Maryland law requires that motor vehicle owners must register their vehicle with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration 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 Maryland residents who have registered their vehicle in another state must register their vehicle in Maryland. The initial vehicle registration must be done in person, and registration renewals must be done annually, either in person, online or by mail or telephone.
If you are a new resident, you must register and title within 60 days. If you have recently bought a vehicle or transferred ownership, you will need to do this as soon as possible as it will enable you to drive the vehicle legally.
If you are registering a motor vehicle in Maryland for the first time, you must complete the following steps:
- Get your vehicle inspected for emissions. Vehicle inspections must be performed at an inspection station or by an inspector that has been licensed by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. Find out more about vehicle inspections in Maryland, or Authorized VEIP Emissions Inspection Station near you. Once the vehicle passes inspection, you will be issued an inspection certification. You will also need a safety inspection carried out.
- Complete the application form. If you are registering and titling at the same time, the vehicle's title can be used as the application form. If it is an out of state vehicle title you will need to fill up Application for Certificate of Title. If the vehicle has already been titled in Maryland and you wish to register it you will need to fill up the Application for New Plates/Stickers & Transfer of Plates or Non-Title Trailers.
- Visit your MVA branch 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. Your insurance policy must adhere to Maryland's minimum liability insurance requirements.
- 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.
- Additional forms and certificates may be required for certain vehicles. More information on this can be found here.
When registering your vehicle at the MVA branch 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.
There may be additional fees when you register, depending on your county. Contact the MVA branch office for the specific requirements.
RENEWING YOUR VEHICLE REGISTRATION
Owners of motor vehicles in Maryland are required to renew their vehicle registration annually, and can do so in person, online or by mail or telephone. 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 Maryland 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. Motor scooters cannot be titled or registered in Maryland.
- Auto Insurance is needed to legally operate all vehicles in Maryland.
- See also Renewing Your Vehicle Registration.
- See also Title Transfers and Car Insurance.