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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.


Vehicle registration in Idaho is required for all cars driven within the state. Along with your title, your registration serves as proof that you are the rightful owner of the car. You will need to get Idaho DMV registration documents whether you are moving to the state, buying a new car or buying a used car.

In this article, you will find out everything you need to know about registering a car in Idaho: what documents you need to bring to the DMV, how much liability insurance you need to buy and how to register your vehicle if you have a documented reason to be out-of-state. Additionally, you will learn how the process differs for new car buyers and used car buyers.

Idaho Car Registration Requirements

In order to get a vehicle registration in Idaho, you need to be a resident of the state. Your vehicle must also be titled in Idaho.

You are automatically considered an Idaho resident if you have been living in Idaho for at least 90 days. However, if you would like to go to the DMV and pay for a car registration earlier, you are allowed to declare residency in Idaho at any time. The 90-day timeframe is simply the maximum amount of time you are allowed to live in Idaho before you are declared a resident.

In addition to getting the title, you will need to get your vehicle inspected. You will need to bring these documents along with a form of identification and a form of payment.

Car Insurance Requirements for Registering a Car in Idaho

Before you can register a car in Idaho, you need to get liability insurance. This insurance needs to cover:

  • $15,000 worth of damage caused by an accident.
  • $25,000 to cover medical or death expenses for any individuals hurt during an accident.
  • $50,000 for the total medical or death expenses incurred during an accident.

Though you may choose to get other forms of car insurance, you are not required to do so by the state.

Vehicle Inspection/Smog Inspection/VIN Inspection Requirements in Idaho

To get a new car registration in Idaho, you need to get a VIN inspection. This ensures that there is a record of the vehicle, its condition and its mileage. This inspection will usually be performed by a law enforcement officer or an employee at the DMV office.

Registering a Vehicle in Idaho

If you want to understand how to register a vehicle in Idaho, you first need to know whether you are buying a new car or a used car. The two processes are different, because if you are buying a used car you need to ensure the seller gives you all the proper documentation. Dealerships often handle the registration process for new cars.

Though vehicle registration renewal is yearly and can be done online, you need to submit your initial registration documents in person. Exceptions are made for individuals who have a documented reason to be out of the state, such as service members or students.

How to Register a New Car in Idaho

The vehicle registration process in Idaho is often handled by the dealership that you have bought the new car from. If you choose to handle the process yourself, you will need to have the vehicle’s title signed over to you. Then, you will need to get liability insurance.

Once that is done, you will be able to go the DMV and get the VIN inspected. To pay the car registration cost, you will need to bring either money or a check.

Registering a Used Car in Idaho

Sellers should provide Idaho vehicle registration details to the buyer of a used car. This means signing over the title to you, as well as allowing you to perform an inspection of the vehicle. You will then need to get insurance for the vehicle.

Once you have completed these steps, you will need to bring the title, odometer inspection and proof of insurance to the DMV.  An appointment is not required. You cannot get a car registration online in Idaho for a used vehicle, because the DMV needs to examine the documents and ensure that the vehicle’s VIN and odometer have been accurately recorded.

It is important to note that you should not buy a vehicle if the seller is unwilling or unable to provide the vehicle’s title. Without a proper title transfer, you do not legally own the vehicle.

How to Register a Car in Idaho as a New Resident

New residents have 90 days to register their vehicle. You become a resident when you have lived in Idaho for no more than 90 days, though you have the option to declare residency sooner.

Here is what you need to register a car in Idaho as a new resident:

  • Title and Registration
  • The vehicle, which will be inspected at the DMV office
  • Identification
  • Payment

Vehicle Registration for Military Members in Idaho

Car registration requirements in Idaho are similar for service members and civilians. The biggest difference is that service members who are not currently in Idaho are allowed to apply for their title and registration via the mail.

To get a vehicle registered via the mail, they will need to submit a title, a VIN Inspection Certificate, a facsimile of their driver’s license and a document that proves they have liability insurance. As well, they will need to send a Limited Power of Attorney for Specific Motor Vehicle/Vessel form, along with a check covering the total cost of the vehicle registration.

Students who are currently out-of-state are also allowed to use this process in order to register their vehicle. You may also choose to register your vehicle online, if your county offers that service.

Idaho License Plates

Once you have completed the car registration services required for getting your vehicle titled and registered, you will be able to receive a license plate. In order to do so, you will need to submit:

  • The license plate application
  • The vehicle’s Idaho car registration form and title certificate
  • Proof of identification
  • Money or a check

If you are eligible for disability plates, you will also need to submit the Disability License Plates and Placards form. This application requires basic personal information, as well as a signature from a licensed physician. The Medical Certification section should be completed by the physician, who will need to note if you are eligible for disability plates for a limited time or indefinitely.

To get military plates, you will need to submit the Military License Plate Application. This application requires you to submit an official paper proving you were in the military, such as an Honorable Discharge Certificate.

Idaho Car Registration Fees

How much is a car registration in Idaho? The answer varies based on the age of the vehicle.

  • For a vehicle that was manufactured no more than two years ago, the price is $69.
  • For a vehicle that was manufactured three to six years ago, the price is $57.
  • For a vehicle that was manufactured no less than seven years ago, the price is $49.

These car registration fees only apply to vehicles that are a maximum of 8,000 pounds. Trucks, motorhomes and other vehicles are on a different pricing plan.

Last updated on Wednesday, November 28 2018.

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