How to Register and Title a Car
New car titles cannot be obtained online or by mail. Titling must be done in person at your local DMV. Depending on your case, a car dealership may be able to request a title on your behalf. To make sure you are fully prepared for the titling process, download our informative online car title guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to complete the application process quickly and easily. You will also get in-depth details on how to complete other important title transactions, such as transferring ownership, updating information and replacing your title if it is lost.
Select a state to begin:
2. In Person at the DMV
To obtain a new title, you must provide details that relate to your car, such as its make, model, VIN number, date of purchase, odometer reading and lienholder information. You must also fill out a title application and pay various fees, such as new title and registration fees, emissions and VIN inspection charges & more. Filling out the title application and gathering the funds to cover all applicable fees can be confusing. You may not know which application to complete or which fees you need to pay. Furthermore, arriving at the DMV unprepared will likely result in a long wait time and potential mistakes on your application, which would mean having to return to complete the transaction.
The processes of obtaining a new car registration and car title must be completed by drivers who have recently purchased a new vehicle or a used one from a private seller, in order to stay in accordance with state motor vehicle laws. Getting car registration and title is a step motorists must take for the purposes of driving legally on roads and highways. Licensees who fail to provide a valid car registry card when pulled over by a law enforcement officer, for instance, may face severe penalties. Since the requirements to obtain a DMV car title and registration may vary from state to state, it is best to conduct thorough research online or contact a nearby DMV location and inquire about the exact procedure. State motor vehicle departments usually require drivers to follow specific steps and submit a set of documents in order to finalize the process timely and properly. Learn more about how to get car registration and new car title in the following sections:
- Requirements to register and title a car
- Additional requirements for new residents
- Methods to register and title a car
- Fees to register and title a car
Requirements to Register and Title a Car
The procedures to obtain a DMV vehicle title and registration administered by motor vehicle agencies in most U.S. states are similar, and require motorists to complete an application form in addition to providing other documents. Note that DMVs generally issue a new car title, which may then be submitted to register a vehicle. Also, motor vehicle departments usually require licensees to finalize the process within a set period of time, otherwise they may be penalized. Drivers in Arizona, for instance, are required to get car title certificates within 15 days of purchasing a vehicle. Licensees applying for a motor vehicle registration/title for car will generally need to complete the following steps:
- Visit a local DMV office to submit their paperwork.
- Provide completed documents, including an application form for vehicle title and/or registration, bill of sale (if necessary) and other applicable documentation. New York State, for example, requires drivers to show proof of sales tax payment.
- Submit proof of vehicle insurance (if applicable).
- Present proof of identity, such as a valid driving license, permit, ID card (if required).
- Arrange payment for the applicable fees.
Note: The aforementioned list is not all-inclusive, and other requirements may apply depending on your country of residence.
Additional Requirements for New Residents
New residents who have recently moved to another state will also be required to get car registration and title in a timely manner. When titling and registering your vehicle as a new resident, you will be generally required to perform the steps as state drivers (visiting a DMV office, submitting the required paperwork including an application form, proof of insurance and more and arranging payment for the set fees). However, additional steps and DMV auto title and car registry documentation may be necessary to finalize the procedure. If you are new to Arizona, for instance, you must surrender your out-of-state DMV car registration and title to be able to apply for new credentials. Also, your vehicle may need an emissions inspection which is administered by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Contact a local DMV branch to request detailed title and vehicle registration information prior to initiating the procedure.
Methods to Register and Title a Car
Though application methods usually vary depending on the state, motorists getting a vehicle registration/title are generally required to personally visit a DMV office and follow the set guidelines. Prior to going to a nearby branch, however, drivers are highly recommended to check which title/vehicle registration documents are necessary, so as to avoid any inconvenience when in the office. For example, state DMVs usually provide certain documentation, such as an application form or bill of sale on their official website, thus allowing applicants to fill them out beforehand and save valuable time. Check with your DMV to find out whether other methods of application are currently available.
Fees to Register and Title a Car
When obtaining auto registration and titling your car, you are generally required to provide payment for the allotted fees and potential taxes. The amount of title/DMV registration fees may also depend on several factors, such as your vehicle’s weight and your state/county of residence. Motorists getting car title and registration in New York State, for instance, will need to arrange payment for the sales tax, a vehicle plate/registration transfer fee, a vehicle title fee, a car use tax (required in most counties) and a one- or two-year registration fee. Note that certain state DMVs may offer online tools to estimate registration cost and taxes.