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  • Car Registration in Louisiana

    General Requirements

    Registration Renewal

    This article only contains information about initial registrations; see our renewals article to learn about that issue.

    First-Time Registrations

    If you recently did any of the following, you'll need to register your vehicle:

    1. Moved to the state
    2. Received a vehicle as a gift
    3. 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.

    Get Insurance

    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.

    Prepare the Paperwork

    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:

    1. Completed Vehicle Application.
    2. Notarized and properly assigned title (see our title or duplicate title articles for more information).
    3. Proof of current insurance.
    4. Completed odometer disclosure statement (only for private sale purchases).
    5. UCC-1 Financing Statement, security agreement, or chattel mortgage (if financing is involved).
    6. Notarized Bill of Sale or invoice showing the selling price (only for private sale purchases that don't have this information on the title).
    7. Proof of sales tax payment on the vehicle (only for out-of-state vehicles).
    8. 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.

    Calculate the Fees

    The total registration and title fees vary depending on a few circumstances.

    First-Time Fees

    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.

    Additional Fees

    Replacing a license plate, sticker, and registration all mean you'll have to pay extra fees. You should also plan for future vehicle inspection fees.

    Go to the OMV

    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

    License Plates

    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.

    Speaking of specialty plates, visit our license plate section to see what's available. You can even show off your plate with a stylish frame.

    Affix Your Stickers

    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.

    Get a Tax Deduction

    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.

    Safely Get on Your Way

    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.

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