Out of all the conveniences that the Internet provides – online shopping, instant weather forecasts, windfall alerts from Nigerian bank managers – perhaps none is more appreciated than online car registration renewal. In about the same amount of time it takes to post a Facebook update, you can renew your vehicle registration for another year.
Do All States Offer Online Vehicle Registration Renewal?
This option depends on where you live. Most states offer online car registration renewal statewide while others, such as Mississippi, currently offer it based on county.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will alert you via your vehicle registration renewal form if online renewal is available.
Keep in mind, however, that depending on the policies of your state or county, certain situations may disqualify you from renewing online. Some of these might include:
- You moved but failed to notify the DMV of your new mailing address.
- Your plates have been expired for an extended length of time.
- You want to switch plate types (i.e. standard plate to a vanity plate).
If in doubt, contact your local DMV office for clarification.
How Online Vehicle Registration Renewal Works
If online tag renewal is offered in your state or county, and you’re deemed eligible to use it, your car registration renewal notice will direct you to the appropriate online renewal page. There you will find step-by-step instructions on how to proceed. Many of these pages also include Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), providing detailed information regarding the online car registration renewal process.
Though requirements vary by state and county, in most cases you will need all or some of the following:
- One of the credit cards accepted by the DMV. Payment information will be clearly stated on the page.
- Your vehicle’s license plate number.
- Your driver’s license number.
- Your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
- Proof of car insurance (if applicable).
- Your title number.
- Proof of passing an emissions test (if applicable).
- Registration renewal code and personal identification number (PIN) printed on your registration renewal notice.
- A valid email address.
- A printer (because some states require printing the receipt and carrying it in your car when driving until the new registration certificate arrives in the mail).
After submitting, the system will inform you of when your new registration certificate and tabs will arrive in the mail. Some states, such as Washington, also provide the option to pick up the new tabs from a nearby DMV office.