Car Registration in Louisiana
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This article only contains information about initial registrations; see our renewals article to learn about that issue.
If you recently did any of the following, you'll need to register your vehicle:
- Moved to the state
- Received a vehicle as a gift
- Bought a vehicle
The registration and titling processes are linked. You have 40 days from the time you took possession of a vehicle to register and title it, or else the Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) will start assessing interest charges and other penalties.
Meanwhile, you have 30 days to register an out-of-state vehicle.
You'll need to provide proof of insurance when you register your vehicle. If you don't have insurance, look through our Insurance Center to find carriers and hunt for the best rates.
If you bought your vehicle through a dealer, the dealer should automatically handle your paperwork.
Meanwhile, if you purchased your car from a private seller, or are simply registering an out-of-state vehicle, you'll need to collect the following documents that apply to your situation:
- Completed Vehicle Application.
- Notarized and properly assigned title (see our title or duplicate title articles for more information).
- Proof of current insurance.
- Completed odometer disclosure statement (only for private sale purchases).
- UCC-1 Financing Statement, security agreement, or chattel mortgage (if financing is involved).
- Notarized Bill of Sale or invoice showing the selling price (only for private sale purchases that don't have this information on the title).
- Proof of sales tax payment on the vehicle (only for out-of-state vehicles).
- Current registration (only for out-of-state vehicles).
NOTE: Once you register your vehicle, you'll fall into a schedule for vehicle inspections. At this point, proof that your vehicle passes these inspections becomes part of your paperwork (the part you keep). The OMV doesn't require separate smog or emission inspections, but the regular vehicle inspection does include inspections of various vehicle emission parts. Learn more at Motor Vehicle Inspections and Smog & Emission Checks.
If you still haven't decided on a vehicle, obtaining a vehicle history report can give you that extra information you need to help you make a smart decision.
The total registration and title fees vary depending on a few circumstances.
For instance, the use tax is based on the sales price of your vehicle. Also, while the state sales tax is 4%, local parish and municipality taxes differ. (For out-of-state vehicles, the tax is based on the vehicle's fair market value. If your former state has a reciprocal agreement with Louisiana, a maximum 4% credit may be applied against your taxes; proof of payment is required.)
Additionally, your license plate fees depend on how much you paid for the vehicle and what type of plate you want.
After you collect the required paperwork and have your fee payment, you're set for a trip to an OMV location to process the registration. But, you can also just mail everything to:
- Office of Motor Vehicles
- P.O. Box 64886
- Baton Rouge, LA 70896
When you register in person and simply want a standard plate, you'll get your plate immediately. Certain locations also offer some specialty plates in-house. Otherwise, you'll receive your plates in the mail.
Be sure to follow the provided instructions in order to properly place the stickers you receive (through the mail or in person) on your license plate.
Louisiana doesn't consider the estimated value of your vehicle when it calculates your renewal fees, nor does the tax act as a personal property tax; therefore, you can't deduct any portion of your registration renewal fee when you do your federal taxes. To clarify this confusing matter, you might want to consult a tax attorney.
It's great to have all this paperwork behind you. However, if you want to try to make your driving experience as safe and enjoyable as possible, there are still several matters to consider.
Begin thinking about getting an auto emergency kit and a roadside assistance program. With the state's frequent strong storms and miles of rural roads, you don't want to find yourself unprotected and stranded in an emergency.
Of course, both the state's regulations and common sense dictate that you give your child passengers a bit of extra protection with approved child safety seats for their use.
A hands-free headset is close to a must-have if you're a frequent cell phone user, as it allows you to keep both hands where they should be―on the wheel.
Lastly, don't neglect the car itself. Investing in an after-market warranty and finding a reliable, quality mechanic are two great ways to keep your car at its safest, and also extending the life of it.
If you need to register a custom-built car, you will first need to have a vehicle identification number (VIN) assigned, if you haven't done so already. Contact your local LA State Police Troop to make an appointment. You will need to provide the assigned officer with proof that you own all parts of the vehicle, using bills of sales, receipts, or invoices for all major components.
If you pass the inspection, you will be issued an inspection receipt which you'll need to take with you when you register your vehicle.
Follow the steps listed above to complete the registration process.Other Topics in This Section