Kentucky law requires that motor vehicle owners must register their vehicle with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet 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 Kentucky residents who have registered their vehicle in another state must register their vehicle in Kentucky. The initial vehicle registration must be done in person, and registration renewals must be done annually, either in person, online or by mail.
If you have bought a vehicle from a dealer or a person or if you wish to transfer ownership, you have 15 days in which you must register it. If you are new resident, you must do this within 10 days.
If you are registering a motor vehicle in Kentucky for the first time, you must complete the following steps:
- Kentucky ended its emission testing program in 2005. However, if your vehicle does not have a Kentucky title, you will need to get your vehicle inspected at the local sheriff's office. Once the vehicle passes inspection, you will be issued an inspection certification.
- Complete a vehicle title/registration form.
- Provide the following documents
- Social security number.
- Title lien statement if applicable.
- Manufacturer's certificate of origin.
- New residents will have to provide the original out of state title.
- Visit your County Clerk's 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.
When registering your vehicle at the county clerk's 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 $21.
- Title application fee which is $6.
There may be additional fees when you register, depending on your county. Contact the County Clerk's office for the specific requirements.
RENEWING YOUR VEHICLE REGISTRATION
Owners of motor vehicles in Kentucky are required to renew their vehicle registration annually, and can do so in person, online 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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky.
- See also Renewing Your Vehicle Registration.
- See also Title Transfers and Car Insurance.