North Carolina car registration happens at the same time as vehicle titling. Auto registration and other vehicle-related government processes are managed through the Department of Motor Vehicles, or DMV. North Carolina is one of the few states that permits residents to register vehicles for the first time in person or by mail. The state DMV car registration department also permits new residents to skip the inspection of vehicles they bring into the state, but they must have them titled and registered within 30 days of their move. To learn more about obtaining auto registration services in North Carolina, study the information and tips included in the sections below.
North Carolina Vehicle Registration Information Required
The first step in obtaining an NC car registration is to obtain a valid North Carolina driver's license or state-issued photo ID card. If you are getting car registration through the mail, make a clear black-and-white photocopy of your driver's license to send in with the other paperwork. New residents must submit a valid out-of-state driving license along with a North Carolina Temporary Driving Certificate (TDC) to title and register their vehicles.
For car registration purposes, your NC driver's license serves as your primary form of identification. If you are a vehicle registration applicant wondering, "How do I register my car without a driver's license?" you may submit another form of photo ID. Options include a military ID for active duty soldiers stationed in state, or a student ID for those enrolled in college or university. Next, provide proof of liability insurance that meets minimum requirements. Other auto registration documents will vary according to the type of transaction used to acquire the car and are outlined below. The NC DMV car registration website provides an exhaustive list of acceptable documents for DMV transactions.
Where to Register a Car in North Carolina for the First Time
North Carolina residents getting car registration may do so by mail, or by appearing in person at one of the DMV offices locations around the state. NC Motor vehicle registration locations in larger cities offer extended hours on weekdays and some are open on Saturdays. To make car registration more convenient, NC DMV also offers 26 Convenient Accessible Mobile Service (CAMS) mobile units.
How to Register a New Car in North Carolina
NC new car registration applicants will need to have their cars inspected after obtaining a driver's license or ID card and gathering the other required documents outlined above. Though new residents are initially exempt from the car registration inspection process, most other applicants must obtain a vehicle safety and emissions inspection no more than 90 days prior to the registration date. Obtain car registry inspections at one of 7,500 certified inspection centers, who report the results directly to the DMV electronically.
After getting the inspection, all new car registration applicants must complete Form MVR-1, Title Application. Then follow these instructions based on how you purchased your vehicle:
- North Carolina auto registration petitioners who bought their vehicle from an individual must submit a notarized vehicle title, a lien release if the vehicle has a lien on the title, Form MVR-180, Odometer Disclosure Statement (if the vehicle is less than 10 years old) and Form MVR-181, Damage Disclosure Statement.
- NC car registration applicants who bought their vehicle from a dealer must submit a notarized title, a bill of sale showing the vehicle purchase price, Form MVR-180, Odometer Disclosure Statement (if the vehicle is less than 10 years old) and Form MVR-181, Damage Disclosure Statement.
How to Register a Used Car in North Carolina
To get car registration in NC on a used car, follow the same steps outlined above depending on whether you bought the car from a dealer or an individual. Note that North Carolina registration of vehicle rules state that cars 35 years or older do not require a safety inspection, and diesel vehicles or model 1995 vehicles and older can skip the emissions testing. If you want to get car registration documents for a vehicle that is owned by more than one person, you must present a copy of the alternate owner's driver's license or ID card and a power of attorney. All signatures must be notarized to verify that the alternate owner is aware of and approves the registration.
If you are a new resident getting car registration on your currently owned vehicles, but they have a title held by a lienholder, submit your current out-of-state registration card, Form MVR-1, Title Application and your odometer reading if the car is less than 10 years old. NC DMV car registration offices accept cash, money order, personal checks and most credit or debit cards for fee payment.
Temporary North Carolina Vehicle Registration
North Carolina residents wondering how to get car registration temporarily for sales, travel, transfers or inspections can apply for a 10-Day Temporary Registration Permit. This new car registration document replaces the previous 10-Day Trip Permit. If your car fails an initial inspection, the DMV can issue one of these permits to allow you time to obtain necessary repairs and a new inspection. Contact the NC DMV car registration section at the phone number below to obtain information on getting a temporary registration and where to get a copy of the application.
To submit NC car registration documents by mail, use the following address:
Vehicle Title/Liens, Duplicate Registration
3148 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697
For general vehicle registration information, call the Vehicle Registration Section at (919) 715-7000.