How to Register a Vehicle After Moving

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While vehicle registration procedures may vary slightly in each state, the reason you must register your vehicle when you move is essentially the same. Vehicle registration ensures that you're paying the proper state taxes and fees and that you have a valid title from that state. Find out what general steps you'll need to take to register your vehicle in your new state.

Things You'll Need

  • Registration application
  • Valid certificate of title
  • Current registration
  • Lien release card
  • Lease agreement
  • Leasing company tax identification number
  • Mileage on odometer
  • Proof of insurance
  • Driver’s license
  • Cash/check for payment of appropriate fees
  • Before you move, verify which documents you'll need in the state you're moving to. This allows you time to obtain a missing title, lien card or lease agreement in the state where you currently live and save any hassles of obtaining them long-distance. Have all the needed proofs on hand, and save yourself a return trip to the DMV office.

  • Download a vehicle registration application online, if available, before heading to your local DMV. Fill out the form completely, sign and date.

  • Properly insure your vehicle. Every state has minimum liability insurance requirements or proof of financial responsibility. Learn about the no-fault insurance laws in the state you're moving to and purchase insurance coverage before registering. You will need a copy of the policy or proof of insurance card to present at the DMV office.

  • Bring an adequate amount of money to cover all costs, taxes and fees for all the vehicles you will be registering. Many offices will accept only cash or check.

  • Complete your vehicle registration in a timely manner. Most states require that you register your out-of-state vehicle within a certain time frame, typically 30 to 60 days. If you fall outside the designated window, you may need to pay a penalty fee.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your new state to verify its specific registration procedures.
  • Before you move, contact that state's Department of Motor Vehicles and find out if you need to turn in your license plates; also find out if you're eligible for a refund on your vehicle registration.
  • Only the person named on the vehicle title may sign the vehicle registration application. You will have to visit the DMV in person to complete the registration process.
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