Car Registration in New Jersey
Vehicles must be registered with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to be legally driven on state roads and highways. Whether you are new to New Jersey or are registering a recently purchased vehicle, DMV.org will help you get out on the road.
If you already have a New Jersey registration and want to renew it, visit the Registration Renewal page.
Anyone moving to New Jersey for at least 6 months is required to transfer their title, register their vehicle, and get a NJ driver's license. You have 60 days after establishing residency in New Jersey to register your vehicle. Before you register, you must obtain New Jersey liability insurance (see Insurance Requirements below).
To register your out-of-state vehicle, go to your local MVC Agency and request an "Initial Packet" that contains all forms you'll need to title and register your car. Then you will follow the below steps:
- Present your New Jersey Insurance Identification Card, or the name of the insurance company and policy number.
- Give proof of Social Security number.
- Present your New Jersey driver's license number. If you do not have a NJ driver's license, present 6 points of identification (the MVC provides an explanation of identification documents that meet the point total).
- Provide the vehicle odometer reading.
- Submit the appropriate application for titling. If there is a lien on the vehicle, fax the Form CS-54 from your Initial Packet to your lienholder. They will send your title to the MVC, who will then mail you a postcard telling you that they have received your title.
- Submit the application for registration (Form BA-49).
- Pay the registration fees (based on the age and weight of your vehicle -see the MVC's full list of fees).
You must get your vehicle inspected within 14 days after you register your vehicle.
The registration process varies based on whether you are purchasing your vehicle from a dealership or from a private individual.
You may also transfer your registration from an old vehicle to a new one, while still using the same license plates (see below).
Vehicles Purchased at a Dealership
The dealership will handle the titling and registration of your newly purchased vehicle, regardless of whether it is new or used. The payment of sales tax will be included in the purchase price of the vehicle.
Vehicles Purchased from a Private Individual
If you have purchased a vehicle from a private individual, you have 10 business days to register the vehicle or pay a $25 late fee. Fill out the back of the title with the seller, providing your signature and driver's license number. You will also need to complete the sales tax information section on the title and pay the appropriate amount.
Once you have the title prepared, go to your local MVC Agency and submit the following:
- Vehicle title.
- Proof of insurance, or the name of the insurance company and policy number.
- Proof of your Social Security number.
- New Jersey driver's license number. If you do not have a NJ driver's license, present six points worth of identification.
- Vehicle odometer reading. You will be required to pay a $25 late fee if you fail to provide the proper odometer reading within 10 days of purchasing the vehicle.
- Application for registration (Form BA-49).
- Payment for the sales tax and $60 title fee ($85 if the vehicle has a lien).
- Payment for the New Jersey vehicle registration fees (based on the age and weight of your vehicle; see the MVC’s full list of fees).
If it has been 2 years and your vehicle is ready for inspection, you must make sure to have it inspected before its expiration date. Learn more in the "NJ Vehicle Inspections" section below.
Learn more about buying a vehicle on our Title Transfers in New Jersey page.
Transferring Your New Jersey Car Registration
You may transfer your existing vehicle registration and license plates to a new vehicle; however, the name and code on your new registration must match that of your old registration exactly. There is an additional $4.50 charge for this transaction. The registration fees may be prorated if you have time left on the registration you are transferring.
New Jersey has different registration options for military depending on whether they are out-of-state residents, New Jersey residents on active duty, or veterans.
Non-Residents Serving in New Jersey
Members of active duty military units that are stationed in New Jersey, but are not residents of the state, do not need to register their vehicles in NJ. Make sure to keep your registration current with your home state, and always carry proof of registration and insurance while stationed in New Jersey.
NJ Residents on Active Duty
New Jersey residents serving in the military are eligible for an extension of their current driver's license, vehicle registration, and inspection requirements for as long as you are on active duty. You must carry a military extension letter, along with documents proving your active military status, at all times.
Once you return to civilian status, you will need to renew your expired registration within 2 weeks of demobilization.
Vehicle Registration Refund
If you are stationed out of state and you must register your vehicle there, you are eligible for a refund of the remainder of your NJ registration period.
You must send in the following:
- A letter explaining why you are requesting a refund.
- Proof of active out-of-state military service.
- A Refund Application (Form RU-9). You can obtain a form at an MVC agency, or by calling:
―(888) 486-3339 (toll-free).
―(609) 292-6500 (MVC direct line).
- A copy of your military orders.
- Your original New Jersey registration and license plates.
- A copy of your out-of-state registration.
