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How to Get a Car Registration

Driving without a car registration is against the law. If you get a new car, the final step toward making it legal is to register it.


  • Step 1: Check the requirements Check with your state's DMV or Secretary of State office to learn the specific requirements for registering a vehicle in your state.
  • TIP: Do not attempt to obtain a car registration if your driver's license has been suspended or revoked.
  • Step 2: Locate the sales contract Locate a copy of the sales contract or bill of sale, or, if your state requires it, an affidavit confirming the purchase price, a description of the vehicle, the vehicle's VIN number, names of the seller and buyer, date or purchase, and odometer reading.
  • TIP: Be sure you have full insurance coverage -- including collision coverage, on the vehicle if there is a lien against it. This will probably be a requirement for registering the vehicle in your state.
  • Step 3: Locate emission test results Have evidence that the vehicle has passed an auto emissions test and operational testing, as required by your state.
  • Step 4: Take the documents to the registration office Take the required documents to your vehicle registration office. Pay the taxes, license plate or sticker fees, and any fees associated with transferring the vehicle to your name. The car will finally be legally registered in your name.
  • FACT: A wind-powered car was invented in 1335.

You Will Need

  • DMV or Secretary of State office
  • Title
  • Proof of insurance
  • Sales contract
  • Bill of sale or affidavit
  • Emissions test results
  • Taxes

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