Register Car in Delaware
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The steps and fees to renew your registration vary from those related to first-time registrations. Check out our section on registration renewals for details.
You’re registering your vehicle for the first time if you’re:
- Registering a vehicle you’ve just purchased
- Transferring a vehicle’s ownership
- New to Delaware
Because you must title the vehicle before you can register it, and because you can handle the titling and registration processes back to back, you should register your vehicle within the same 30-day time limit.
If you’re new to the state, you have 60 days to complete the registration.
In order to both title and register your vehicle, you need to show proof of insurance. Our Insurance Center outlines the state’s requirements and helps you shop for affordable rates.
If you purchased your vehicle from a dealership, take a break; dealers normally handle the titling and registration paperwork for you.
If you just moved to the state, or you purchased your vehicle from an individual or need to transfer ownership for another reason, you must handle the paperwork yourself.
Because most folks handle the titling and registration processes at the same time, it’s important take note of the paperwork and fees associated with title transfers. The state also provides a list of requirements based on your situation.
Then, make sure you have ready the paperwork required for registration:
- Check to see the title is properly signed over to you. (If you’ve just moved to the state or purchased a vehicle from another state, make sure you have the vehicle’s notarized out-of-state title.)
- Make sure you have proof of an insurance policy that meets the minimum coverage requirements.
- Have proof the vehicle passed the required inspection (see below). This proof will be a completed Form MV-212. The inspection technician will issue this form; it’s not available online. (NOTE: You may apply for a temporary registration if you’ve just purchased the vehicle and need to transport it for an inspection. See below for details.)
If you haven’t purchased a vehicle yet, you may also want to look into vehicle history reports. These reports provide information about the history of each vehicle you’re considering.
For $40, you can register your passenger vehicle for one year; for $80, you can register it for two years. Certain models of passenger vehicles also allow for longer registration periods, i.e. up to $200 for up to five years. You can use the state’s fee calculator to determine the exact amount you’ll pay for both titling and registering the vehicle.
Because you must cover fees associated with the titling process, including document fees, you can expect to pay more when you register the vehicle for the first time than you’ll pay when you renew the registration.
Check the fees related to your situation at the state’s Motor Vehicle Fees.
NOTE: If you’re new to the state and purchased your vehicle within 90 days of moving to the state, you may be eligible for a credit based on any comparable sales tax you paid in your old state. Please contact your DMV office for details.
When you register your vehicle, and at any point during vehicle ownership, be prepared to pay additional fees in the form of:
- Vehicle inspection late fees and failure fees (see below).
- Temporary registration fees (see below).
- Registration renewal fees, including late fees.
- Specialty tag fees.
- Replacement fees for lost, damaged, or stolen registration information and tags.
You can register your vehicle in person at your local DMV office.
Unless you purchased your vehicle new from a dealer and can provide a completed Form MV-212A, a vehicle inspection at your local DMV office is a requirement for titling and registering your vehicle. The inspection is free, but you must provide the vehicle’s title and proof of insurance.
The vehicle inspection is free, and in addition to making sure the vehicle is functioning properly, the inspection technician will also check the exhaust emissions and possibly the fuel system. Once your vehicle’s passes inspection, the technician will give you a completed Form MV-212 and send you to title and register the vehicle.
In certain situations, you may find you need a temporary registration. Perhaps you need a registration to transport the vehicle to the inspection station, or maybe you need a temporary registration because your vehicle failed the inspection and you need to make repairs.
You can apply for a temporary registration at your local DMV office. Make sure you have proof of ownership, residency, and insurance as well as the $10 fee. Temporary registrations may be valid for up to 30 days.
If you purchased your vehicle at a dealership, the dealer undoubtedly provided you with temporary tags that are valid for 60 days. You should receive permanent tags in the mail within those 60 days.
Otherwise, you’ll handle the paperwork for obtaining tags when you visit your DMV office. You may want to check out the options for special tags, such as vanity tags or tags for disabled drivers. Of course, whether you jazz things up or not, you can always border your tags with an attractive frame.
The DMV may or may not affix the decals for you; if you receive the tags and decals unattached, follow the enclosed instructions for affixing the decals or contact your local DMV office.
Like many DMV-related transactions, whether you’re eligible for a tax deduction of any sort generally depends on your situation. You can brief yourself on the IRS’s requirements when you read Chapter 22 of Publication 17, but it’s always safest to contact the Division of Revenue and a tax attorney before tax season rolls around.
When your vehicle is inspected during the titling and registration processes, the inspection technician checks to make sure your vehicle is safe enough to operate on the roads. Of course, the safety measures don’t have to stop there. You can also:
- Get your hands on a car emergency kit to help yourself deal with minor problems, and enroll in a road-side assistance program should you suffer troubles beyond your experience level.
- Make sure your passengers are properly buckled up, and secure youngsters in approved child safety seats.
- Reserve phone calls while driving to only those that are absolutely necessary, and use a hands-free headset during those times.
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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We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.