How To Register Your Vehicle


When you buy a vehicle, whether it's brand new or used, you have to register it with your state.

What is vehicle registration?

A vehicle registration shows who owns that vehicle. When you buy a car, you must register it so that it's in your name. You'll also need to register your vehicle when you move to a new state.

What documents do I need for vehicle registration?

The documents you need vary depending on what state you're registering in. Typically, you'll need the following:

  • A completed vehicle registration form
  • Your driver's license
  • Proof of insurance
  • The title to your vehicle, or the signed lease agreement
  • Sales tax payment receipt
  • Proof that your vehicle passed a safety inspection
  • Proof your vehicle passed a smog test

Be sure to check your state's specific requirements for what documents you'll need. You can find a link to each state's website at the end of this article!

Where should I put my vehicle registration?

If you're stopped by law enforcement, they may ask to see your vehicle's registration. Many people store their original vehicle registration in their glove compartment so that it's easily-accessible, however, this isn't recommended by safety experts. If someone were to break into your vehicle, you wouldn't want them to have access to documents with your full name and home address.

Instead, consider keeping a copy of your vehicle's registration with your driver's license. That way, it's always with you when you're driving, but you're not leaving it in the car when it's parked. You can store your original registration in a safe place at home.

If your state requires you to carry your original registration in your vehicle, it's a good idea not to leave it in the car when you're not driving.

How to Find Vehicle Registration Information in Your State

Click on your state below to learn more about how your state handles vehicle registration.

Take an Online Course to Learn More

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