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    North Carolina Vehicle Registration

    In North Carolina, your registration and vehicle titling are done at the same time with the same documents. All vehicles in North Carolina must have proper registration in order to drive.

    Vehicle Registration Renewal

    If you already have a registered vehicle and are looking for information on how to renew that registration, visit our Registration Renewal in North Carolina page.

    New to North Carolina?

    New residents to North Carolina must get a driver's license, title, and registration within 30 days of establishing residency.

    New residents are exempt from an initial vehicle inspection, but you will be required to have your vehicle inspected when your renewal date arrives, up to 90 days before your registration expires.

    To learn more, visit our guides on North Carolina emissions and vehicle inspections and registration renewals.

    To register your vehicle for the first time, visit your local DMV office and present the following:

    • Your new North Carolina driver's license.
    • Acceptable proof of insurance.
    • A notarized vehicle title. If a lienholder has your vehicle title, present your current out-of-state registration and odometer reading. If there are co-owners to the vehicle, all necessary documents must be presented or filled out for both owners.
    • A completed Title Application (Form MVR-1) and Declaration of Eligible Risk (Form MVR-615).
    • Cash, check, or money order for the $28 plate fee, plus other state taxes (see below for a list of all possible fees and taxes).

    Registering a Vehicle in North Carolina

    If you have purchased a new vehicle or received one as a gift, you need to register it with the state. You may do so in person or by mail.

    Registering in Person

    Go to your local DMV office and present:

    • Your valid North Carolina driver's license or ID card.
    • Acceptable proof of insurance.
    • A notarized vehicle title. If a lienholder has your vehicle title, present your current out-of-state registration and odometer reading. If there are co-owners to the vehicle, all necessary documents must be presented or filled out for both owners.
    • A lien release (if applicable).
    • The following completed forms:
      ―Title Application (Form MVR-1).
      ―Declaration of Eligible Risk (Form MVR-615).
      ―Damage Disclosure Statement (Form MVR-181).
      ―Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form MVR-180) (for vehicles less than 10 years old).
    • The bill of sale.
    • Cash, check, or money order for the $28 plate fee, plus all other state taxes (see below for a list of all possible fees and taxes).

    Registering by Mail

    If you are out of the state and cannot register your vehicle in person, you may register by mail. Simply provide all documentation listed above, plus a copy of your driver's license, by mail to the following address:

    • Vehicle Titles/Liens, Duplicate Registration
    • 3148 Mail Service Center
    • Raleigh, NC 27699

    North Carolina Vehicle Registration Stops

    North Carolina can stop the registration process for a number of reasons. If you have any of these issues, they must be settled before you can register your vehicle:

    • Debt to the DMV
      • All debts must be paid to the DMV before you can register a vehicle.
    • Credit Warning
      • If you have ever given the DMV a bad check, you must contact the Fiscal Section of the DMV at (919) 861-3662 to clear the stop.
    • Unpaid Child Support
      • You must contact the Department of Health & Human Services at (919) 855-4800 if you have failed to pay child support.
    • Issues with Vehicle Documents
      • Your registration will be withheld if there are any discrepancies or problems with the vehicle title, vehicle identification number (VIN), loans, application, etc.
    • Unpaid County Taxes
      • County taxes must be paid before registration.
    • Drunk Driving Charge
      • Any person who has lost their license as a result of a DWI must contact the Administrative Office of Courts at (919) 890-1000.
    • Lack of Insurance
      • You must show proof of insurance in order to register your vehicle.
    • Stolen Vehicle
      • If your vehicle has been reported as stolen, you must contact the DMV License and Theft Bureau at (919) 861-3141 to clear up the report.
    • NC Vehicle Registration for Military

      Members of the Armed Forces who wish to register a vehicle in North Carolina may do so using your driver's license from your home state, along with documents showing your active duty station in North Carolina.

      Vehicles purchased while overseas carry the following taxes and requirements:

      • Tax of 3% of the purchase price (if purchased from a dealer) or computer schedule value (if purchased from an individual)―tax is not to exceed $150.
      • Tax of 3% of the bill-of-sale price, if the vehicle was purchased without a registration.
      • Completion of a bill of sale.
      • Completion of a vehicle inspection in North Carolina before issuance of license plates.

      Out-of-State Resident Military Registration

      If you are stationed out of the state, you may register your vehicle by mail. Simply provide all the documentation listed above in the "Registering in Person" section, along with a copy of your driver's license, and send them to:

      • Vehicle Titles/Liens, Duplicate Registration
      • 3148 Mail Service Center
      • Raleigh, NC 27699

      North Carolina Vehicle Registration Fees

      Payment for fees at the DMV offices must be made by cash, check, or money order (no credit or debit cards are accepted).

      • Certificate of Title: $40.
      • Instant Title: $75.
      • Plate fee (passenger vehicle and/or small truck under 4,000 lbs.): $28.
      • Regional Transportation Authority Registration Tax (Wake, Durham, and Orange Counties, plus the Research Triangle only): $5.
      • Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation Tax (Randolph County only): $1.
      • Transfer of plate: $15.
      • Highway Use Tax: 3%.

      NC License Plates

      License plate fees vary by type of vehicle and whether it is a specialty or personalized license plate. Some of the most common are:

      • Passenger vehicles or small trucks: $28
      • Trailer or semi-trailer: $19
      • Motorcycle: $18

      You will receive your license plates and stickers once you register your vehicle. For more detailed information, visit our guide on License Plates & Placards in North Carolina.

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