Register Car in Georgia
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Visit our section on renewing registrations to prepare yourself for the registration renewal process before you head out the door.
You need to go through the first-time registration process if you:
- Just bought a vehicle
- Are transferring ownership
- Are new to Georgia
Everyone has 30 days to register their vehicles. That means:
- If you just bought a vehicle or are transferring ownership, you have 30 days from the date you become the vehicle’s owner.
- If you just moved to Georgia, you have 30 days from the date you established residency.
You must carry accident liability insurance for your vehicle, and provide proof of that insurance when you register the vehicle. In addition to outlining the minimum requirements, our insurance Center helps you compare affordable rates.
The process to register your vehicle varies depending on where in the state you live, and this is one reason it’s so helpful when dealers handle the registration for you.
If your situation doesn’t involve a dealer, you must register the vehicle on your own. Again, the registration process varies, but after you handle the titling paperwork and fees, you can expect to take care of the following kinds of paperwork before contacting your County Tax Commissioner’s tag office:
- Have your driver’s license or state-issued ID card. It’s not exactly paperwork, but it’s required documentation.
- Have proof of insurance.
- Proof or residency
- If applicable, have your vehicle’s emissions inspected and obtain proof your vehicle passed.
- Have proof of ownership.
- A completed Certificate of Inspection if the current registration certificate is from a state that doesn’t issue titles. This form must be completed by a law enforcement officer.
- If you’re applying for a registration only and your vehicle doesn’t require a Georgia title, you must present the original valid registration certificate.
- Complete a Title/Tag Application.
NOTE: If your vehicle doesn’t already have a Georgia title (for example, you’re new to the state or you purchased a vehicle from another state), you must title and register the vehicle at the same time. If your vehicle is still being financed, the state requires that you show a paper copy of your title and current registration (no e-titles are accepted as of January 2009).
Another piece of paperwork you might want to consider is a Vehicle History Report for any vehicle you’re considering purchasing. This report helps you get a better picture of the vehicle and helps you determine whether it will be a wise investment for you.
The flat registration fee for regular passenger vehicles and motorcycles is $20; however, several other fees come into play when you register your vehicle.
If your vehicle isn’t a passenger vehicle or motorcycle, check the state’s rate chart.
You’ll most likely pay more the first time you register your vehicle because you’re also handling sales tax, ad valorem tax, and other title-related fees. The state provides an outline of all fees to expect depending on your situation.
You may find yourself responsible for additional fees if:
- You need to replace a license plate.
- You want to order a special license plate.
- You’re having your registration information and license plate mailed to you.
- You fail to register your vehicle within the 30-day time period.
- You’re required to have your vehicle’s emissions inspected.
Check the state’s list of additional fees for more details.
An employee at your County Tax Commissioner’s tag office will help you title and register your vehicle.
The state requires certain vehicles registered in certain counties to undergo emissions inspections before they receive license plates. These inspections range from $10.00 - $25.00
Learn more about emissions inspection requirements, exemptions, extensions, and waivers at Smog & Emission Checks.
You can transfer your old vehicle’s license plate to your new vehicle if both vehicles require the same kind of plate. For example, you can transfer your plate from your car to your pick-up truck, but not from your car to the vehicle you use for agricultural purposes.
In addition to standard and disabled driver license plates, you can choose from among an assortment of plates that reflect your personality, your special interest or organization, or your college or university. You can even encase the license plate in a special frame.
Generally, your license plate’s sticker, or decal, goes in the bottom right corner of your license plate; however, if you receive your plate and sticker unattached, always follow the enclosed instructions or contact your County Tax Commissioner’s tag office.
Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for a tax deduction based on the amount of taxes you paid on the vehicle and the general sales tax rate. You can read up on this benefit in Chapter 22 of the IRS’s Publication 17, but be sure to contact a tax attorney and the County Tax Commissioner with any questions.
Before you hit the roads, make sure you’re taking precautions against, and preparing for, emergencies.
The state is fairly lenient with its cell phone regulations (only school bus drivers are restricted), but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a hands-free headset rather than leave one hand on the wheel. The state is not lenient, however, on child safety seats, so make sure your little one is securely fastened in one of many approved models.
Look into available after-market auto warranties and a reputable auto mechanic for regular maintenance and emergency repairs, but keep in mind car problems usually don’t arise in your driveway. It’s good to have a well-stocked car emergency kit in the trunk and the number of a road-side assistance program on speed dial.
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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