If you buy a car, you’ll have a legal obligation to register it under your name. Furthermore, it’s crucial to register a vehicle within a few days of purchasing it.
However, most states will give you 30 days grace period to register.
This guide highlights seven things you should bring when you register your car. It also answers some frequently asked questions regarding car registrations.
Table of Contents
1. IDENTITY DOCUMENT
An identity card is the form of identification you should bring when you register your car. Authorities will use it to review your eligibility to register a vehicle. If you don’t have any form of identification, you can always request an administrative review to determine your eligibility to register a car.
For instance, they will ask you to complete a B-360 form in Connecticut.
You will then have to wait for up to 30 days for them to process your application. Once the authorities determine that you are a resident, they will ask for more information from you.
They may also want you to confirm who will be operating the vehicle.
2. A DRIVER’S LICENSE
You will also need to bring your driver’s license to register a car.
A driver’s license is an essential document for anyone driving a vehicle. Not only do authorities use a driver’s license to see that you are eligible to drive a car, but to confirm what kind of car you can drive.
If your driver’s license is from another country, you can still use it to register your car.
The U.S state allows you to use your international driver’s license for up to one year.
3. PROOF OF INSURANCE
Without proof of insurance, it is nearly impossible to register a car. Almost every driver in the United States should have car insurance to drive a car.
The rules governing car registration will differ from state to state, though. But most states will require that you insure your car before registering it.
A few states allow you to register a car without having insurance.
For instance, drivers can register their vehicles without insurance in:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota,
Still, those states will give you a specific time frame to provide proof of insurance after registering your car.
The following documents will constitute proof of insurance:
- A certificate of insurance.
- A completed original affidavit signed by you.
- A copy of the insurance policy or agreement.
4. A CAR TITLE or a signed lease agreement.
Next up, you need to bring the car title or a signed lease agreement when you register a car. A car title is a document that states the vehicle’s rightful owner.
You will have to fill out the Application for Certificate of Title With or Without Registration. They will request you to show proof of valid auto insurance.
From there, you will fill out the insurance Affidavit, too.
If you are leasing a car, sometimes you may have to get power of attorney (POA). The POA will give you the authority to sign on behalf of your leasing company.
5. Proof that the vehicle passed a SAFETY INSPECTION.
If you register a car, you should bring proof that your vehicle has passed a safety of inspection. In the United States, all vehicles should pass an official state safety and emissions inspection every year.
If your car fails this test, you can’t register it under your name.
Besides, you can’t legally drive your vehicle on any state’s roads.
This test aims to keep you safe on the road and other drivers, too. You will also get a chance to fix problems in your car before they can cause any accidents.
All drivers have to put the 10-day Inspection Sticker on their vehicles in other states. Then you will mark the box on the sticker that indicates you entered that particular state and on which date.
6. Bring a completed vehicle registration APPLICATION FORM.
Next up, you need to complete a vehicle registration application form.
The “REG 343” form is a legal document that allows you to apply for vehicle title and registration.
Car owners also use it to register cars brought into a new state. You will also use this document to reregister vehicles after being salvaged, junked, or removed from the roads.
If you are unsure how to complete the vehicle registration application form, follow these easy steps:
- Read the document thoroughly.
- Write your name and surname.
- State the vehicle’s identification number.
- Write the make and model of the car.
- State the fuel type of the vehicle,
- State the engine number,
- Write the correct license number,
- Indicate if the car is a sedan, SUV, etc.
- If you are registering a motorcycle, state the engine number.
- State the length and width of trailers.
7. REGISTRATION FEE.
The payment for car registration in the United States will vary from one state to another. Some states will have a flat fee for the registration of cars.
Others will assess the price based on vehicle weight, horsepower, or age.
Some states assess registration fees based on the price of the car. For instance, in Colorado, they assess the registration fee on the vehicle year make. In contrast, Utah uses vehicle weight to determine the registration fee.
In those states, you should expect to pay between $200 to $600.
Check the prices at this link, and make sure you have the right amount of money.
Can I Register My Car If I Am a Minor?
If you are 18 years old, you can still own a car.
But you will need your legal guardian or parent to sign the papers for you. You will also need a Consent to Purchase Certification, which requires your parents’ signature.
Without that document, you can’t register a car in most states.
When Should You Not Worry About Car Registration?
If you bought your car directly from a car dealer, the dealer would register the car for you. But they will still ask for your driver’s license, identification, and proof of insurance.
That doesn’t mean you should assume every car dealer will register the car for you.
It’s safe to confirm this with them instead of waiting for them to register it.
Once the dealer registers the car for you, they will collect your license plate, registration fees, and sales tax. You will then collect your license plates at the dealership. Usually, it takes 45 days to get a copy of the paper title for a financed vehicle.
The car will be registered under your name but titled to the bank or financing company.
You will only receive the title of your car once you finish paying off the car loan.
Keep this in mind, when you relocate to a new state, you will need to register your car again. Most states give you six weeks to register your vehicle.
Remember, once you register your car, there are things you should get.
First, you’ll get a set of license plates and a registration card. Depending on your state, you will also receive a sticker to affix to your car window.
The registration doesn’t last indefinitely.
Typically, it will expire within three years. So it’s crucial to know when is the right time to renew your registration. Failing to renew your registration may lead to fines, or the state may impound your car.
Fortunately, in many states, you can renew your registration online.