Vermont car registration requirements are less stringent than those of some other states. Motorists do not need to live in Vermont or be residents of the state to receive a vehicle registration. Nor do they need to hold or show valid drivers licenses as part of the application process. Registrants have the opportunity to order a variety of specialty plates with their registrations, if they wish, and may generally choose between one- and two- year registration periods.

Vermont does have some unique and distinct requirements associated with the registration process for owners and their vehicles, however. For example, all vehicles must pass emissions and safety inspections to qualify for DMV registration. DMV inspection partners will not perform those necessary inspections on vehicles unless or until owners can provide proof that the vehicles are properly insured. Owners purchasing vehicles or transferring registrations into the state must do so within comparatively short windows of time, as well.

Vermont Car Registration Requirements

Registering a car in Vermont does not require in-state drivers licenses or even residency. Anyone may register a vehicle in the state. However, newly arrived residents making their homes in Vermont have 60 days from the time they move in to transfer their registrations to Vermont.

To get a vehicle registration, motorists must:

  • Carry adequate car insurance.
  • Have their vehicles safety and emissions tested.
  • Hold the necessary proof of ownership (e.g. titles or bills of sale).

Pay car registration fees, including taxes where applicable.

Car Insurance Requirements for Registering a Car in Vermont

When considering how to register a car in Vermont, insurance is a key concern. State law requires all motorists to carry certain minimum amounts of liability insurance in order to receive and maintain their registrations. Failure to comply may result in fees and other penalties. Motorists convicted of alcohol violations may be required to abide by additional insurance requirements.

Minimum Vermont car registration insurance requirements are:

  • Personal Injury Liability of not less than $25,000 for one person per accident and $50,000 for two or more people per accident.
  • Property Damage Liability of at least $10,000 per accident.

Alternatively, motorists may “self-insure” by filing bonds worth $115,000 with the state Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

Vehicle Inspection/Smog Inspection/VIN Inspection Requirements in Vermont

To get a new car registration or transfer an existing registration into Vermont, all vehicles must pass safety and emissions inspections. Some vehicles, particularly those transferring in from out of state, will also need VIN Inspections prior to registration.

  • Safety Inspections are only conducted when auto owners provide proof of adequate vehicle insurance. This prevents insufficiently insured or uninsured motorists from registering vehicles in the state for everyone’s safety.
  • Emissions Inspections apply to all vehicles 14,000 lbs and under with fewer than 7,500 miles on the odometer. Vehicles must meet California emissions standards to receive DMV registration in Vermont. (Motorists purchasing new vehicles can verify those vehicles meet this standard by referencing their Manufacturers Certificates of Origin (MCO) or the labels located in their engine compartments. Regular re-inspections are required before annual vehicle registration renewal to ensure vehicles remain in compliance.
  • VIN Inspections are required when transferring car registrations.

Registering a Vehicle in Vermont

Motorists cannot register a vehicle online in Vermont. Renewals may be processed online, but all initial registrations must be completed in person. Applicants do not need valid drivers licenses or to be residents or the state, but will need to show some form of ID.

Vehicle registration details may vary slightly depending on vehicle:

  • Type.
  • Age.
  • Previous or existing registration status.
  • Title status.

Registrants should review the policies and procedures specific to their needs before applying to ensure a quick and efficient application process.

How to Register a New Car in Vermont

Residents who purchase a new vehicle in Vermont rarely need to register vehicles themselves. It is an established in-state standard for dealers to process all registrations for new cars they sell. New owners must simply provide their IDs and other relevant information to their dealers at time of purchase so that they can appropriately complete the necessary paperwork.

Registering a Used Car in Vermont

Motorists who purchase a vehicle from a private seller or out of state will need to apply for DMV registrations themselves. To do so, they will need:

  • Their vehicles’ titles or Manufacturer’s Certificates of Origin (MCO).
  • Bills of sale (for vehicles more than 15 years old without titles).
  • Odometer disclosure statements.
  • Acceptable photo identification (e.g. drivers licences).

Motorists can then fill out a Vermont Registration, Tax, and Title application and take it, with their supporting documents, to any Vermont DMV office for processing. No appointments are necessary. Applicants must be prepared to pay all associated fees at the time of application.

Note: In the event that vehicles have been designated as a salvage title or have out of state titles, applicants will also need completed VIN Verification forms when applying.

How to Register a Car in Vermont as a New Resident

Motorists who move into the state can easily exchange their out of state registrations for Vermont vehicle registrations by completing Vermont Registration, Tax, and Title applications and taking them to their local DMV offices. With their applications, motorists will need:

  • Their vehicles’ titles.
  • Copies of their out of state registrations.
  • Their drivers licenses.
  • VIN verification forms.
  • Odometer disclosure statements (for vehicles 9 or fewer years old only).

Applicants who paid taxes on the cost of their vehicles at the time of purchase must also supply evidence of such. All other applicants will be charged tax on the “blue book” value of their vehicles when registering a vehicle in Vermont.

Vehicle Registration for Military Members in Vermont

Active Duty members of the United States Armed Forces and veterans may qualify for special exemptions and privileges when registering a car in Vermont. These include:

  • Exemption from paying fees and taxes associated with registering vehicles obtained with the help of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or with VA documentation of entitlement to qualifying financial assistance.
  • Eligibility for special military and veteran license plates.

Aside from these benefits, all registration policies and procedures are the same for members of the military in Vermont as for civilians.

Temporary DMV Registration in Vermont

Two forms of temporary registration documents are available to auto owners in Vermont. Intransit permits provide temporary registrations that allow owners to transport vehicles purchased in Vermont back to their home states for permanent registry.

The DMV also allows residents to file for, receive and hold temporary registrations for vehicles they own and need to drive but for which they need additional time to request or collect the necessary documentation for permanent registration. This includes, among other things:

  • Delays or difficulty in acquiring vehicles’ titles.
  • Inability to get or pass the necessary inspections immediately.
  • Inability to schedule a VIN verification in time for registration deadlines.
  • Temporary plates assigned while vanity plate requests are being processed.

Vermont License Plates

The DMV issues two licenses plates to all applicants successfully registering vehicles in Vermont. Alongside their plates, motorists will receive registration cards and matching validation stickers highlighting their registrations’ expiration dates. Validation stickers must be affixed to vehicles’ rear license plates.

Vermont has a variety of specialty plates available, which may be ordered at the time of registration if desired.

Vermont Car Registration Fees

Vermont car registration fees vary by type of vehicle, length of registration and other factors. Applicants desiring to calculate their exact costs before registering a vehicle should contact their local DMV offices for assistance. Common registration fees include:

  • Single year gas or diesel $76
  • Two-year gas or diesel $140
  • Single year electric car $74
  • Two-year electric car $136
  • Single year alternative fuel $132
  • Two-year alternative fuel $242
  • Single year antique auto $23
  • Two-year antique auto $46
  • Exhibition autos $21 or $23, depending on fuel type
  • Registration transfer $25
  • Specialty plates $17 to $48 annually
Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.