Mail the above documents to the address o the form.
Disabled Veterans & Medal of Honor Recipients
Veterans with full disability from the military may qualify for free registration in New Jersey. You must request an application from the NJ MVC.
You may qualify if you:
- Have a military disability rating.
- Are eligible for auto financial assistance through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and have a NJ driver's license with a vehicle that is equipped for those with disabilities.
- Have one of three disabilities:
- Loss of hand(s) or foot (feet).
- Loss of the use of hand(s) or foot (feet).
- Loss of vision that can not be corrected to better than 20/200 or field of vision less than 20 degrees.
Medal of Honor recipients automatically receive free NJ registration.
Visit your local NJ MVC office to apply, or call (888) 486-3339 from in state or (609) 292-6500 from out of state.
Registering a Foreign Vehicle
If you have purchased a vehicle overseas while on active duty, you must get it properly titled with the state before you can register it. Once the vehicle is titled, you can register using the same processes outlined above.
For more information about the titling process in New Jersey, visit our Title Transfers page.
All vehicles registered in New Jersey are required to get inspected, generally every 2 years ―however, your initial inspection period may vary depending on whether your vehicle is new or used, or if you are new to the state. For information on what steps to take to get your vehicle inspected, please visit our guide on Smog & Emissions Checks in New Jersey.
New to State
New residents need to get their car or truck registered with the New Jersey MVC before they get their vehicle inspected. Take the New Jersey registration, NJ insurance card, and your driver's license to an inspection station within 14 days after getting your car registered.
Brand new vehicles that have never been titled and registered before will get an inspection sticker good for 5 years from the dealer at the time of purchase. You will not need to get the vehicle inspected until the date on the inspection sticker.
Used vehicles purchased either in or out of state are not required to be inspected until they are 5 model years old. If you purchased the used vehicle from a car dealership, the dealer can affix an inspection sticker dated to expire once vehicle is 5 years old.
If you purchased a vehicle from a private individual, you can get a Form SS-19 when you register the vehicle to get an inspection sticker that covers the vehicle until it is 5 years old. You will need to take the Form SS-19 with you to the inspection station.
Certain classes of vehicles are required to complete a safety and emissions inspection annually, instead of every 2 years. These vehicles include:
- Commercial gas or bi-fueled vehicles.
- Commercial diesel vehicles less than 10,000 lbs.
The MVC provides a thorough explanation and list of vehicles that require annual inspections.
Registration fees for used vehicles are based on the age and weight of the vehicle, and are renewed annually. New vehicles (including leased vehicles) require an extended registration period for the initial registration.
Extended Vehicle Registration for New Vehicles
Drivers of brand new vehicles must pay 4 years of registration fees when they first register the vehicle. Refunds will not be given if you sell, crash, or lose the vehicle to theft or loan default before the end of the registration period.
The NJ MVC has a Registration Fee Calculator you can use to figure out how much you will owe when you initially register your new vehicle.
Extended New Jersey Vehicle Registration for Leased Vehicles
You must pay a registration fee for the full term of the lease on new vehicles that have not had any earlier sales or leases. If the lease does not expire within a normal calendar year period, you must pay the registration for the next 1 year.
For example: A lease for 38 months requires registration for a full 48 months; whereas a lease for 36 months only requires registration for 36 months.
Generally, if you own your vehicle outright without any liens on it, you will get your license plates immediately when you register.
If a lienholder has your title, you will have to wait to get your plates until the NJ MVC gets the title information. You will be notified by mail to return to your local MVC office to pick up your license plates and registration.
Transferring NJ License Plates
You can transfer your existing NJ license plates to your new vehicle during registration. The registration and license plates must have the exact same information as the old vehicle. There is a $4.50 fee plus the prorated registration fee if there is a change in weight class.
If the information on your registration changes, you will be required to surrender your license plates and get new ones for your new vehicle.
Any NJ license plates you are not using must be given back to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
Visit our guide on License Plates & Placards in New Jersey for more information about all types of license plates, including special cause plates, personalized plates, and disability plates.
New Jersey requires all drivers to get 3 types of insurance:
- Liability Insurance: Covers you if you are in an accident that is your fault.
- Personal Injury Protection: Covers medical expenses for you or anyone else on the policy, whether the accident is your fault or not.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Covers you if you are in an accident with a driver who does not have proper car insurance.
You will not be allowed to register a vehicle until you have a New Jersey Insurance Identification Card from your insurance provider. Our guide on Car Insurance in New Jersey will help you compare rates and find the best insurance for you.