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    Kentucky Vehicle Registration

    The state of Kentucky requires all vehicles to be properly registered with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KTC) in order to drive on state roadways. If you are new to the state or have just purchased a vehicle, you will need to visit your county clerk's office to register your car for the first time.

    If you already have a registered vehicle in Kentucky, you will need to visit the registration renewal page to see what is required to keep your vehicle registration current. This page is for first-time registrations only.

    New to Kentucky?

    When you move to Kentucky, you will need to register your vehicle at the county clerk's office within 15 days. To register the vehicle, go to the county clerk's office and submit:

    • A certified vehicle inspection by a sheriff from your new county.
    • A completed Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title/Registration (Form TC 96-182).
    • The original title from your previous state.
      • If you do not have the title because you have a loan on the vehicle, the county clerk's office will need to request it from the lienholder or whoever has the title.
      • If your vehicle is leased, please see “Leased Vehicle Registration” below.
    • Your current registration from the previous state.
    • Proof of auto insurance in Kentucky.
    • Driver's license or picture ID.
    • Proof of payment for all taxes from your previous state.
    • Payment of all Kentucky registration fees and taxes (see “Vehicle Registration Fees” below).

    Leased Kentucky Vehicle Registration

    New residents with a leased vehicle must go to the county clerk's office and submit:

    • A certified vehicle inspection by a sheriff from your new county.
    • The power of attorney from the leasing company that allows you to register the vehicle.
    • Address and contact information for the leasing company. The county clerk's office will need to contact the leasing company to get title information.
    • A completed Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title/Registration (Form TC 96-182).
    • Proof of Kentucky car insurance.
    • Statement of sales tax paid on leasing company letterhead.
    • Driver's license or picture ID.
    • Payment of all Kentucky registration fees and taxes (see "Vehicle Registration Fees" below).

    KY Insurance Requirements

    When you register your vehicle in Kentucky, you will need to have auto insurance from a company approved to provide insurance in Kentucky. You must maintain proper insurance coverage for the life of your vehicle.

    Registering a Vehicle in Kentucky

    Residents of Kentucky will register their vehicle and apply for a Kentucky title at the same time when they purchase a vehicle. There is a slightly different process depending on whether you purchased from a car dealer or a private party, as well as the type of title on the vehicle.

    Vehicles Purchased from a Dealer

    After you have purchased your vehicle from the dealership, you will need to go to the county clerk's office and submit:

    • Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin signed over to you.
    • Certified sheriff inspection of the vehicle recorded on the registration application.
    • Completed Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title/Registration (Form TC 96-182).
      • Picture identification is required to have the county clerk notarize the signature.
      • Fill out the Total Consideration part showing how much the vehicle cost for tax purposes, or submit dealer invoice/window sticker with price.
    • Proof of Kentucky insurance.
    • Social Security number for all names on the title.
    • Lien statement, if applicable.
    • Payment of all applicable vehicle registration fees and taxes (see “Vehicle Registration Fees” below).

    Vehicles Purchased from a Private Party

    When purchasing a vehicle that is already titled in Kentucky, you will need to go to the county clerk's office and submit:

    • The vehicle title:
      • Titles issued before February 2000 must be submitted along with an Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title/Registration (Form TC 96-182).
      • Titles issued February 2000 and after will have the assignment and transaction form on the back that should be filled out instead of the application for title and registration.
    • Proof of Kentucky insurance.
    • Social security number.
    • Payment for all the required fees and taxes (see “Vehicle Registration Fees”).

    Registering a Foreign Vehicle in KY

    Kentucky allows vehicles from other countries to be registered as long as they have the proper U.S. Customs forms HS-7 or 7501. The main countries that Kentucky registers are:

    • Canada: Requires a Canadian vehicle registration.
    • Germany: Requires a German title.
    • Switzerland: Requires a Swiss car registration.

    If you have a vehicle from any other country, you will need to call (502) 564-1257 to find out what is needed for registration. All documents must be translated to English.

    All foreign vehicles over 25 years old or having a VIN starting with the number 1 will not require the U.S. Customs forms HS-7 or 7501.

    Military Members & Kentucky Vehicle Registration

    Registration laws are different depending on whether you are from Kentucky, or stationed in Kentucky from another state.

    Non-Residents Stationed in Kentucky

    You are not required to register your vehicle in Kentucky if you are a member of the military and claim a different state as your home state. If you want to register your vehicle in Kentucky, you will need to follow the instructions in the "New to Kentucky?" section of this page.

    KY Residents Stationed in Kentucky

    If you are a resident of Kentucky, you will need to register your car in the same way as civilians.

    KY Residents Stationed Out-of-State

    Military members who maintain Kentucky as their home state can continue to register any vehicles they have in Kentucky. You will need to contact the county clerk's office in your home county for specific instructions. You will need to submit:

    Your county clerk's office will tell you all the other documents you may need, including proof of active duty, military orders showing your permanent duty station, etc.

    Vehicle Purchased Overseas

    Members of the military who are planning to bring a vehicle back to Kentucky from an overseas duty station will need to register their vehicle within 30 days of returning. You will need to submit:

    Kentucky Vehicle Registration Fees

    Kentucky has fixed fees for registration and titling of your vehicle. You will also need to pay your usage tax based on a percentage of your vehicle price. Here is a general list of fees, but you will need to contact your county clerk's office to find out exactly what the costs will be.

    • Title fee: $9.
    • Speed title: $25 (available if you would like to get a title the next day).
    • Transfer fee: $8.
    • Yearly car registration fee: $21.
    • Title lien statement fee: $22.
    • Notary fee: Varies depending on county.
    • Vehicle inspection fee: $5.
    • Usage tax: 6% of the cost of the vehicle.

    Custom-Built Cars

    If you built a custom car in Kentucky, you'll need to apply for a vehicle identification number (VIN) before you can register it. Take the following to your local KY DMV office:

    • Receipts and invoices for all labor and parts purchased.
    • Certificates of title for any major components that came from a previous vehicle.
    • A notarized statement detailing what was done to the vehicle.
    • A completed Application for Vehicle Identification Number (Form TC 96-169).

    Once you've been issued a VIN, you'll need to have your custom car inspected at your local sheriff's office. Upon passing the inspection, the Kentucky DMV will send you an approval notice. Take this to your local county clerk's office who will verify the information and then organize for your certificate of title to be sent to you.

    Once you have your certificate of title, you're ready to register your car. Follow the instructions in "Registering a Vehicle in Kentucky" above for more information.

    Kentucky Vehicle Inspections

    Vehicles registered in Kentucky are not required to get safety or emissions inspections. A vehicle is required to get a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection performed by a sheriff before you can register it for the first time.

    Obtain a Duplicate Kentucky Car Registration

    If your vehicle registration is lost, damaged, or destroyed, you will need to apply for a replacement registration to keep in your vehicle. Go to your county clerk's office and submit:

    • An Affidavit for Replacement (Form TC 96-167), signed and notarized.
    • Driver's license or picture ID.
    • Proof of Kentucky insurance.
    • Payment for duplicate vehicle registration fees.

    Kentucky License Plates

    You will receive new license plates when you purchase a new vehicle or transfer an out-of-state title. Kentucky license plates will stay with the vehicle if it is purchased or sold to another person. Personalized or specialty plates are also available for an additional fee.

    Visit the License Plates & Placards page for more information.