishing state residency.

Car Insurance Requirements for Registering a Car in Georgia

Georgia vehicle registration applicants must ensure that they have obtained the mandatory liability insurance coverage before submitting their request with the state DOR. After obtaining the minimum policy amounts prescribed by law, the insurance company will file proof of insurance directly to the state DOR. In the event the insurer does not complete this requirement, applicants for a new vehicle registration can submit the insurance binder or an insurance card when submitting their applications.

Vehicle owners must maintain a continuous insurance coverage for the duration of their GA car registration. Failure to do so will lead to certain consequences, such as monetary fines and the suspension of the owner’s driving license and/or car registration. Also, proof of insurance must be carried in the motor vehicle at all times.

Vehicle Inspection/Smog Inspection/VIN Inspection Requirements in Georgia

When applying for a vehicle registration in Georgia, you may be required to submit your vehicle to certain inspection procedures, depending on your circumstances. For example, before issuing a DOR registration in certain counties, the department may require you to submit your vehicle to an emissions test.

On the other hand, it is important to note that your motor vehicle will be exempted from the emissions testing prerequisite if it is within its first three model years or older than 24 model years. Vehicles weighing more than 8,500 will also be exempted from the emissions examination requirements. Auto registration applicants will obtain the vehicle emission inspection report (VIR) once they deliver their motor vehicle to an authorized inspection station.

Registering a Vehicle in Georgia

To complete the process of registering a vehicle in Georgia, car owners will be required to submit the applicable paperwork and pay the licensing fees through their county tag office. Note that both existing residents and new state residents will be able to get vehicle registration documents in person. However, application steps may vary slightly depending on factors such as whether the vehicle is exempted from the state titling requirements.

How to Register a New Car in Georgia

If you are wondering how to register a car in Georgia after purchasing a new vehicle from a state dealership, note that dealers are authorized to issue you temporary registration permits and to apply for a title on your behalf. However, you will still be required to pay the car registration fees and obtain a new registration certificate yourself. After purchasing a vehicle from a dealership, you will be required to follow these steps in most cases:

  1. Obtain the temporary tags offered to you by the dealership. Overall, these temporary operating permits issued by state dealers will be valid for 30 consecutive days.
  2. Visit a nearby county tag office to submit your GA vehicle registration request.
  3. Surrender your dealer-issued tag and present a valid document proving your identity.
  4. Pay the applicable licensing fees.

Note: If the dealership fails to apply for a vehicle title in your name on time, you can apply for a 30-day extension of your temporary tag with the “Application to Extend the Registration Period of a Motor Vehicle Purchased from a Georgia Motor Vehicle Dealer” form.

Registering a Used Car in Georgia

To successfully get your vehicle registration in Georgia for a used motor vehicle, you will be required to complete additional application steps, which may vary depending on whether or not a title for your vehicle is required. The standard process of registering a car will include the following steps:

  1. Visit a nearby county tag site.
  2. Fill out the “Motor Vehicle Title/Tag Application” form.
  3. Submit proof of ownership, such as:
  • The original title properly reassigned.
  • A bill of sale for vehicles older than 1986.
  • A manufacturer’s certificate of origin.
  • An out-of-state vehicle document.
  1. Furnish proof of insurance.
  2. Present evidence of a passed emissions test, if required to do so.
  3. Pay the applicable taxes and licensing fees.

Once the state DOR processes your GA vehicle registration application, it will manufacture new vehicle documents in your name. If you are unable to visit your county tag office for a legitimate reason, you may also be allowed to submit your request by mail.

Note: After these credentials have been issued, you will be required to complete the vehicle registration renewal procedure on a yearly basis.

How to Register a Car in Georgia as a New Resident

If you are registering your car in Georgia as a new state resident, you will be required to follow very similar steps as those outlined in previous sections. In general, before proceeding with the auto registration process, you will have to apply for a state-issued driving license or ID card. After obtaining your official identification proof, you can visit a county’s tag office to submit the following items:

  • A state-issued official identification proof
  • A filled out application form
  • Your out-of-state title or car registration
  • A completed “Statement of Title Held by Lienholder, Security Interest Holder, or Leasing Company” form, if your title is in the possession of a lending or leasing institution
  • Proof of vehicle insurance
  • An emissions inspection report, if applicable
  • Payment for the taxes and applicable fees

You will receive your new car registration in GA once the state DOR processes your request and converts your out-of-state documents.

Vehicle Registration for Military Members in Georgia

Military personnel do not need a Georgia vehicle registration to legally operate their vehicles while stationed within the state. Overall, active duty service member can continue using a valid out-of-state car registration for the duration of their service. On the other hand, these drivers can still apply for a new auto registration in GA through the tag office if they wish to do so. This group of applicants will be required to follow the standard application steps, as outlined in previous sections.

Temporary DMV Registration in Georgia

The state DOR will issue a Georgia temporary registration only for specific purposes. For example, you can apply for a temporary operating permit if you need to operate the newly-purchased vehicle before registering it. These temporary car registrations are typically issued by auto dealerships who are selling new motor vehicles. However, the Department of Revenue may also issue a short-term registration to individual motorists under certain circumstances.

Georgia License Plates

Once the DOR processes your Georgia car registration application, it will issue you new registration documents and standard license plates. If you order tags with your new auto registration, you will most likely receive them during the same office visit.

However, if you order certain specialty and/or prestige license plates, you will be required to meet additional requirements and wait for a longer time period until you receive your new tags. Once the state DOR processes your request for unique license plates, it will mail them to your recorded address.

Note: You can also transfer existing licenses plates from a previous vehicle to your newly-purchased motor vehicle.

Georgia Car Registration Fees

Paying the Georgia car registration cost is the final step in the application procedure for a new registration. Note that the vehicle registration fees will generally include both the titling fee and the registration costs. The standard costs to register a car within the state are outlined below:

  • $18 title fee
  • $20 license plate fee
  • The applicable ad valorem taxes
  • Any late application penalty fees
  • An emissions inspection fee of up to $25
  • Additional special and/or prestige license plate fees, if applicable

Note: Since the total GA vehicle registration cost may vary to a certain degree depending on your circumstances, contact the state DOR before making your visit to get an exact estimate.

Last updated on Monday, December 10 2018.

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