Register Car in New Jersey
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Those who need to renew an existing registration should visit our Registration Renewals page.
You’ll need to register your car from scratch if you have:
- Recently bought a car
- Moved here from another state
- Come into ownership of a vehicle by another means (such as inheritance or gift)
Register your car within 60 days if you just moved here. If you just bought a car, you must title and register the vehicle within 10 days of the sale. Driving an unregistered car can get you a citation.
Before you register the car, you must have adequate insurance. This includes liability insurance, personal injury protection, and uninsured motorist coverage. Shop our Insurance Center for the best rate.
New car buyers have the benefit of getting the dealer to do all the paperwork for them. Plus, your new car registration is good for four years, whereas a used car registration is only good for one year.
If you leased a car, you must pay the registration for the entire term of the lease, at one time.
If you don't have help from a dealer, gather these documents before you visit the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC):
- The certificate of title. If you don’t have it, you’ll need to get a new one.
- Proof of New Jersey insurance.
- Proof of your Social Security number or exemption.
- The current odometer reading.
- Your driver’s license or, if you don’t have a New Jersey license, appropriate identification.
Registration applications are available at MVC offices.
Some vehicles also need vehicle inspections, which include emission checks. See below for details.
If you haven’t yet bought your car, you should get a Vehicle History Report (VHR) first. VHRs alert you to any major accidents or salvaged motors before you give over your money. And when you do buy, getting a Bill of Sale is also a good idea to prove ownership of the car and when you bought it.
Next, go to an MVC location to complete your registration.
At the office, you’ll complete an application for registration, turn in your paperwork, and pay all your fees.
The MVC will issue standard plates if you wish, but you also have many options to choose from to reflect almost any interest or organization.
For instance, if you’re in Kiwanis or served in an Airborne division, you can get plates saying so. You can also personalize your plates with your name or a saying, as long as it’s not taken already and it’s not objectionable (you’ll have to fill out an application).
Complete your custom look by getting a specialized frame that can tout anything from your favorite sports team to your favorite charity.
After you get your vehicle registered, you may need to get it inspected.
If you have moved here from out of state, you’ll have 14 days after you register to get your vehicle inspected.
Everyone else should look at the inspection sticker on your window for the expiration date. If it’s been two years since your vehicle's last inspection, you will also need to get an inspection.
Please note vehicle inspections include emission checks. Refer to Smog & Emission Checks for details about passing and failing inspections, getting reinspected, and required repairs.
The MVC will give you your tags in the office. Immediately put them on your plates.
The IRS allows you to deduct registration fees if they are based on the car’s value, not the weight. If you are paying only a weight-based fee, then you may not take the deduction. There should be a fee breakdown on your receipt.
To find out more about deductions, ask a tax attorney for help. Laws may change, and you want to be sure you’re taking as many deductions as allowed.
Once you’ve gotten your car legally ready to roll, you should also make sure its safety accessories are up to par.
If you have young children, double check that their safety seats fit into your new car properly and that each one is adequate for your children’s ages, weights, and heights. A Bluetooth headset is essential if you tend to talk on the phone a lot.
Also make sure you’re ready if your car has the inevitable breakdown. In addition to choosing a reputable mechanic, consider a roadside assistance program and an after-market auto warranty that will protect you. Be sure to put an auto emergency kit in your trunk, just in case―the kit should contain essentials like first aid supplies and tools if there’s a breakdown or accident.
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
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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.