5 Things You Need To Know About Vehicle Registration When You Move To A New State

If you move to a new state, you may be wondering if you need to register your car. In most cases, you are required to register your car with the DMV in your new state within a certain amount of time (the exact time varies from state to state).

Wondering about the process? It varies depending on where you are, but here's what you need to know to get started.

1. You Might Not Be Able to Register Online

Many states allow you to take care of a lot of DMV business online. Unfortunately, things are typically not that easy when you register for the first time in a new state.

Often you have to complete the process in person and submit a lot of information. For example, if you move to California from another state or country, you have to fill out several forms, go to the DMV, and bring your out of state license plate, a title holder release, a smog certificate, a weight certificate, and the required fees as well as other documents.

2. The New State Isn't Required to Accept Your Registration

In most cases, you should be able to register your vehicle in your new state. However, there is no guarantee. The rules vary from area to area, and that can affect your ability to register the car.

For example, only nine counties in Colorado require emissions tests to register a vehicle. If you live in any of the other 55 counties in the state, your vehicle isn't required to have an emissions test. If you are living in one of those areas and you move to California or any other area that requires cars to have low emissions, your car may not qualify. As a result, you may have to get some work done before you complete the new registration.

3. Cars Aren't the Only Thing You Have to Register

Of course, if you have multiple motor vehicles, you usually have to register all of them in your new state. In addition to cars, this includes but is not limited to boats, snowmobiles, and ATVs. In all cases, you need to register cars, but the rules can vary on other types of vehicles.

For instance, in Wisconsin, you must register your ATV. However, in Texas, you don't have to register ATVs that you plan to use off the highway. Ultimately, you need to check the DMV's site for the area where you are planning to move so you stay on the right side of the law.

4. You Don't Always Have to Do Your Own Registration

In most cases, when you move to a new state, you have to go to the DMV personally and register the vehicle. However, there are exceptions to the rule. To illustrate, in New York, another person can handle your vehicle registration on your behalf.

However, you have to give them power of attorney, and they must bring a copy of your ID as well as their ID and any other necessary documents to the DMV. Other states tend to have similar protocols in place.

5. Once You Register, Renewal Is Easy

Setting up registration for your vehicle in your new state is always hardest the first time. Once you are established, doing future DMV registration tends to be easy. Most states simply send you a notification in the mail. Then, you can pay online or mail in a check.  

To make this process easier, you may want to contact a DMV registration specialist. You should do as much research as possible before you get to your new area. That way, you can plan and budget for any repairs you need to make and for registration fees.