West Virginia car registration laws mandate that motor vehicles operated upon state highways be titled and registered. Auto registration services are managed by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a state agency that serves to keep state roadways safe. New residents have 30 days to obtain WV car registration and titles for any vehicles brought in from other states. While new car registration and used car registration processes are similar, some of the required documents differ. For additional WV vehicle registration information, read the sections detailed below.
West Virginia Vehicle Registration Information Required
West Virginia vehicle registration begins with a vehicle inspection. Car registry applicants must have a current safety inspection sticker before getting their car registered. New residents seeking registration of vehicle documents from the DMV have 10 days from the time they title the vehicle to obtain their inspection.
Auto registration applicants must also provide proof of auto insurance and carry it inside the vehicle at all times. Although WV DMV car registration offices keep tabs on insurance status electronically, this document helps provide verification of insurance status when needed. Vehicle coverage must meet the state minimum of $25,000 for one crash and one injury, $50,000 for one crash and two or more injuries and $25,000 for property damage in a crash.
Motor vehicle registration applicants must also be prepared to pay associated car registration fees and taxes, which can vary. West Virginia car registration fees include a title fee, a regular registration fee and a lien fee, if applicable.
Where to Register a Car in West Virginia for the First Time
The West Virginia DMV car registration network consists of over 20 regional DMV offices to serve drivers. Each vehicle registration location has its own hours of operation and some centers, such as the one in Charleston, offer extended hours on weekdays and are open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The WV DMV provides convenient online car registration renewal and other auto registration services that will be accessible to new registrants after they have had their information entered into the system through the in-person, first-time registration process.
How to Register a New Car in West Virginia
Motorists wondering, "How can I register my car in West Virginia if I bought it at a dealership?" are usually pleased to discover that new car dealers are required to collect and pay all title and registration fees to the DMV. Drivers wondering how to get car registration for a new car purchased at an out-of-state dealership need to ask the seller to provide the dealer invoice showing the purchase price, and submit it with their title and registration application. If the new car does not have an inspection sticker, the owner has just three days to get a valid sticker on the vehicle. At the time of car registration, West Virginia applicants have the option of choosing from a wide range of specialty license plates to reflect personal interests such as charities, sports, careers and college affiliations. These special vehicle registration plates can be ordered at the same time as the registration, for an additional fee.
How to Register a Used Car in West Virginia
WV car registration applicants should know that the state requires all cars to undergo a basic safety inspection every year. These DMV car registration requirements can be obtained at any official inspection station ran by the West Virginia State Police. The state offers vehicle inspection reciprocity with Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, therefore, new residents from these states are legally permitted use their prior state inspection stickers until they expire. New residents have 30 days to get car registration documents and titling on their vehicles whether they are part of the reciprocal inspection program or not. New residents getting car registration documents are not charged the state sales tax on the vehicle value if they can prove that they had the title registered in their name in another state. This exemption happens when the applicant shows proof of new residency, usually by presenting their new West Virginia driver's license.
Car registration applicants with a lienholder on their title can submit a completed Form DMV-1-TR, Application for Certificate of Title, insurance information and a completed Form DMV-TM-1, Odometer Disclosure Statement. Providing the DMV car registration agent with a copy of the title and a letter from the lienholder can prevent any gaps in receiving the registration.
Temporary West Virginia Vehicle Registration
Although some states offer temporary car registration tags for individuals facing gaps in obtaining permanent vehicle registration, West Virginia does not issue temporary registrations for vehicles bought in private sales or transferred here from another state. Drivers who need to get car registration for vehicles bought from a licensed West Virginia car dealer can ask the dealer to print a temporary tag if necessary, but access to this system is limited to dealers alone.
Motorists with questions about getting car registration services can call the WV DMV at (304) 558-3900 or email dot.DMVcommissioner@wv.gov. Car registry applicants who need to mail any registry-related paperwork should use the following address:
P.O. Box 11710
Charleston, WV 25317
West Virginia DMV headquarters are located at 5707 MacCorkle Ave. SE in Charleston. This location offers the most extensive office hours and the widest variety of services.