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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.


Vehicle owners must complete an application procedure for Oregon car registration and vehicle title, if they want legally to operate their motor vehicles on public state roads. The Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (OR DMV) issues vehicle registration and titles to motorists who satisfy the corresponding requirements and provide the mandatory documentation to finalize the procedure. Drivers must satisfy certain requirements and eligibility criteria in order to register their vehicles successfully.

Part of those requirements for registering a car in Oregon include providing completed application forms, documents that serve as proofs needed for a registration process and payment for the applicable fees. Moreover, certain situations may mandate motorists to provide proof of car insurance or to get their vehicles inspected. To find out more about registration requirements in Oregon, continue reading the sections below.

Oregon Car Registration Requirements

When registering a car in Oregon, motorists need to satisfy certain eligibility criteria and requirements. Therefore, vehicle owners will have to provide the mandatory documentation that is required by the OR DMV. Moreover, they may also need to provide proof of car insurance and perform a vehicle inspection, if their residential county requires them to do to.

Car Insurance Requirements for Registering a Car in Oregon

Motorists who want to apply for a new car registration in Oregon must hold and maintain car insurance, because operating a motor vehicle without insurance is considered an illegal action. Moreover, proof of car insurance is needed when registering a car in Oregon. Vehicle owners must get the following minimum liability insurance coverage:

  • Bodily injury and property damage:
    • $25,000 per person
    • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury to other persons
    • $20,000 per accident for property damage
  • Personal injury protection (PIP)
    • $15,000 per person
  • Uninsured motorists:
    • $25,000 per person
    • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury

Note: Some of the vehicles may not require a car insurance as part of the registration procedure.

Vehicle Inspection/Smog Inspection/VIN Inspection Requirements in Oregon

When registering a car in Oregon, motorists need to know that they must perform a vehicle inspection if they live in one of these two areas: Medford and Portland. The Portland area requires emission testing for vehicles from 1975 or newer powered by gasoline or alternative fuels, as well as hybrids. Moreover, the inspection must be also conducted on diesel-powered vehicles from 1975 and to the present date with a manufacturer’s gross weight rating of 8,500 pounds or less.

In the Medford area, an emissions inspection must be conducted on all cars, vans, busses, trucks or motorhomes powered by gasoline or alternative fuels that are 20 model years of age or less. Furthermore, all diesel-powered vehicles that are 20 years of age or less with a manufacturer’s gross weight rating of 8,500 pounds or less must be inspected if they are registered within the DEQ Medford area boundaries.

The following vehicles are exempt from the emissions testing in both counties:

  • Newer model year vehicles
  • Heavy-duty diesel vehicles
  • Motorcycles and low-speed vehicles
  • Vehicles legally registered outside of the VIP testing boundaries

Registering a Vehicle in Oregon

The Oregon DMV registration and title procedure may differ based on the applicant’s specific situation. For instance, when registering a new car bought from a dealer, the dealer may perform the registration instead of the vehicle owner. Furthermore, a used car may be registered by the vehicle owner, but some of the required documents may vary. Therefore, motorists are encouraged to learn the exact requirements depending on their specific situation.

How to Register a New Car in Oregon

When motorists purchase a new vehicle from an Oregon dealer, the dealer may submit the vehicle title and car registration documentation to the OR DMV and handle the application procedure. In such case, the dealer that handles the DMV registration and title procedure will have to submit the following documentation to the OR DMV:

  • Completed Application for Title and Registration (form 735-226)
  • Original Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO)
  • Original odometer disclosure
  • Original releases or bills of sale from previous owners
  • Original lien releases from previous security interest holders
  • Use Tax Certificate from the OR DOR, if the vehicle is bought from an out-of-state dealer
  • Proof of compliance or exemption from the Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) requirement
  • Plate choice
  • Payment for the applicable title and car registration cost

In addition to the above-listed vehicle title and car registration requirements, vehicle owners must also hold and maintain a car insurance, as required by the Oregon law. Moreover, they must be OR residents who will register their vehicles under the OR law.

Registering a Used Car in Oregon

Registering a car in Oregon that has been already used is a procedure that vehicle owners must perform, if they want to operate their vehicles legally. When a vehicle has an Oregon title, motorists who want to apply for an OR car registration are required to provide the same documents outlined above, with the difference that now instead of providing an MCO, vehicle owners will have to provide the Oregon car title. Moreover, motorists may also need to submit a Certificate of Compliance for passing an emissions test at DEQ if the vehicle must be tested and if the owner lives in a DEQ area.

Note: Similar to the procedure for new car registration, vehicle owners need to be OR residents and obey the state law about holding and maintaining minimum liability insurance coverage for their vehicles.

How to Register a Car in Oregon as a New Resident

New residents who want to apply for a new car registration in Oregon must perform the procedure as early as they move to OR. The procedure will be more or less the same as that required for a regular OR resident, with the only difference that they will be required to provide the out-of-state title as part of the mandatory registration documentation. Another difference will be in whether vehicle owners have a lienholder on their vehicles or not.

Motorists who are still paying off their vehicle loans, or who are still having a lease on their vehicles need to know that the security interest holders have their title. In such situation, the OR DMV cannot issue a vehicle registration or title without the out-of-state title. It can take up to several weeks to get the license plates and stickers, depending on how quickly the security interest holder will process the paperwork.

Vehicle Registration for Military Members in Oregon

Military members who are OR residents and stationed in the state need to apply for a vehicle registration by completing the same procedure as a regular resident in the state. However, out-of-state residents who are stationed in Oregon may not be required to apply for a car registration through the OR DMV. Furthermore, when OR residents are stationed on active duty out of the state, they may be given the option to register via mail. In addition to the regular car registration requirements and documents that residents must satisfy, military members who are out of the state may need to provide a copy of your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) showing Oregon as their home of record and their actual residence address, even if it is in another state.

Oregon License Plates

At the end of the Oregon car registration procedure, motorists will receive license plates. Vehicle owners who apply for a vehicle registration at a local OR DMV office may receive the plates immediately during their visit. However, residents who have applied via mail will receive the license plates on their mailing addresses within two to three weeks. Note that the license plates will be mailed from three to five weeks, regardless of whether motorists apply in person or by mail.

Oregon Car Registration Fees

When registering a car in Oregon, motorists will have to pay certain car registration cost. Motorists who have forgotten to perform a renewal procedure will not be required to pay late fees.

The following car registration fees are just the regular title, registration and license plate prices:

  • $93 for a regular car title
  • $248 for registration for a regular Tree plate registration
  • $24 for the regular license plates
Last updated on Monday, December 10 2018.

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