Michigan car registration is a process that must be completed through the Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) division. However, the method used to get car registration documents varies depending on where the vehicle is purchased. Different auto registration services are available based on whether a motorist purchases a vehicle from a dealership, private party or acquires a vehicle from a family member. Auto dealerships handle all registration of vehicle documents, but motorists must submit all completed paperwork when vehicles are purchased or acquired from private parties. To learn more about how to get car registration in MI, review the information below.
Michigan Vehicle Registration Information Required
To obtain Michigan car registry documentation, drivers must submit information pertaining to the newly-purchased vehicle, including an odometer reading, vehicle identification number (VIN), the certificate of title, proof of no-fault auto insurance and proof of identification. New residents who need to obtain MI car registration documentation must complete an Application for Michigan Vehicle Title (Form TR-11L).
Where to Register a Car in Michigan for the First Time
Car registration in Michigan is a process that is handled by the dealer when vehicles are purchased from a dealership. However, the method of obtaining vehicle registration documents differs slightly when a vehicle is privately-purchased. To obtain auto registration documentation on privately-purchased vehicles, motorists must visit a local SOS branch.
The process of how to get car registration documents on out-of-state vehicles requires new residents to visit a Michigan SOS branch to complete the titling and motor vehicle registration application at the same time. New residents must submit the following vehicle registration information and documentation:
- The vehicle's current out-of-state title.
- The out-of-state registration of vehicle certificate.
- An Application for Michigan Vehicle Title (Form TR-11L).
- Proof of no-fault insurance. The SOS does not accept out-of-state insurance.
- Proof of identification.
- All applicable Michigan car registration payments.
To obtain a car registry certificate, all owners listed on the vehicle's out-of-state title must appear when registering a vehicle at an SOS branch. Registrants may complete an Appointment of Agent form if they are unable to appear in-person.
How to Register a New Car in Michigan
To complete an auto registration application on a vehicle purchased from a dealer, motorists do not need to visit an SOS location. Instead, the new car registration paperwork is handled by the dealership. The dealership also collects vehicle registration fees and taxes and provides the motorists with copies of all registration documents.
How to Register a Used Car in Michigan
To obtain Michigan car registry documents on privately-purchased vehicles or vehicles acquired from a family member, the motorist must appear in-person to submit all registration paperwork to the SOS. To title the vehicle and obtain DMV car registration documents without delays, vehicle buyers are encouraged to visit a local SOS branch with the seller or relative. When getting car registration certificates, motorists must submit the vehicle's original and signed title with an accurate odometer disclosure statement. Additionally, drivers cannot get car registration documents or complete the title transfer if there is an outstanding loan against the new vehicle.
To properly transfer the vehicle's title and obtain motor vehicle registration documents, motorists must submit the following information to the SOS:
- The vehicle's assigned title. If more than one motorist is included on the title, all motorists must be present to sign the titling application. Alternately, motorists may complete an Appointment of Agent form and submit the form along with a photocopy of the applicant's driver's license or state identification card.
- Proof of no-fault auto insurance.
- Proof of identification.
- During the vehicle registration application process, motorists may request to transfer an old license plate to their new vehicle.
As part of the MI registration of vehicle application process, motorists must pay all applicable fees and taxes. However, motorists are exempt from paying car registry use tax fees if the vehicle is a gift from an immediate family member. Immediate family includes relatives such as a parent, sibling, child, grandparent, grandchild, ward or legal guardian. The same car registration application rules apply to adoptive relatives, half-siblings and step-siblings.
Upon completion of all MI auto registration documentation, motorists receive a registration certificate, tabs and license plates. Motorists must immediately place the license plates and tabs on their vehicle.
If motorists cannot obtain a title during their initial visit to the SOS, they have 15 days from the purchase of the vehicle to transfer the vehicle's title without penalty.
Temporary Michigan Vehicle Registration
Drivers may obtain temporary MI DMV car registration permits for a 30-day or 60-day period. However, motorists must obtain no-fault auto insurance before purchasing a temporary permit. Additionally, only drivers who do not plan to operate vehicle for an extended period can obtain temporary permits. For instance, active military personnel who need to get car registration documents can obtain short-term registration permits rather than registering a vehicle for a full year. Motorists may obtain short-term motor vehicle registration permits in-person at a local SOS office.
"Before I register my car, do I need a short-term permit before I can drive it home from a dealership?", motorists may wonder. After beginning the new car registration process and purchasing a vehicle from a dealership, motorists may drive their newly-purchased vehicles home within three days of purchasing it, even without a new license plate. However, motorists must carry the vehicle's title and proof of auto insurance inside of the vehicle.
"How do I register my car if I inherit it from a family member?", drivers may ask. If a motorist acquires a vehicle from a deceased family member, motorists must contact the Michigan SOS for specific vehicle registration instructions.
The SOS can be reached by telephone at 888-767-6424.