Register Car in Arkansas
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If it’s time for your annual registration renewal, head over to our Registration Renewals to learn about renewal options and fees.
You must follow the process for a first-time registration if you:
- Bought a new or pre-owned vehicle, whether from a dealership or private seller
- Someone is transferring vehicle ownership to you, whether a lienholder, family member, or friend
- Just moved to the state and need an Arkansas registration
You have 30 days to register your vehicle. If you’ve just moved to the state, that means you have 30 days from the date you established residency. If you’ve just purchased a vehicle, or need to transfer ownership, you have 30 days from the date the vehicle became yours.
Failure to meet the 30-day deadline will result in penalty fees (see below).
Before you register your vehicle, you must cover it with a liability insurance policy that meets the minimum coverage requirements. The OMV requests proof of this insurance, so start shopping for affordable coverage now.
If you purchased your vehicle from a dealership, the dealer probably handled both your titling and registration transactions.
If you purchased your vehicle from a private seller, you need to transfer ownership; if you’ve just moved to the state, you must title and register your vehicle yourself.
You can title and register your vehicle during the same trip, so the first thing you should do is make sure you have all the paperwork and fees involved with title transfers.
Once you’ve taken care of that, begin preparing the registration paperwork:
- Gather the vehicle’s title. (In some cases, you may need to show the Bill of Sale or invoice again, too.)
- Have proof of insurance.
- Obtain proof your County Assessor assessed the vehicle or listed the vehicle as one to be assessed for the current year.
- Obtain proof you’ve paid your personal property taxes.
- If the vehicle has an out-of-state title marked anything related to “salvage,” a law enforcement officer must conduct a VIN inspection and you must provide proof of that inspection.
- If you have a license plate you want to transfer to the new vehicle, you must provide that vehicle’s/plate’s registration information.
- If you’re new to the state, you must provide your out-of-state registration information.
- If you haven’t already, complete a Vehicle Registration Application. (This is the same form you completed when you titled the vehicle.)
In the event you haven’t yet purchased a vehicle, and are just brushing up on the steps you must take once you do, take a look at vehicle history reports. These reports provide information about a vehicle’s past (including mechanical problems, accidents, and odometer rollbacks) and help you better understand what might be in store for the vehicle’s future.
The total amount of fees you’ll pay depends on a variety of factors, including your vehicle’s weight. The OMV provides a fee schedule to help you determine your registration-related fees.
First-time registration fees are generally higher because you’re handling titling fees, taxes, and other costs. Visit the state’s fee schedule, or contact your local revenue office for help.
Various situations may require additional fees, such as:
- Not registering your vehicle on time, which results in a $3.00 per every 10-day period after the deadline.
- Not paying sales tax on time, which results in a penalty fee of 10% of the total amount due.
- Transferring a license plate from one vehicle to another (see below).
- Replacing a lost or damaged license plate, tag, or registration information.
Visit your local revenue office where you will handle both your titling and registration transactions.
The state doesn’t require vehicle safety or emissions inspections.
When you register your vehicle, the OMV will issue you a license plate; however, if you currently have a license plate you’d like to transfer to your new vehicle, you can do so for $1.00. Keep in mind if the two vehicles are of different weight classes, you must pay the difference in the registration fees.
The OMV offers a variety of personalized, vanity, and special interest plates as well as license plates for disabled drivers. Consider checking out your options and even browsing plate frames before you head to the revenue office.
Regardless of what you’ve heard people call them, “tags” or “decals” generally refer to the expiration stickers for your license plates. The OMV will most likely affix your first set, but if you receive them unattached or have questions about their proper placement, you can contact your revenue office.
Additional Tax and Credit Information
Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for credits related to trade-ins, sold vehicles, and balloon notes. For more information, visit the state’s Tax Credits and Special Refunds Section or contact the Office of Excise Tax Administration at 501-682-7106
After you register your vehicle, you can legally operate it on the roads for one year until it’s time renew your registration. During that year, and all the years to follow, make sure you’ve taken steps to keep your vehicle operating smoothly and your passengers safe.
Having an emergency kit and a good road-side assistance program on your side is beneficial, as is investing in an after-market auto warranty and a skilled auto mechanic. Keep in mind, too, you can take steps to avoid emergencies and additional safety issues when you do things like make sure your child is properly secured in an approved child safety seat and only use a hands-free headset when you need to make a phone call.
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
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