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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.


Missouri vehicle registration must be requested by all residents who own cars that will be operated on public roads. In general, DMV registration procedures are processed by the state Department of Revenue (DOR), which oversees most driver and vehicle services in the state. In order to be eligible for a registration, vehicle owners must be able to meet all of the state’s application requirements, such as having a valid driving license and the existing certificate of title related to the vehicle. Nonetheless, general eligibility requirements for this type of credential vary based on the type of vehicle and the category of driver.

Getting a car registration in MO can be done in a few simple steps by visiting a nearby DOR branch. Standard requirements include the need to purchase adequate auto insurance and the vehicle safety inspection that vehicles must pass. On the other hand, military service members and motorists who are interested in temporary registration documents have different DOR registration guidelines that they must follow. All registration requests must be submitted with the correct application fee in order to be processed. Read on to discover more important information about how to register a car in Missouri.

Missouri Car Registration Requirements

To register a car in Missouri, vehicle owners must visit the DOR with a filled out registration application and the supporting paperwork that is required to prove that the driver meets the state’s eligibility criteria. Unlike certain states, MO residents cannot request a car registration online, and must instead bring the necessary documentation in person to a local DOR location. All MO vehicle owners should prepare the following documentation to submit a registration application:

  • A signed and completed “Application for Missouri Title and License” form.
  • The certificate of title, properly signed over to the new owner or the vehicle’s manufacturer’s statement of origin (MSO).
  • Complete payment of the necessary car registration fees and state taxes.
  • A completed odometer disclosure statement (Form 3019), unless the motor vehicle was transferred with a title issued in another state, in which case an identification number and odometer (ID/OD) inspection is required.
  • A notarized lien release (Form 4809), if applicable.

The abovementioned documents are general requirements for all drivers registering a car in MO, but some vehicle owners must meet additional criteria to submit the request. For instance, motorists who have recently become state residents must provide the following additional information with their car registration application:

  • A current insurance identification card (original, copy or electronic accepted) or other proof of financial responsibility.
  • A statement of non-assessment from the county assessor’s office demonstrating that the vehicle owner does not owe personal property taxes in the county.
  • An emissions inspection completed no more than 60 days previously, for residents who live in St. Louis City or Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles or St. Louis counties.

Car Insurance Requirements for Registering a Car in Missouri

Before an owner can pay car registration application fees, he or she must acquire adequate auto insurance coverage. According to state law, all vehicles owners must have the following minimum levels of coverage:

  • Liability insurance
  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $10,000 per accident for property
  • Uninsured motorist coverage ($25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident)

Vehicle Safety Inspection Requirements in Missouri

The total car registration cost in Missouri must takes into account the fees associated with passing the state’s mandatory vehicle safety inspection. Vehicle owners will not be able to get a DOR registration for vehicles that have not received a “Certificate of Inspection and Approval” after passing the required inspection. MO residents completing a renewal will receive a notice from the DOR when they need to redo their safety inspection.

Before a driver is able to register a car in MO, he or she must get a safety inspection completed within 60 days before visiting a DOR branch. Owners of vehicles that were purchased directly from a dealer have 90 days to complete the inspection. According to Missouri statutes, vehicles with even model number years will be inspected in even calendar years and vehicles with model numbers from an odd-numbered year will occur during an odd-number year. On the other hand, new cars are exempt from this requirement in the first five years after purchase if bought directly from a dealer.

Registering a Vehicle in Missouri

How to register a car in Missouri varies significantly between owners of new and used cars and between residents who have been established in the state and who have recently moved there. The vehicle registration process is somewhat simpler for owners of new cars because auto dealerships typically take care of all of the necessary paperwork for these procedures. Conversely, owners of used vehicles and new MO residents must submit the necessary registration and titling paperwork to the DOR themselves.

How to Register a New Car in Missouri

In order to get a vehicle registration for a new car purchased from a licensed MO dealership, most residents can simply allow their dealers to submit the necessary paperwork to the DOR. Temporary tags can be purchased from auto dealerships to permit the new vehicle owners to operate their cars while they wait for the permanent license plates. Any necessary information or documentation required for the process should be requested by the dealer when the driver is purchasing the car. Then, a dealer will submit the registration application on the driver’s behalf to the DOR.

Registering a Used Car in Missouri

Missouri residents are required to request a new car registration for recently purchased used vehicles within 30 days of taking the car into possession. Motorists who fail to submit the necessary car registration form and additional documentation within the specified period of time will have to pay a penalty for every 30 days of delay. MO residents who would like to register a newly-acquired used vehicle can take the following steps:

  1. Prepare the current title of the vehicle, a recent odometer reading and a valid form of identification, such as a state-issued drivers license or a photo ID card.
  2. Complete and sign the “Application for Missouri Title and License” form.
  3. Pay the application fees.
  4. Submit the complete application packet to a local DOR office.

How to Register a Car in Missouri as a New Resident

Many drivers ask, “Where can I register my car in Missouri?” All new state residents are required to submit car registration details to the DOR within 30 days of taking up residence in the state to avoid having to pay late fees. Owners of vehicles manufactured in the last five years should note that they can skip the safety inspection requirement. New MO residents can take the following steps to register their vehicles:

  1. Prepare the current title of the vehicle (or other proof of ownership), a statement of non-assessment, a current insurance ID card, proof of ID/OD inspection, proof of safety inspection, proof of emissions inspection (if required in your county), your valid ID and any other applicable information.
  2. Complete and sign the “Application for Missouri Title and License” form.
  3. Pay for the application fees.
  4. Take the complete application packet to a DOR branch.

Vehicle Registration for Military Members in Missouri

Car registration services for MO residents who are active duty military personnel and stationed outside of the state are automatically extended. This means that all eligible vehicle owners can complete a vehicle registration renewal or first-time application up to 180 days after completing their service without facing any penalties. Missouri motorists in the military can wait until they return to the state in order to undergo the same car registration application procedure mentioned in previous sections. On the other hand, military service members do not have to meet the requirements related to safety checkups or emissions inspection. However, they are required to complete an affidavit if the car will be used out of the state for more than 60 days.

Temporary DMV Registration in Missouri

Car registration requirements for receiving a temporary permit after buying a new car from a dealership are different than those for long-term registrations. In general, drivers will be required to pay a temporary registration cost that varies depending on the duration of the permit. Typically, these credentials are valid between 30 and 90 days. In any case, vehicle owners can only buy one temporary tag per car and cannot buy a tag if a car already has a valid title.

If a dealer is not licensed to issue temporary permits, the applicant can visit a DOR office and request one him or herself. To submit a request, the motorist must follow the same general instructions as those looking for a permanent registration, but provide only proof of ownership, a safety inspection (if applicable) and a current auto ID card.

Missouri License Plates

Once an MO driver has submitted his or her vehicle registration details to the DOR, he or she will usually receive two license plates, one for the front and one for the rear. If requesting standard plates, they are generally available immediately upon submitting a request. On the other hand, specialty or personalized plates may take longer to be processed and delivered.

Missouri Car Registration Fees

The total car registration fees for any given vehicle owner in Missouri vary based on the amount of sales tax that must be paid to the DOR, which is 4.225 percent. In addition to these taxes, car registration fees are $11 for each title request. Additional license and processing fees may apply.

Note: Late registration requests include a $25 late fee for every 30 days of deferral.

Last updated on Monday, December 3 2018.

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