Register Car in New Hampshire
Compare Insurance Rates in 3 Easy Steps
1. Start Your Quote:
If you are a New Hampshire resident who does not need to register this vehicle for the first time, see our section on registration renewals.
Residents must register their vehicles and also have them inspected on an annual basis. If you are new to the state, you’ll also want to obtain a state driver’s license.
For the initial registration you’ll have to go in person to the nearest town or city office. This is the case if you have recently:
- Purchased a used vehicle
- Moved to New Hampshire
- Changed ownership on a vehicle
If you have purchased a vehicle and/or need to change ownership as well as update the registration in your name, start by transferring the title. You can take care of both at the same time but you’ll want to read through the numbered steps on this page and our title transfer page to be fully prepared when you visit the town clerk.
Carrying car insurance is not mandatory in New Hampshire. It's your choice. Should you be in the market for coverage, you can save time by comparing insurance quotes online.
Purchasing a used or new car from a dealership typically means the paperwork is done for you. You’ll just need to be sure the dealer has titled and registered the vehicle properly. If you’d like more details on the titling process, see our section Title Transfers.
If the paperwork wasn’t taken care of for you, or if you are registering an out-of-state vehicle, or if you are new to New Hampshire, here’s the paperwork you’ll need to gather in preparation of your visit to the town/city clerk’s office to register your vehicle:
- As the vehicle owner, you’ll need to present the title. If you lease the vehicle or you have a lienholder you’ll just need to present the lease agreement or the lienholder’s name and address (whichever is applicable).
- Those who have purchased a car from a NH dealer must submit the blue copy of the title application (TDMV 23A) for the town clerk. Those who buy a previously titled car (1993 or newer) from a private owner can simply obtain the properly assigned title.
- For those with a title-exempt vehicle, obtain the Bill of Sale instead. You’ll also need to provide either a previously issued NH registration, a valid NH or out-of-state title, or a completed Verification of Vehicle Identification (TDMV19A).
- Proof of residency.
NOTE: If you are leasing the vehicle, you have a lienholder, or the vehicle is exempt from titling, be prepared to submit the following if applicable:
- Your out-of-state registration
- Your lease agreement
- Your lienholder’s name and address
- Proof of residency
If you haven’t settled on a car yet, consider investing in a vehicle history report to find out more about the background of your potential purchase.
Because the fees can vary so much from one resident to another, the state suggests contacting your town or city office. You’ll want to tell the clerk this is the first time you are registering the car in your name and/or in New Hampshire to avoid any surprise fees.
At the town/city clerk’s office acceptable forms of payment include:
- Money order or travelers check
- Credit card (MasterCard, VISA, or American Express}
With the correct paperwork and the total fees, you must only go to the town or city office where you reside.
You will receive two plates you must display on your vehicle. If you want specialty plates, now is the time to specify this. The next time you’ll be able to change your plates is during the following year’s renewal period, unless you need to request walking disability plates.
If you’d like to support conservation and the state’s cultural heritage check out the Moose Plate Program. The funds raised through Moose Plate purchases go toward projects designed to help protect the state’s critical resources. The plate costs $30 a year plus an additional $8 first-time fee to get the plate reflectorized. For more info on this and New Hampshire’s conservation, wildlife and historic preservation programs, consult the Moose Plate website.
For more info on vanity or specialized plates such as those for disabled drivers or antique cars, see our section on plates and placards. If you simply want to customize your look, shop for cool license plate frames online.
Mandatory Safety and Emissions Inspections
Following your registration the state gives you 10 days to get your passenger vehicle or light-duty truck (8,500 pounds or less) inspected by your mechanic if it is a model 1996 or newer.
Most auto repair shops are equipped to perform the on-board diagnostics (OBD II) test once they run a safety inspection on your vehicle. Be sure the mechanic hands you a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) with your inspection results as well as any other informational pages. Both inspections must be performed annually. See our section on emissions for more information.
You’ll receive decals to place on your plates designating the year and month you registered the car. Follow the simple instructions that come with the decals for affixing them.
When it comes to tax questions, seek advice from a tax attorney.
While registering your vehicle in your name and/or in this state for the first time might seem tedious, you’ll find it rather easy to do your part to make our roads as safe as possible.
A great place to start is by making sure your vehicle is running in optimal condition. This could reduce the risk of breaking down or getting a flat, or even becoming involved in an auto accident. You’ll want to find a mechanic you can trust and perhaps a roadside assistance program that suits your budget. You might also consider pricing after-market auto warranties designed to service your vehicle in the way the manufacturer intended.
Enhancing road safety is also as easy (and inexpensive) as purchasing a few extras such as a hands-free headset or the latest in child safety seats. It’s also not a bad idea to invest in a car emergency kit so you won’t be unprepared when the unexpected takes place.
Other Topics in This Section
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog & Emission Checks
Your Opinion Matters To Us!Send Feedback
We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.