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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 are required to obtain an Ohio car registration and title in order to operate their vehicles on public roads within the state. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) of the Ohio Department of Public Safety (OH DPS) issued vehicle registration documentation to vehicle owners who complete the procedure successfully. As part of the process of registering, drivers will have to first satisfy certain requirements and eligibility criteria before beginning the procedure. In addition, they will have to submit certain documentation to the OH BMV and pay the applicable fees.

The Ohio new car registration procedure may be performed by regular residents, new residents and military members. However, the requirements for each group of people may differ from one another. Therefore, drivers are encouraged to discover more information about the procedure that corresponds to their personal situation. For more information about Ohio registrations, continue reading the following sections.

Ohio Car Registration Requirements

When registering a car in Ohio, motorists may have to satisfy certain requirements as part of the registration procedure. The requirements  include preparing and providing certain paperwork and payment for the applicable fees to the OH BMV. Although there is no strict requirement for getting a car insurance or vehicle inspection before getting a registration, motorists are encouraged to perform both procedures in order to operate their motor vehicles legally.

Car Insurance Requirements for Registering a Car in Ohio

Motorists who are performing a DMV registration may often wonder whether they need to get car insurance for their motor vehicles. Operating a motor vehicle without the proper car insurance is considered as an illegal action. Therefore, motorists who are applying for a car registration in Ohio are encouraged to obtain the following minimum insurance liability coverage requirements:

  • $25,000 for injury or death of one person
  • $50,000 for injury or death of two or more persons
  • $25,000 for property damage in an accident

Drivers will have to provide proof of car insurance when they are conducting vehicle inspections, in accidents or at traffic stops.

Vehicle Inspection/Smog Inspection/VIN Inspection Requirements in Ohio

When registering a car in Ohio, drivers may wonder if they need to get their vehicles inspected as part of the registration procedure or not. Motor vehicles that are up to 25 years of age must undergo an E-Check emissions testing program in a two-year period, as long as their owners are from the following counties: Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain, Geauga, Summit, Portage and Medina. Note that performing a vehicle inspection is not one of the car registration requirements that motorists must satisfy before getting the registration documentation. However, they are highly encouraged to do so, because in certain cases the vehicle inspection is mandatory for used vehicles.

Registering a Vehicle in Ohio

Motorists who are wondering how to register a car in Ohio need to know that the registration procedure may vary based on many factors. For instance, when applying for car registration, the process may differ based on the type of motor vehicle. However, when registering a car in Ohio for the first time, motorists will have to visit a local deputy registrar license agency and do the following:

  • Sign proof of Financial Responsibility Statement.
  • Provide a lease agreement and Power of Attorney for Ohio Vehicle Registration (form BMV 5736), if the vehicle is leased.
  • Provide an E-Check, if the vehicle is in an E-Check county.
  • Provide proof of weight, if required.
  • For passenger cars and motorcycles, submit the following:
    • OH title certificate or Memorandum of Title
    • OH drivers license, ID card, or proof of social security number (SSN)
    • Tax ID number, when the vehicle is titled in a business name
  • Provide payment for the applicable fees and taxes.

Motorists who are out of the state may also register a car and other type of motor vehicles by completing an Application for Out-of-State Registration by Mail (form BMV 4625) and sending it to the OH BMV mailing address.

Note: Used vehicles must be inspected before obtaining a car registration.

How to Register a Car in Ohio as a New Resident

New OH residents may also perform an Ohio vehicle registration and title procedure as soon as they move to the state. One of the main car registration requirements for new residents is to obtain a car title prior to registering the vehicle with the OH BMV. Moreover, motorists may choose to convert their out-of-state titles to Ohio ones if their vehicle had been previously titled in another state. After getting the vehicle title, new residents will have to submit the following:

  • Proof of identity
  • Out-of-state VIN inspection
  • Lien release from a lien holder, if needed
  • Two original powers of attorney (form BMV 5736) for lease transactions
  • Payment for the title and registration fees

Power of attorney is needed when there is dual ownership and both vehicle owners cannot be present at the same time. Moreover, all owners must provide their social security numbers (SSN).

Vehicle Registration for Military Members in Ohio

Military members who are OH residents and stationed in the state can perform an Ohio vehicle registration procedure by following the regular requirements and steps. However, non-resident military members who are stationed in OH will not be required to register their vehicles but are encouraged to keep their out-of-state credentials valid and up-to-date.

OH residents who are on active duty out of the state will be able to perform the DMV registration procedure via mail. In that case, military members will have to provide the following documentation:

  • Completed Application for Out-of-State Registration by Mail (form BMV 4625).
  • Certificate of title or Memorandum title, for new vehicles.
  • Power of Attorney (form BMV 5736) and a copy of the lease agreement, for leased vehicles.
  • Payment for the applicable fees.

Motorists who are registering another type of vehicle that is not a passenger vehicle or motorcycle may also have to provide an Affidavit for Registration (form BMV 5712). Moreover, vehicles that qualify for a multi-year registration may have to undergo E-Check testing.

Ohio License Plates

At the end of the Ohio car registration procedure, motorists will receive a set of license plates that they will have to place on their motor vehicles. Drivers may choose from a variety of specialized and personalized plates, depending on their specific desires. The application process for DMV registration and license plates may be performed in person at a nearby deputy registrar license agency, online via the OPLATES website, or by mail. The same methods may be used for a vehicle registration renewal procedure. The license plates will be sent to the driver’s mailing address.

Ohio Car Registration Fees

Motorists are required to pay certain Ohio car registration costs when they register their vehicles. However, the prices may vary based on the type of vehicle and on the length of the registration. Some of the fees include the following:

  • $4.50 for a plate or registration transfer
  • $18.50 for a temporary registration
  • $34.50 for an annual vehicle registration renewal for a passenger vehicle
  • $4.50 for a replacement registration or sticker
Last updated on Monday, December 10 2018.

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