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  • Car Registration in Delaware

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    Register Your Car in Delaware

    This page contains the steps for registering your car with the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Information for new DE residents, vehicle titling (which you must do before you can register), insurance requirements, fees, and transferring registration between vehicles may also be found below as well.

    If you have already registered a vehicle in Delaware and want to renew your car registration, check out our DE Registration Renewal guide.

    New to Delaware?

    Upon establishing residency, you have 60 days to apply for a DE vehicle registration certificate with the DMV. You must title and register your vehicle in person at your local DMV office.

    Before registering, you first need to have the following:

    • Proof of Delaware auto insurance.
      • Your coverage must meet the following minimums:
        • Bodily injury for one person: $15,000.
        • Bodily injury for one or more persons: $30,000.
        • Damage or destruction to property: $10,000.
    • Proof of passing a vehicle inspection.
      • After passing the inspection, a safety technician will hand you a Certificate of Title application (Form MV-212) for you to complete and bring, in person, to your local DE DMV office.

    Once you meet these tasks, you’re ready to apply for a Delaware car registration certificate.

    To do so, visit your local DMV office with:

    • Proof of car insurance.
    • A completed Certificate of Title application (Form MV-212).
      • This is not available online. An inspection safety technician will give this to you after the inspection.
    • Your out-of-state car title.
    • A Delaware driver’s license.
    • Payment for all registration and titling fees (see “Vehicle Registration Fees” below).

    You will have the option to register your vehicle for 1 year or 2 years.

    Register a Vehicle in Delaware

    Vehicles Purchased from a Dealer

    If you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, the dealer will usually submit the paperwork for titling and vehicle registration for you. It’s always wise to confirm this before leaving the dealership.

    Note that a brand new passenger vehicle that has never been titled or registered before may qualify for a registration that spans longer than standard registration. Your dealer will be able to handle this option for you.

    Vehicles Purchased from a Private Party

    You must register the vehicle within 30 days of the purchase date. Before applying, the vehicle first needs to pass a vehicle inspection.

    After your vehicle passes inspection, visit your local DE DMV office and present:

    • Proof of DE auto insurance.
    • A Delaware driver’s license.
    • The vehicle’s signed-over title.
    • Payment for all fees (see “Vehicle Registration Fees” below).

    You will have the option to register your vehicle for 1 year or 2 years, depending on the model of your vehicle.

    Vehicles Purchased Out-of-State

    If you’re a Delaware resident and purchased a vehicle out-of-state, you must meet the same requirements for registering the vehicle just as if you purchased it in-state.

    Therefore, you must:

    • Buy car insurance from a provider licensed to operate in Delaware.
    • Complete a vehicle inspection (an inspection technician you will give you a Title and Registration application (Form MV-212) after your vehicle passes inspection).

    If the current out-of-state registration has expired on the vehicle, you may purchase a 5 day temporary tag from the DE DMV. This will allow you to drive the vehicle into the state and take it to inspection.

    To purchase a temporary tag, go to any DE DMV office and present:

    • Proof of car insurance.
    • Bill of sale or vehicle title.
    • Vehicle identification number (VIN).
    • Vehicle make, model, and year.
    • Payment to cover $10 fee.

    Transferring a Delaware Car Registration

    To transfer your registration (i.e. license plates) between two vehicles, visit your local DE DMV office and:

    • Present the titles for both vehicles that you will be transferring registration between.
    • Provide odometer disclosures for both vehicles on their respective titles.
    • Sign and print your name on the vehicle title you will be transferring your registration to.
    • Pay all necessary title and registration fees.

    Military & Out-of-State Delaware Vehicle Registration

    Military Members & Vehicle Registration

    DE Resident Military Members

    There are no registration fee exemptions or waivers for DE military members residing in the state. Simply register your vehicle according to the steps outlined above.

    DE Military Stationed Out of State

    If you’re stationed outside of a 250 mile radius of a Delaware DMV office, you’ll need to request an Out-of-State Inspection Packet from the DMV’s Registration Correspondence office. Refer to “Registration for Out-of-State Residents” below for step-by-step details.

    Non-Resident Military Stationed in Delaware

    If you’re a non-resident military member stationed in Delaware, you are allowed to drive with your out-of-state license plates provided you keep the car registration current.

    However, if you retire from the military and remain in Delaware, you and all dependents have a grace period of 60 days before you must register your vehicle(s) with the DMV.

    Delaware Vehicle Registration for Out-of-State Residents

    If you’re living outside of a 250 mile radius of a Delaware DMV office, you’ll need to request an Out-of-State Inspection Packet from the DMV’s Registration Correspondence office. Send your request to:

    Division of Motor Vehicles
    ATTN: Correspondence Section
    P.O. Box 698
    Dover, DE 19903

    In the packet, you’ll find a safety inspection checklist and emission test requirements. Take the packet and your vehicle to a mechanic or dealership. Ask them to inspect your vehicle as instructed in the Out-of-State Inspection Packet.

    After the inspection, you’ll need an endorsement from the inspecting mechanic that your vehicle conforms to Delaware’s emission and safety requirements.

    Mail the following to the address provided in the Out-of-State Inspection packet:

    • Photocopy of your DE driver’s license and insurance card.
    • Inspecting mechanic’s endorsement.
    • A self-addressed envelope for your current address.
    • Payment for DE car registration fees (see “Vehicle Registration Fees” below).

    Delaware Vehicle Registration Fees

    • Vehicle registration fee per year: $40.
    • Duplicate license plates with sticker: $6.
    • Duplicate plates without sticker: $5.
    • Duplicate Delaware car registration card: $2.
    • Vehicle Inspection: Free.

    You may review the DE DMV’s auto registration fee chart or use the fee calculator to estimate the registration/title fees you will be expected to pay to title and register your vehicle. DMV offices accept the following forms of payment:

    • Cash.
    • Check or money order.
    • Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express credit/debit cards.

    Custom-Built Car Registration

    Before you can register a custom-built car in Delaware, you'll need to first have a vehicle identification number (VIN) assigned to it an apply for a certificate of title.

    Visit your local auto theft inspection station to have a VIN assigned.

    Once your car has passed the inspection, you can apply for a certificate of title and have it registered.

    You will generally follow the same steps as outlined in "Register a Vehicle in Delaware" above, however you may need to provide additional documents and/or fees. Contact the Delaware DMV for more information.

    Obtain a Duplicate Delaware Vehicle Registration Certificate

    Even though you have paid all your vehicle registration fees, you still must have your car’s registration certificate available to present to law enforcement officials when required, and your registration decals (stickers) must be present and legible at all times.

    Check out our guide to Replace a Lost DE Registration for steps on how to order replacement registration materials.

    Vehicle Inspections in DE

    The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires vehicles to undergo regular vehicle inspections, which consists of two parts:

    • A safety test.
    • An emissions and smog check.

    If you are new to the state and registering for the first time, you will have to complete a vehicle inspection.

    There are exceptions for vehicles currently registered in the state based on such things as:

    • The year of the vehicle.
    • When the last inspection was completed.

    Check out our DE Smog & Emission Checks page for more information.

    Delaware License Plates

    While registering your vehicle, the DE DMV will give you a wide range of license plate designs to choose from, including vanity plates. To learn more, visit our License Plates & Placards page.

    Replace Lost or Stolen DE License Plate

    Go to your local Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles office with:

    • Proof of car insurance.
    • You car’s title.
    • Payment to cover the $6 fee for plate with sticker.

    The DE DMV strongly suggests reporting this to the police if you suspect the plate was stolen.