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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.


Motorists must apply for a North Dakota new car registration and vehicle title before operating their motor vehicles on public roads in the state. The Department of Transportation (ND DOT) requires vehicle owners to request a car registration and title by completing the corresponding application forms. Moreover, residents need to satisfy certain car registration requirements and provide the mandated documentation for completing this procedure.

Overall, an ND vehicle registration procedure may vary based on whether or not the applicant is a state resident. In addition, the requirements may differ for military service members who are stationed out of state, and for active duty members who are not North Dakota residents but are stationed in the state. To discover more information about how to register a car in North Dakota, continue reading the sections below.

North Dakota Car Registration Requirements

Before registering a car in North Dakota, motorists will be required to satisfy certain eligibility criteria. These car registration requirements include collecting certain mandatory documents, paying for the applicable fees, obtaining the proper car insurance coverage and conducting a vehicle inspection.

Car Insurance Requirements for Registering a Car in North Dakota

Getting a car insurance in North Dakota is a mandatory requirement in the state but it is not enforced through car registration. All vehicles that have a DMV registration tag and are driven on public roads must have a liability insurance policy. According to ND law, every motor vehicle should have the following minimum liability insurance coverage:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury of one person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury in an accident
  • $25,000 for property damage in an accident

Drivers are not allowed to register a car or operate it without the proper auto insurance. Generally, law enforcement officers are allowed to verify whether a motorist’s insurance card is with him or her.

Vehicle Inspection/Smog Inspection/VIN Inspection Requirements in North Dakota

Prior to registering a car in North Dakota, motorists will be required to have their vehicles inspected. For that purpose, they will have to complete one of the following request forms:

  • Certificate of Vehicle Inspection (form SFN 2486)
  • Certificate of Vehicle Inspection Off-Highway/Low Speed Vehicles (form SFN 58953)

Registering a Vehicle in North Dakota

To register a car in North Dakota, motorists will have to obtain a certificate of title at the same time. To apply for DMV registration and title, motorists may have to prepare the following documents:

  • Completed “Application for Certificate of Title and Registration of a Vehicle” form that was signed by the owner.
  • Completed “Damage/Salvage Disclosure Statement” form, for vehicles that are less than nine model years old.
  • Payment for the applicable car registration fees.

In addition to this paperwork required for registering a car in ND, motorists may need to submit other documents, such a certificate or origin, if the vehicle was purchased from an auto dealership.

Note: A vehicle registration renewal procedure must be performed prior to the expiration date of the registration document, in order to avoid possible late fees or penalties.

How to Register a Car in North Dakota as a New Resident

When moving from another state into North Dakota, motorists who want to perform a car registration procedure may have to apply for a car title as well. Therefore, they will have to provide the following DMV registration documents:

  • A properly filled-out and signed application form.
  • An out-of-state car title.
  • Payment for an excise tax if the vehicle was previously titled in Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Montana, Oregon, New Hampshire or a Canadian Province.
  • Payment for vehicle registration fees, depending on the year and weight of the motor vehicle.

Vehicle Registration for Military Members in North Dakota

Military personnel who wish to obtain a vehicle registration in North Dakota may have to complete a procedure similar to the one for a new resident. Thus, out-of-state military service members who have been assigned to ND must do the following:

  • Complete the proper application title.
  • Provide an out-of-state car title.
  • Provide a completed and signed certificate of origin, if the vehicle is brand new.
  • Submit payment for an excise tax, if the vehicle had been previously titled in Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Montana, Oregon, New Hampshire or a Canadian Province.

Military service members who are overseas must complete the same North Dakota car registration and title procedure as outlined above. However, they are not required to provide both an out-of-state title and a certificate of origin. Instead, they can choose to submit only one of them.

Temporary DMV Registration in North Dakota

Certain residents may wonder how to get a temporary registration in North Dakota when registering and titling their vehicles. Despite the fact that a DMV temporary registration is not an available option in ND, out-of-state residents may obtain a “Drive Out” permit, which must be displayed on the vehicle’s window.

This permit is valid for 30 days from the issuance date and it allows motorists to operate their vehicles from North Dakota to their home states. To obtain this permit, drivers will be required to pay a fee of $5.

North Dakota License Plates

At the end of the North Dakota car registration procedure, motorists will receive standard license plates, which they need to attach to their vehicles. In general, a vehicle owner will get two license plates, which must be displayed horizontally and in an upright position both in the front and in the back of the car. The bottom of the license plate must be at a height of 12 inches or more above the surface level in order to meet the official state standards.

North Dakota Car Registration Fees

The North Dakota car registration fees may vary based on the year of the vehicle’s first registration, the vehicle’s weight and the length of registration motorists apply for. For reference, the lowest possible car registration cost is $73.

Last updated on Monday, December 10 2018.

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