Registration Renewal in Arizona
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Car registration in the state is valid for either one or two years. You can usually choose the option that suits you best, although your vehicle is not eligible for two-year registration if it must pass an annual emissions test.
Renew AZ Registration
According to state law, you must register every vehicle you plan to drive or park on public roads. The law also requires that you carry at least a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage. If you're dissatisfied with your current policy, or haven't found an acceptable quote yet, visit our online Insurance Center to check out and compare companies and rates.
For full details on registration renewal, scroll down to the section titled "Check Your Renewal Notice."
Register a Vehicle in AZ for the First Time
You typically need a first-time registration when you purchase a car or move to a new state. The state doesn't offer a grace period after you buy a car or become a resident. Learn everything you need to know about first-time registration in our section on Car Registration.
Register a Non-Operational Vehicle
If you no longer drive your vehicle on public roads, you don't need to renew the existing registration.
Reinstating registration on a non-operational car isn't so easy, however. If you wish to re-register a car that was registered in the past five years, you can use the license plate number or the VIN to register the car at the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).
If the car hasn't been registered in the past five years, contact the MVD for information on how to register it.
The MVD sends out a notice as your renewal deadline approaches. If you don't receive one through the mail, you can simply use your current registration certificate as your renewal application.
Your renewal notice contains all the information you need to register your car, including total taxes and fees owed, whether your vehicle must pass an emissions test, and identification information for your vehicle.
The state has a flat registration fee of $8 per year, but the real charges come in the form of the vehicle license tax (VLT). The VLT is figured based on the value of your vehicle, so it varies year to year. The state also charges an air quality research tax of $1.50, and various fees for specialized or personalized license plates.
If you have not received a renewal notice in the mail and plan to use your current registration certificate as your renewal application, call the MVD at one of the following numbers to find out the total amount you owe:
- Phoenix: (602) 255-0072
- Tucson: (520) 629-9808
- All other AZ regions: (800) 251-5866
Another fee related to all registered vehicles is the insurance payment. Although you don't need to show proof of insurance when you renew your registration, you do need to have it. The MVD receives electronic notification about the insurance policies of drivers, and will cancel your registration if your policy lapses.
Avoid Late Fees and Penalties
Your registration will expire either on the 15th of the month or the end of the month. Your renewal notice―and current registration certificate―will include the exact registration date for your vehicle.
As long as you register by the deadline, or your mailed paperwork is postmarked by the deadline, you won't be subject to late fees. If you register past the deadline, you must pay an $8 penalty for the first month and $4 for each month thereafter.
There is one exception to the late penalty: If your vehicle failed emissions testing and you had the test before your deadline, you will have an extra 30 days past your deadline to get the car repaired, pass an emissions test, and complete the renewal process. For details about emissions requirements, see our section on smog and emissions.
- If applicable, make sure your vehicle passes the emissions test. Because the MVD receives the testing information electronically, you don't need to have a certificate on hand when renewing.
- Have your renewal notice handy. If you didn't receive a renewal notice, you can use your current registration certificate.
- Be prepared to pay applicable fees with a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit card or debit card.
- Sign on to EZ Renewal and follow the steps as directed.
- You'll receive your updated registration certificate and tabs at the address on the renewal notice within five business days.
- Handle any required emissions test. You don't have to present a certificate, because the MVD receives the results electronically.
- Have your renewal notice or registration certificate handy.
- Have the required fees in an acceptable form. The MVD accepts personal checks, money orders, and cash, as well as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit cards or debit cards.
- Visit your local MVD office. No appointment is necessary.
- Bring your vehicle in for an emissions test, if applicable. The MVD receives the results, so don't worry about presenting a certificate when you renew.
- Use the envelope attached to your renewal notice to send in your notice and payment. If you didn't receive a renewal notice, you can use your current registration certificate instead.
- Mail your renewal notice and a check or money order for applicable fees to:
- Motor Vehicle Division
- 4005 N. 51st Ave.
- Phoenix, AZ 85031-2688
- If applicable, have your vehicle's emissions tested. The MVD will receive the results electronically.
- Have your renewal notice or registration handy, as well as a writing utensil.
- Be prepared to pay the required fees with a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit card or debit card.
- Call (888) 713-3031. The automated service is available 24 hours a day.
When you receive your tab, the card will include instructions for placement. You don't need to remove the previous tag.
The IRS allows a tax deduction for certain types of personal property taxes, depending on how they're calculated, and vehicle fees often qualify. In this state, at least a portion of your VLT fees are tax-deductible because they are calculated on the value of the vehicle.
If you're interested in claiming the deduction, consult a reputable tax attorney to get full details for your specific situation.
Although renewing your registration makes your vehicle legal, it doesn't make it safe. You can take simple steps to protecting yourself and your passengers, however, when you maintain your vehicle and keep it in good repair. Don't skip regular maintenance like tune ups, oil changes, and tire rotation and replacement.
Being safe also means expecting the unexpected. When those minor emergencies occur on the road, a roadside assistance program can send help. Find a mechanic you can trust―preferably before you need one. And finally, an after-market auto warranty can go a long way toward taking some of the pain out of those inevitable repair bills.
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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