Car Registration in Alabama
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Vehicle Registration in Alabama
Alabama requires all vehicles to be registered in order to legally drive on AL roadways. If you are moving to Alabama or purchasing a new or used vehicle, you will need to visit the Alabama Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division to register your vehicle and get your license plates.
This page is for first time registrations only. If your vehicle is already registered, go to the Registration Renewal page to learn how to maintain your Alabama registration.
1. Before registering your vehicle, you must first apply for an Alabama title.
2. Alabama requires insurance for all vehicles on Alabama roads. You will need to provide proof of insurance in order to register your vehicle.
When you move to Alabama, you must register your vehicle within 30 days. You need an Alabama title and insurance before you can register your car or truck. Once you have a title and insurance, follow the steps below based on whether your vehicle is owned or leased.
Register an Out-of-State Vehicle (Non-Leased)
To register your out-of-state vehicle that you own (i.e. you don’t lease it), go to the county licensing office and:
- Submit your vehicle title.
- All vehicle owners on the title must be present or a power of attorney must be presented for the owners who are not present.
- Present lienholder information, if applicable.
- Financed vehicles must have a copy of the front and back of the title from the lien holder.
- Show your current out-of-state vehicle registration.
- Complete a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection.
- Pay all the applicable fees (see “Vehicle Registration Fees” below).
Register a Leased Vehicle from Out-of-State
If the vehicle you are bringing into the state is leased, go to the county licensing office and:
- Submit the title or a copy of the front and back of the title from the leasing company.
- Have the power of attorney from your leasing company allowing you to register the vehicle.
- Show current out-of-state vehicle registration.
- Present the vehicle for inspection of federal ID number for the leasing company.
- Pay all the applicable fees (please see “Vehicle Registration Fees” below).
Residents of Alabama who buy a vehicle, either from a dealership or a private party, must register it within 20 days of taking ownership.
Vehicles Purchased from a Dealer
Car dealerships in Alabama may submit the title application when you purchase the vehicle. You will be required to have documentation of the application when you register the car or truck.
Go to the county licensing office and submit:
- The yellow copy of the Alabama title application, vehicle title, or manufacturer's certificate of origin.
- Bill of sale with itemized sales tax information.
- A dealer's affidavit, if the dealership was in another state.
- Any license plates from the vehicle, if applicable.
- A copy of the most recent registration, if applicable.
- A valid Alabama driver’s license proving residence in the county where you are registering the vehicle.
- Proof of insurance, if the licensing office cannot confirm your insurance online.
- Any license plates you may wish to transfer to the new vehicle.
- An odometer disclosure statement for vehicles less than 10 years old and less than 16,000 lbs.
- Payment for all applicable fees (please see “Vehicle Registration Fees” below).
Vehicles Purchased from a Private Party
Buying a used car from a private party is slightly different than getting one from a dealership. You will be transferring the title at the same time you are registering the vehicle. Titling fees and taxes will be charged along with the Alabama vehicle registration fees.
Go to the county licensing office and:
- Submit a properly completed title from the previous owner.
- Vehicles with out-of-state titles will also need to have a VIN inspection done in order to title and register the vehicle.
- Return any old plates from the purchased vehicle.
- Bring your old license plates if you plan to transfer them to the new vehicle.
- Show your Alabama driver’s license showing proof of residency in the county of registration.
- Submit proof of insurance if the licensing office cannot confirm your insurance online.
- Show the most recent registration documents for the purchased vehicle.
- Record the odometer reading for vehicles less than 10 years old and less than 16,000 lbs.
- Pay all the applicable fees (please see "Vehicle Registration Fees" below).
Register a Leased Vehicle
Leased vehicles are registered in the same way as other vehicles, except you must also bring:
- The power of attorney form from the leasing company allowing you to register the vehicle.
- A copy of the lease agreement for the vehicle.
Laws are different for members of the military registering their vehicles in Alabama depending on whether you are from out of state and stationed in AL, an Alabama resident currently in the state, or resident stationed somewhere else.
Non-Resident Military Registration
Members of any of the Armed Forces branches stationed in Alabama are not required to register their vehicle(s) with the Alabama Motor Vehicles Division as long as you have a current registration in your home state and valid insurance.
If you would like to register your vehicle in Alabama, you can do so by following the process outlined above for new Alabama residents.
Resident Military Registration
Alabama residents have the same registration process as civilians. Follow the process above in the “Registering a Vehicle in Alabama” section.
AL Military Residents Stationed Out of State
If you are stationed outside of Alabama, you may be able to register your vehicle by mail. You will need to contact your county licensing office to find out if they offer this service.
You can also fill out a power of attorney to have a family member in Alabama title and register the vehicle for you. They will need all the information listed in the “Registering a Vehicle in Alabama” section above, along with the power of attorney paperwork.
Car registration fees depend on a number of factors. Fees for first time registrations are calculated according to:
- Vehicle type (car, truck, motorcycle, etc.).
- Vehicle weight.
- Registration renewal month.
- Renewal month is based upon the first letter of the owner's last name. The initial registration fee will be pro-rated to reflect the number of months until you renew your registration.
- County taxes and surcharges.
You will need to contact your county licensing office to find out how much the registration fees will cost. You can get a general estimate of what they will cost from the Alabama Registration (Tag) Fee Schedule.
If you have a custom-built car in Alabama, you will need to follow a slightly different process to register your car with the DMV. The documents you'll need depend on the age of your kit or chassis.
You'll need to submit the following to your local AL DMV office:
- A completed Application for Inspection of a Salvage Vehicle and Affirmation Supporting Salvage Certificate (Form INV 26-15E).
- Manufacturer's certificate of origin (certified), if you used a new kit.
- A registration receipt for the vehicle the chassis/frame came from OR a completed bill of sale (must include the previous vehicle's vehicle identification number), if your chassis or frame is from 1974 or earlier.
- The previous vehicle's certificate of title transferred to you, from which the chassis is from, if it is from 1975 or later.
- A bill of sale for each major component of your car that was purchased separately.
- Be sure to include the trade name and serial number for each part.
- An affidavit from whoever assembled the vehicle.
- Must list everything that was done to the car to have it assembled.
- Must certify that the car is in full working condition.
- Must be notarized.
- Payment for the following fees:
- Inspection: $75.
- Title certificate: $15.
NOTE: Your car will need to pass an inspection before it will be registered.
Alabama does not require emissions inspections to register your vehicle.
Out-of-state vehicles are required to have a VIN inspection before being registered in Alabama to make sure the vehicle identification number matches the numbers on the out-of-state title.
You will receive your license plates and registration stickers when you complete your Alabama vehicle registration.
There are many different license plates available in Alabama. If you order any sort of specialty or personalized license plates, you may have to wait to get them. Visit the License Plates & Placards in Alabama page for more information on license plates.Other Topics in This Section
- Submit your vehicle title.