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    Rhode Island Vehicle Registration

    New car? New resident? If so, you’ll need to register your vehicle(s) with the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles. Below you’ll find step-by-step details on how to navigate the car registration process.

    If you already have a registered vehicle in Rhode Island and wish to renew its registration, please visit our Registration Renewal page.

    New to Rhode Island?

    After moving to Rhode Island, you have 30 days to register your vehicle with the Division of Motor Vehicles.

    Visit your local DMV office with:

    • A completed Application and Title Certificate (Form TR-1).
    • Proof of auto insurance.
    • Vehicle Title.
      • If the car has a lien, the DMV will accept a photocopy of the title provided the lienholder is listed on it.
      • All owners listed on title must be present when registering. If not, the absent parties must be notarized on the registration application.
    • Proof of a vehicle identification number (VIN) check. This only applies to vehicles that are model year 2001 or newer.
      • For VIN check locations, contact your local police department.
    • A Rhode Island driver’s license or ID card.
      • If you present an out-of-state license, you’ll need to also provide proof of residency.
    • Power of Attorney and Sales or Use Tax Exemption Certificate (Form T-333), if the vehicle is leased.
      • The leasing company must be listed as the purchaser.
    • Payment to cover your registration fee (see “Vehicle Registration Fees” below).

    After obtaining a Rhode Island car registration certificate, you must have your vehicle inspected within 5 days of the registration date.

    Your registration is valid for 2 years.

    Registering a Vehicle in Rhode Island

    There are different requirements and processes for vehicle registration based on whether you purchased your vehicle from a dealer or it was purchased/gifted from a private individual.

    Additionally, there are certain stipulations for vehicles being transferred from Canada into Rhode Island. See below for details on all three.

    Vehicles Purchased from a Dealer

    If you purchase a vehicle from a dealer, the dealership will submit your registration documents for you to the DMV.

    Vehicles Purchased from a Private Party

    Bring to your local Rhode Island DMV office:

    • A completed Application and Title Certificate (Form TR-1).
    • Proof of auto insurance.
    • A completed Sales Tax form.
    • The car’s signed-over title.
    • A Bill of Sale.
      • The title or bill of sale should list the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight.
    • A Rhode Island driver’s license or ID card.
    • Proof of previous owner, if applicable (for non-title vehicles only).
      • All owners listed on title must be present when registering. If not, the absent parties must be notarized on the registration application.
    • Proof of a vehicle identification number (VIN) check.
      • This only applies to vehicles that are 2001 or newer. For VIN check locations, contact your local police department.
    • Payment for RI vehicle registration fees, which also includes sales tax (see “Vehicle Registration Fees” below).

    Your RI car registration is good for 2 years.

    Leased Vehicles

    If the vehicle you are purchasing is leased, it’s important to note that the DMV does not request titles from leasing companies. You will be required to submit the original title or Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin assigned to your lessor.

    You must also provide (in addition to the above documents):

    Vehicles Transferred from Canada

    Canadian vehicles must register through Rhode Island’s DMV headquarters in Cranston.

    You will need:

    • A completed U.S. Customs and Border Protection form (Form 7501).
    • Proof of a vehicle identification number (VIN) check.
      • This only applies to vehicles that are 2001 or newer.
    • A National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) inspection from the DMV Enforcement Division, also located in Cranston. It can be reached at (401) 462-5727.
    • The car’s Canadian registration. It must be in the name of the person registering the vehicle in Rhode Island.

    Military & Non-Resident Vehicle Registration

    Military Members

    If you are a Rhode Island military resident currently in state, the registration process is the same as for civilians. Use the methods described above to register your vehicle.

    If you are deployed or stationed out of state and wish to register a vehicle back in Rhode Island, contact the DMV at (401) 462-4368 for information on registering by mail.

    Non-resident military personnel stationed in Rhode Island are allowed to keep their out-of-state license plates. If you decide to claim residency in Rhode Island, follow the steps above in “New to Rhode Island?” to register your vehicle.

    Transferring a Foreign Vehicle

    If you’ve purchased a vehicle while on active duty overseas, you’ll need to visit the DMV’s headquarters in Cranston.

    Be prepared to submit:

    • The original out-of-country registration or Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin.
    • If the vehicle has a lien, you may submit a photocopy from the lienholder.
    • The original bill of sale, invoice, or proof of transfer.
    • Proof of inspection by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
    • Proof of VIN inspection.
    • A completed U.S. Customs and Border Protection form (Form 7501).
    • A completed Military EPA Declaration form (Form 3520).

    Non-Residents

    If you’re an out-of-state student enrolled in a Rhode Island college, you do not have to obtain Rhode Island license plates. The state allows you to keep your out-of-state plates during the duration of your studies.

    Vehicle Registration Fees

    Vehicle registration fees are based on a vehicle’s weight. See the registration fee chart to determine your vehicle's fee.

    Other important fees:

    • Duplicate RI car registration certificate: $18.50.
    • Updated RI vehicle registration certificate: $6.50.
    • Technology fee (added to registration): $1.50.

    Obtain a Duplicate Registration Certificate

    If your registration has been lost, damaged, or stolen, it’s important to replace it as soon as possible. You may do so by mail or in person at the DMV.

    You’ll need to:

    • Complete an Application for Registration (Form TR-1).
    • Provide a copy of your vehicle insurance.
    • Provide proof of ownership (e.g. vehicle title).
    • Submit your license plate number.
    • Submit a power of attorney, if the vehicle is leased.

    Bring the documents to your local DMV, or send them to:

    Division of Motor Vehicles
    Attn: Registration Duplicate
    600 New London Ave
    Cranston, RI 02920

    Rhode Island Vehicle Inspections

    Safety and emission checks are required on registered vehicles every 2 years. The safety inspection ensures that your car is in good operating condition and poses no threat to you or other drivers, while the emissions check ensures that your vehicle is putting out the least amount of emissions and toxicity as possible.

    To learn more about the process, visit our Smog & Emission Checks page.

    Rhode Island License Plates

    The state gives you plenty of specialized license plate options to choose from when applying for a Rhode Island vehicle registration certificate.

    For information on plate options, visit our License Plates & Placards page.

    Replace Your License Plate

    If your plates have gone missing, you need to provide your local Rhode Island DMV office with either a police report or a completed Affidavit for Cancellation of Registration for Lost Plates.

    If only one plate is missing, you must return the other remaining plate and obtain new plates. You’ll then be issued new numbers.

    You may re-order the same license plate number, but must wait a mandatory 90 days for the plates to be issued.

    When applying for replacement plates through your local DMV office, bring with you:

    • Proof of auto insurance.
    • Your Rhode Island driver's license.
    • Power of Attorney, if the vehicle is leased.

    Replace Damaged RI License Plates

    To replace, gather:

    Mail the documents and payment to:

    Division of Motor Vehicles
    Attn: Plates
    600 New London Ave.
    Cranston, RI 02920

    RI Registration for a Non-Operational Vehicle

    If the car’s registration has been expired for less than 90 days, complete a Registration Renewal form (make sure to provide car insurance information) and deposit it, along with a check, into any DMV branch office drop-box.

    Or, if you prefer, mail the form and payment to:

    Division of Motor Vehicles
    Attn: Registration Renewal
    600 New London Ave.
    Cranston, RI 02920

    If your registration has been expired for more than 90 days, you’ll need to re-register the vehicle, following the same steps described above in the "Registering a Vehicle in Rhode Island" section.

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