Motorcycle Registration in North Carolina

Are you a North Carolina resident who owns a motorcycle? Registering and titling a motorcycle in our state is the same as registering a car. Follow these steps and you'll be on your way to driving your new bike on public highways.

If you are moving into North Carolina and are bringing a motorcycle registered in another state, you have a limited amount of time before you must register it in North Carolina, depending on your former state of residence and its agreement with North Carolina. This is usually 30 days, or when you secure gainful employment, whichever is sooner.

To register it, you must fill out a title application, available at any vehicle and license plate renewal office, and sign it in the presence of a notary. (DMV offices have notaries there.) If you have purchased your motorcycle from a dealer, you will also need a damage disclosure statement and a bill of sale.

Here is a summary of the steps to take; for specifics, see our Car Registration page.

  1. Get your NC driver license.
  2. Get liability insurance for the motorcycle.
  3. Furnish title and/or out-of-state registration card, or a lien release from a lienholder if necessary.
  4. Visit a vehicle and license plate renewal office.
  5. Fill out the Title Application form and sign in the presence of a notary. Pay $52 fee.
  6. You will need an odometer statement if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
  7. You will need a Damage Disclosure statement if the vehicle was purchased from a dealer.
  8. Receive license plate that must be put on the back of your vehicle.
  9. A North Carolina title will be mailed to you or the lienholder.
  10. If registering a vehicle from out of state, you have to have the vehicle inspected.
  11. An instant or fast title may be issued over the counter at the Raleigh and Charlotte state offices. There is an extra fee of $75 for this service.
  12. For certain vehicles registered in Wake, Durham, and Orange Counties, there is a Regional Transportation Authority Registration Tax of $5.

The additional $5 fee is due on the following vehicle classifications:

      • Private passenger vehicles
      • Private motorcycles
      • U-drive it passenger vehicles
      • Limousine vehicles
      • Common carriers, contract carriers
      • Exempt for-hire passenger carrier vehicles
      • Property hauling (farm vehicles)
      • Manufacturer and motor vehicle dealers

There is a 3% Highway Use Tax on vehicles, in lieu of a state sales tax. Every time a title is transferred, North Carolina collects this tax. There is a maximum fee for commercial vehicles; all others are charged 3%.

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