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  • Car Registration in Idaho

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    Idaho Vehicle Registration

    The information on this page helps you negotiate through Idaho’s car registration process.

    If you already own Idaho license plates and need to renew them, jump over to our Idaho Registration Renewal page.

    New to Idaho?

    If you are a new Idaho resident, you must register your vehicle with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 90 days of establishing Idaho residency.

    NOTE: You must title the car before registering. You can register immediately after titling on the same visit. For information on titling requirements in Idaho, visit our Title Transfers page.

    Register in person at any county assessor motor vehicle office. Before applying for Idaho license plates, you must first have proof of car insurance with a provider licensed to do business in the state. Your coverage must legally meet the following minimums:

    • $25,000 for the injury or death of one person.
    • $50,000 for the injury or death of two or more persons.
    • $15,000 for property damage or destruction.

    Once you’re ready to apply for an Idaho vehicle registration certificate, visit any local county assessor motor vehicle office with:

    • Your current out-of-state vehicle registration.
    • Your driver’s license and Social Security number.
    • Proof of address/residency.
    • Proof of a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection (you may have this completed at the motor vehicle office, if you choose).
    • Payment for registration fees (see “Vehicle Registration Fees” below).
      • You’ll be given the choice of registering your vehicle for 1 year or 2 years. If you opt for 2 years, you’ll pay double the annual fee.

    Registering a Vehicle in Idaho

    Vehicles Purchased from a Dealership

    When buying from a dealership, the dealer will submit your Idaho vehicle title and registration documents for you.

    Vehicles Purchased from a Private Party

    Before applying for an Idaho car registration, you’ll need to title the vehicle first. You have 30 days to title your vehicle after purchase date. You must title and register your vehicle in person (exceptions are for military and out-of-state residents; see below).

    To title your new vehicle in your name, provide your local county assessor with:

    * The total sales tax can vary based on whether you purchased your vehicle in Idaho or out of state and when it was purchased. For more information, please see our Idaho Title Transfers page.

    Once your vehicle is titled in your name, present:

    • The vehicle title.
      • If you send someone to register for you, make sure you’ve signed the title.
    • Your Idaho driver’s license or ID card.
    • Proof of auto insurance in Idaho.
    • Payment for Idaho vehicle registration fees (see “Vehicle Registration Fees” below). You’ll have the choice to register your vehicle for 1 year or 2 years.

    NOTE: If the vehicle is gifted to you, it will not change your car registration requirements. Special “gift requirements” only apply when titling the vehicle. Learn more on our Title Transfers page.

    Transferring an Idaho Vehicle Registration

    To transfer your Idaho vehicle registration to another vehicle under your name, visit any county assessor motor vehicle office with:

    • The vehicle’s title.
      • If the car you’re transferring the plates to is brand new, bring the pink copy of the title application that the dealership submitted for you.
    • The license plate number.
    • Payment for $5 license plate transfer fee. Motor vehicle offices accept cash or check.

    Military & Out-of-State Vehicle Registration

    If you’re temporarily living outside of the state for work, school, or military service, you may title and register your car with the Idaho DMV through the mail. Gather the following and submit:

    Fees must be in the form of a check made payable to the Ada County Processing Center. Mail all original documents (keep copies for yourself) to the address on the Application for Certificate of Title form.

    Idaho Vehicle Registration Fees

    Idaho vehicle registration fees are based on the vehicle’s age and your county of residence.

    • Passenger vehicles:
      • 1 - 2 years old: $48.
      • 3 - 4 years old: $36.
      • 5 - 6 years old: $36
      • 7 – 8 years old: $24.
      • 8 years old and older: $24.
    • Motorcycles: $15.
      • Ada County: $23.
    • Recreational vehicle trailers: $9.
    • Title fee: $14.

    For vehicles being registered for 2 years, double the annual fee.

    NOTE: If you reside in Ada County, you will pay an additional County Highway District fee of $24 – $40.

    County assessor motor vehicle offices accept cash or checks.

    Custom-Built Vehicles

    If you have a custom-built car in Idaho, you'll need to contact your local DMV office to have it registered and titled. While the registration process may be very similar to registering a regular car (see above), you may need to submit additional documents depending on your vehicle and parts.

    Obtain a Duplicate Idaho Registration

    To replace a lost, damaged, or destroyed ID car registration certificate, visit your local Idaho DMV office with:

    • Your Idaho driver’s license.
    • Your license plate number.
    • Cash or check to cover the $5 registration replacement fee.

    For additional information, visit our Replacing a Lost Registration page.

    Idaho Vehicle Inspections

    VIN Inspections

    All out-of-state vehicles being registered in Idaho for the first time must submit to a vehicle identification number inspection. You may have this inspection completed during registration, or you may have it completed beforehand by your local law enforcement or an Idaho Transportation Department agent.

    You will need to have them fill out the Vehicle or Hull Identification Number Inspection Certification (form ITD 3403) for you to submit during registration. The fee for a VIN inspection is $5.

    Emissions Inspections

    Emission tests are conducted on a limited basis in Idaho. These tests check vehicles for improper exhaust emissions, which could compromise the state’s air quality.

    Only residents of the following areas must adhere to emission testing:

    • Most of Ada County.
    • Canyon County.
    • The city of Kuna.

    Testing is required every 2 years. Your county or city will notify you when a test is due via mail. Though you do not need to provide proof of passing a smog check when registering your vehicle, the DOT will revoke your Idaho car registration if you're caught ignoring a testing mandate.

    For the full scoop, visit our Smog & Emission Checks page.

    Idaho License Plates

    When applying for an Idaho car registration certificate, you’ll have the option to choose a license plate style. You can go with a standard Idaho plate, or choose from a long list of specialized plates.

    Learn more about your options on our License Plates & Placards page.

    Obtain a Duplicate ID License Plate

    To replace a lost, stolen, or damaged license plate, visit any county assessor motor vehicle office with:

    • Your Idaho car registration certificate.
    • Cash or check to cover the $3 per plate fee.

    Register a Non-Operational Vehicle

    The Idaho DMV does not offer any registration refunds for vehicles temporarily taken off the road.

    If you allow the vehicle’s registration to expire, you will be charged for the full previous year when you try to renew the plates, even if the registration has been expired for less than a year.

    If the non-operational vehicle’s Idaho car registration has been expired for a year or more, you will then follow the regular registration renewal procedures found on our Registration Renewal page.