Register Car in New York
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If your car has not yet been registered by you or hasn’t been registered in this state, you must register it for the first time.
If you’re looking to renew an existing state registration, see our registration renewals page.
Whether you’ve recently:
- Bought a car
- Inherited or were given a car
- Moved to the state
You’ll need to register your car for the first time, which takes more paperwork than a renewal.
New residents must register their cars within 30 days.
You must have valid New York insurance to register your vehicle; even if you had valid insurance in another state, it won’t be accepted here.
Shop for quotes online at our insurance center. Once you select and sign up with a provider, you’ll be given a New York State Insurance Card (FS-20).
If you bought or leased your car from a dealer, your dealer will submit everything needed for registration to the DMV for you.
If you came to your vehicle by other means, you’ll need to gather all the paperwork yourself, including the title.
- Your title and your bill of sale constitute Proof of Ownership. If your title is lost, you must get a new one.
- A New York State Insurance Identification Card (FS-20). You can bring a copy, as long as the bar code can still be read by the machine.
- odometer and damage disclosures, which are on the back of the title if the certificate was printed after December 1994. If your title doesn’t have this, the previous owner must fill out Form MV-103.
- Proof of identity and your birthdate.
- Application for Registration.
- Proof of sales tax paid, purchase price, or sales tax exemption. Use DTF-802 for private sales or inheritance.
- Provide proof that your car meets “California” Emissions Standards or an exemption, whichever is applicable. See Smog & Emission Checks for more details.
If you haven’t yet bought your car and are considering used ones, consider getting a Vehicle History Report to protect yourself. This can tell you whether the car’s ever been flooded, salvaged, or was in a huge accident and rebuilt.
You won’t be able to figure out your total fee until you get into the office and have someone look at your case, but the state lets you estimate how much registration will cost.
Weight-based fees range from $26 to $140. You may also need to pay sales tax or use tax, plus a license plate transfer fee.
Registration fees are based on vehicle weight, so fees differ.
Now you may visit the DMV to take care of your car registration transactions.
At the DMV, you’ll receive your new license plates. If you wish, you can order specialty plates for some interest or group of yours, like a veteran’s association. You may also wish to order custom vanity plates. Whether or not you buy speciality plates, you may always order specialty license plate frames to give your car a custom look.
You will receive your registration stickers at the DMV office. Be sure to put them on your plates as soon as you can.
The IRS lets you deduct registration fees that are based on the vehicle’s value, not on weight. So, if you paid a portion of your registration fee based on value, you may deduct it.
To get the full value of all your deductions and to make sure the laws haven’t changed, consulting with a tax attorney could save you money in the long run, especially if you have lots of deductions to take.
Finally. You have your registration and your plates―you’re fully legal and ready to go. Not so fast. First, you really ought to double-check on some safety concerns before a problem arises.
To cover yourself in the event that your car has a major problem, getting an after-market warranty can save you a lot of money on big repairs. If you don’t know a tire jack from a crescent wrench, you ought to check into signing up for roadside assistance. That way, if you (or your family member) gets a flat in the middle of the night, you’ll be covered. On that note, finding a reliable mechanic before your car blows its transmission is a good idea, too. You should also stock your car with an auto emergency kit with first-aid supplies and tools in case you ever need it.
Those with little ones should do a child safety seat check before they head out in a new car, making sure your seat fits properly and is up-to-date according to the child’s weight and height. And using a hands-free headset with your cell phone will up your safety quotient, too.
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.