As a general rule, VIN verification procedures are required by vehicle owners who move to Rhode Island from another state. Unlike standard VIN checks run by a buyer before the purchase of a used car, the VIN inspection required by the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) must be done by an approved official under specific conditions. Overall, these inspections must be completed locally at an approved office. Furthermore, out-of-state vehicles will not be allowed to be registered in RI without undergoing the necessary inspection beforehand.

The process to verify the VIN number of a vehicle can be completed by bringing in the car along with the necessary supporting documentation to the authorities who are authorized to administer this procedure. The specific inspection process, as well as its cost, may vary depending on the office where it takes place. Once the vehicle identification number is verified, car owners will be required to submit a DMV VIN verification form to a local Division of Motor Vehicles office. To learn more information about undergoing this type of inspection in Rhode Island, read the sections below.

When is a Rhode Island VIN verification required?

A Rhode Island vehicle verification must be completed by vehicle owners under certain circumstances. For instance, a DMV VIN verification form is required of RI residents who own a vehicle with a title or registration issued by another state, or who own a car with a model year that is 2001 or more recent. This type of inspection aims to check the identity of a vehicle, making sure that its records match the VIN that it displays, and that the car has not been stolen or involved in other legal issues. Furthermore, this official inspection must be carried out by authorized DMV representatives.

A car verification certificate is generally required in the case of motorists whose vehicles have out-of-state titles, or that have model years older than 2001. Conversely, drivers who purchase a vehicle in Rhode Island with a title or registration from the state are not required to go through this process, because the vehicle’s identity has already been verified by the RI Division of Motor Vehicles.

Out-of-state drivers may be able to get a vehicle VIN verification certificate validated in Rhode Island if they can meet certain conditions. Owners of cars with a title or registration from another state may be able to avoid having to undergo a VIN number validation again if they can meet the following criteria:

  1. The vehicle owner has a certificate of inspection issued on official law enforcement department letterhead from another state.
  2. The VIN is visible in at least two different locations on the vehicle (must be specified).
  3. The VIN inspection certificate includes the following information:
    1. The name and Rhode Island address of the vehicle owner
    2. Current mileage on the car
    3. The color, make, model and year of the vehicle
    4. The name, badge number and signature of the officer conducting the inspection

Where can I go to obtain a VIN inspection in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, getting a new vehicle inspection certificate is relatively simple. Because all certification processes at car inspection stations must be carried out by authorized representatives of the state government, drivers in need of these certificates can only complete the verification at approved locations.

According to the RI DMV, car owners who need a state car inspection because they are transferring an out-of-state title or registration should visit their local police station to do so. State police departments that regularly deal with vehicle identification inspections include:

  • Central Falls Police Department
  • Charlestown Police Department
  • Coventry Police Department
  • Cranston Police Department
  • East Providence Police Department
  • Johnston Police Department
  • Middletown Police Department
  • Narragansett Police Department
  • Newport Police Department
  • North Kingstown Police Department
  • Pawtucket Police Department
  • Portsmouth Police Department
  • Providence Police Department
  • Smithfield Police Department
  • South Kingstown Police Department
  • Tiverton Police Department
  • Warwick Police Department
  • West Greenwich Police Department
  • West Warwick Police Department
  • Westerly Police Department
  • Woonsocket Police Department

What to Bring to a VIN Number Verification Appointment in Rhode Island

The most important document to bring to a vehicle inspection in Rhode Island is proof of ownership of the car. On the vehicle inspection form, drivers will be generally asked to include the car title as valid proof of ownership. However, other forms of proof may be accepted if a title is unavailable. However, RI vehicle owners should note that, in most cases, the original title is expected during the inspection, not a copy. Furthermore, car owners will be required to bring a copy of any documentation regarding liens on the vehicle.

In order to complete the VIN verification process, vehicle owners must take their proof of ownership documents to a local police station in-person. Because VIN inspections involve physically examining a car, they cannot be completed by mail or over the phone. In addition, it is important to note that each police station in Rhode Island maintains its own procedures and opening hours for completing these inspections. Furthermore, each city has established its own fee structure as well, with inspections ranging in price depending on different municipal statutes.

For example, vehicle verification inspections in Providence are carried out during the week from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and a $15 fee must be paid for with a money order made payable to the “City of Providence.” Conversely, in Cranston, residents can only complete a VIN number validation from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the week, and must pay a processing fee of $20. As such, car owners are encouraged to contact their nearest police stations for more specific information regarding their hours of operation and inspection fees.

What to Do After Completing a VIN Inspection in Rhode Island

After a car owner has completed the necessary DMV VIN verification form in Rhode Island, he or she is required to send the vehicle’s new identification certificate to a local branch of the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles. Out-of-state drivers transferring VIN inspection certificates from other states should send these documents to their nearest DMV location.

However, each RI DMV location has different guidelines for how these certificates should be sent. Certain branches may prefer mailed documents, whereas other offices will require faxed copies. Thus, vehicle owners are encouraged to contact their nearest DMV location and find out the preferred method of submission for inspection certificates.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.