Buying and Selling FAQs in Alabama

I bought a car from my cousin in Georgia. How do I get an Alabama tag for it?

You'll need to visit your local tag and title office to apply for an Alabama title from the Department of Revenue's Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). Part of the registration process will include an inspection by a designated agent to verify the vehicle identification number (VIN) and determine whether the vehicle is roadworthy. You'll need to provide the current title, signed over to you, and the bill of sale. Registration is complete after you've submitted all paperwork, documentation, and appropriate fees.

For more information, please contact the Alabama DMV.

I just moved here from California, where we had to get emission stickers for our cars. Where can I do that in Alabama?

Emissions testing is not yet required in the state of Alabama. However, a vehicle that meets emissions standards and inspections will generally run better and require less maintenance down the road.

I bought a used car from a dealer, who gave me a temporary tag. He told me the permanent license plate would be mailed to me, but I haven't received it, and my temporary tag is about to expire. What do I do?

Call the dealer. A used vehicle may have some unresolved title issues, and the dealership can track the status of your title through its computer system. The dealership can also issue another temporary tag to you or extend the one you already have with another date sticker.

My friend says she bought a car on eBay. Is it really possible to buy a car online?

Yes, eBay and other online merchants now sell cars. Research before you buy, so you'll know whether you're getting a good deal. You might check out other websites, such as, Autobytel, and As you begin research, be sure to check out our Buying and Selling Guide to have your questions answered.

NOTE: It is always wise to see and test a car in person before buying it.

How much does it cost to register and title my new car?

The Alabama title flat-fee is $20, plus a $1.50 charge for mailing. The tag fees vary for each type of vehicle and license plate. You'll also need to pay sales tax based on the county where you live. Call your local tag and title office to inquire about any other fees and to get a total.

I'm selling my car. Do I get to keep the tag?

Maybe. In Alabama, for most vehicles and tags, your license plate will transfer from one car to another. Contact your tag and title office to ask about your specific situation. For helpful information about selling your vehicle, be sure to visit our Buying and Selling Guide.

I've been looking at some imports. How do I buy a vehicle from another country and bring it here?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides detailed instructions for importing a car. Once you've researched the NHTSA's information, call your local tag and title office to learn specifics for your particular situation.

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