Register Car in Vermont
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For those who only need to renew an existing Vermont registration, simply go to our page on registration renewals.
This applies to anyone who has recently done the following:
- Purchased a used car*
- Moved to Vermont
- Changed ownership on a vehicle
*You’ll transfer the registration if you purchased a used car that is already registered in Vermont, as long as it is not expired.
Annual registration is required in Vermont for those who own or lease a vehicle for more than 30 days. For first timers, you must register the vehicle in person at the Vermont DMV in Montpelier or at a satellite office.
New residents must register their vehicle within 60 days or obtain Vermont registration if their out-of-state registration is set to expire before those 60 days are up.
You can’t register your vehicle without first obtaining enough liability insurance to meet the state minimum. For more info on Vermont’s insurance requirements or to shop online for the best insurance quote, check out our Insurance Center.
It’s likely if you purchased a new or used vehicle from a dealer that registration is already set in motion. That’s because many dealerships take care of this paperwork for you. You’ll just want to confirm that whoever sold you the vehicle submitted the correct information to the DMV. The process starts with titling your vehicle. For more info, see our section on title transfers.
If your paperwork isn’t being taken care of for you or you and/or vehicle are new to the state, collect the following documents in preparation for trip to the DMV:
- Complete a Vermont Motor Vehicle Registration, Tax and Title Application.
- Obtain your title if you do not need to transfer ownership. If you do, see our section Title Transfers. If you have misplaced your title, learn how to obtain a duplicate title either from the Vermont DMV or a motor vehicle office in another state.
- Obtain a bill of sale (or a properly assigned title) if you are registering a used car purchased (and previously registered) in Vermont.
- Obtain a current odometer reading. If the car is nine years old or new, you must also submit an Odometer Disclosure Statement.
- For registration of an out-of-state vehicle, obtain proof of the amount you paid in taxes on the vehicle to any previous state. If the vehicle is more than three years old and you still possess the title and proof of registration for the past three years, you won’t have to show proof of tax paid.
- Also for registration of an out-of-state vehicle, obtain visual verification of your vehicle’s serial number
- If there’s a lien on your car, you must also give the DMV the full name and address of the lienholder.
NOTE: In many cases, the registration will be current if you purchased a used vehicle already registered in Vermont. Therefore, all you will need to do is transfer the registration in your name. To do so, you must first officially change the ownership. Go to our page on title transfers as a first step. If you have already transferred the tile into your name, find out how to transfer the registration on the state site.
If you have come to this page to gather info before you buy, you’re getting a great head start. Another way to be well prepared is to order a vehicle history report on a car you think you might purchase. This report provides background info on used cars.
According to the state, Vermont returns more than 3,500 registration applications due to incorrect payments, so it’s best to calculate your fees ahead of time to avoid any surprises. The state also allows you to pay registration fees for two years at a time (for a lower rate) even though car registration is an annual process. Carefully view the list of fees provided by the state.
This document covers tons of fee info (everything from title fees to license plate fees) so take the time to thoroughly read through it.
Note that the state will charge you a Purchase and Use Tax when you register and/or title the car in your name for the first time. The tax rate is 6% of whichever is greater: the purchase price or the average trade-in value (NADA). You should subtract from that any amount you might have received for a trade-in or any other allowable credit. The DMV will not allow you to use a value you come up with using research online. For more info on vehicle tax, consult the state site.
Upon gathering your paperwork and calculating your fees, plan on going to your nearest DMV office.
Getting a Vehicle Inspection
Once you register your vehicle you have 15 days to get it inspected (if the vehicle is not already displaying a valid Vermont inspection sticker) at a Vermont Licensed Inspection Station. During your visit you must show proof of insurance. No exceptions.
Obtaining License Plates
The state will assign and mail you license plates (unless you specify otherwise as in the case of ordering vanity plates). If you’d like specialized pr vanity plates, see our page dedicated to license plates and placards. Here you’ll find info on plates for disabled drivers, antique cars, etc. While you’re at it you might also want to get snazzy with a new license plate frame that displays your favorite football team or your alma mater.
You know your plates are coming in the mail, so when you receive them be sure to follow the instructions for the month and year stickers that accompany your registration.
Tax questions should be directed toward a tax professional. Tax attorneys are a great place to start.
Safety is a high priority in Vermont, so once get your registration current, consider the following after-market extras that could help prevent a sticky situation.
Keep your car dependable by insisting on optimal running condition for your vehicle. A mechanic you can trust will help. You might also think about investing in an after-market auto warranty. There’s also the option to sign up for a roadside assistance program. These are great for coming to the rescue when you are faced with unexpected mishaps on the road.
To enhance road safety you’ll also find a number of inexpensive extras like a hands-free headset. These allow you to talk on the phone while keeping both hands on the wheel. The latest in child safety seats will help protect your kids. And car emergency kits come in handy when disaster strikes.
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.