Car Registration in Arizona

Summary: How to Register Your Car in Arizona

Vehicle registration in Arizona MUST be completed in person at your local MVD office. You will need to submit your vehicle title, a completed application form, and proof of ID, as well as pay the required fee. You can obtain a temporary registration if you need extra time to gather your vehicle paperwork in order to register it. If you live in Phoenix or Tucson, you will also be required to pass an emissions test.

The information on this page helps ease you through Arizona's vehicle registration process. If you're already driving a registered vehicle in Arizona and need renewal information, visit our Registration Renewal page for the full scoop.

Registration processes for other vehicle types, such as ATVs, custom-built cars, and RVs or motor homes, can be found at our page on Other Vehicle Registrations.

New to Arizona?

State law requires that you register your vehicle with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) immediately after establishing residency.

Residency in AZ is more than just having an Arizona address. The state considers you a resident if any one of the following situations applies to you:

  • You obtain an Arizona driver's license.
  • Your kids attend school here without paying an out-of-state tuition rate.
  • You're employed in Arizona (seasonal agricultural workers exempt).
  • You remain in the state for 7 months or more in one calendar year.
  • You have an Arizona business that houses and operates vehicles here.
  • You own an AZ business that transports people or goods in the state.
  • You're registered to vote in AZ.

Required Documents

To register, you must visit any AZ MVD office in person. But before visiting you'll need:

  • Proof of car insurance that meets, at the very minimum, Arizona's required coverage amounts:
    • $25,000 per person.
    • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury.
    • $20,000 per accident for property damage.
  • An emissions compliance form. Read more about emissions testing on our Smog & Emission Checks page.

To ease the process, Arizona allows you to register and title your vehicle at the same time. To learn more about obtaining a title, check out our Title Transfers page.

Visiting Your MVD Office

When you're ready to apply, visit your local Arizona MVD office with:

  • A completed Title and Registration Application (Form 96-0236).
  • Proof of passing an emissions test, if you reside in Phoenix or Tucson.
    • The results of your test will be automatically sent to the MVD.
  • Proof of a Level I inspection, if applicable.
    • This only applies if you do not have your car's registration certificate and/or title. A Level I inspection merely verifies your vehicle identification number (VIN).
    • MVD offices provide this service free of charge.
  • Your car's out-of-state title, or, if it's held by a lienholder, your car's current registration certificate.
  • Your out-of-state license plates.
  • Proof of Arizona car insurance.
  • Photo identification (driver's license, ID card, etc.). The MVD provides a list of acceptable documents.
  • Payment for Arizona registration fees (see “AZ Vehicle Registration Fees" below).

The MVD will mail you the registration documents and license plate tabs; the paper receipt will serve as proof of your registration until the registration and tabs arrive.
Arizona car registrations are valid for 1 year, 2 years, or 5 years. Vehicles exempt from emissions testing are eligible for registration for 5 years.

For detailed information on titling, visit our Arizona Title Transfers page.

Registering a Vehicle in Arizona

The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division requires you to register your vehicle in person at a branch office. If you purchase your vehicle from a dealership, in most instances the dealer will submit your vehicle registration documents for you. Be sure to confirm to avoid any confusion.

Make sure you have an active car insurance policy when registering your vehicle.

Compare rates and buy your policy online: Visit the Insurance Center >>

Arizona Restricted Use Permit

Any newly purchased vehicle – new or used – must be registered before it can be driven. To drive it for an emissions test, vehicle inspection, or to the MVD to register it, you may apply for a restricted use 3-day permit. You can do this online, provided you have a printer, by visiting the ServiceArizona website. The fee for a 3-day permit is $1.

Note: Even if the seller inadvertently leaves the plates on the vehicle, you cannot drive it until it's registered under your name. Should this occur, surrender the plates to any MVD office.

Steps to Register

You may only register your vehicle in person at an MVD branch. Before visiting the MVD to register your car, make sure to have in your possession:

  • Proof of car insurance.
  • An emissions compliance form, if you reside in the Tucson or Phoenix areas.
    • This will be provided by the inspection station upon passing.
    • Most vehicles 5 years old or newer are exempt. To learn more about exemptions, fees, and the testing process, visit our Smog & Emission Checks page.

Arizona's MVD conveniently allows you to register and title your vehicle simultaneously. For detailed information on titling, jump over to our Title Transfers page.

To register, visit your local Arizona Motor Vehicle Division office with:

  • A completed Title and Registration Application (Form 96-0236).
  • An emissions compliance form, if applicable (this cannot be downloaded).
  • Proof of vehicle insurance.
  • Proof of vehicle ownership (e.g., notarized car title, Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin [MCO]).
  • Photo identification (e.g., driver's license, ID card). Please reference the MVD's list of acceptable documents.
  • Payment for AZ car registration fees (please see “AZ Vehicle Registration Fees" below).

The MVD will mail you the registration documents and license plate tabs; the paper receipt will serve as proof of registration until the registration and tabs arrive.

Your AZ car registration will be good for 1 year, 2 years, or 5 years. If your vehicle is exempt from emissions testing, you are eligible for the registration for 5 years.

For complete information on titling, visit our Arizona Title Transfers page.

NOTE: If you plan to transfer the license plates credit from another vehicle to a new vehicle you must do so within 30 days . Learn more under the “Selling" section on our Title Transfers page.

Temporary AZ Vehicle Registration

If you do not have all of the required documentation listed above to register your vehicle, you will need to apply for a temporary registration valid for 90 days . This certificate will give you time to drive while gathering the necessary documents to obtain a permanent vehicle registration certificate.

The temporary registration, valid for 90 days , is $15. After you submit all other required documents, your registration fees and taxes will be backdated to the date you acquired your temporary registration, and you will be responsible for full payment.

Military Vehicle Registration in Arizona

Arizona Military Residents

Military members who are residents of Arizona should follow the same steps listed above for vehicle registration.

Non-Resident Military Stationed in Arizona

You are not required to register your vehicle with the MVD if you're an out-of-state military resident stationed in Arizona. However, you may need to comply with the state's emissions laws, depending on your location and/or situation. Check with your company commander for more information.

If you decide to establish residency in Arizona, you'll need to apply for an Arizona car registration certificate. This requires visiting an AZ MVD office with the same documents described above under our “ New to Arizona?" section above.

You may also be exempt from paying the vehicle license tax of your registration fees. Along with the documents mentioned above, you should also provide a Special Military Exemption Affidavit, (Form 96-0240) signed by your commanding officer.

If you're deployed overseas and your spouse remains in AZ, the vehicle license tax will still apply, provided your name is listed on the car's title.

Arizona Registration Fees

The Arizona MVD charges both registration/titling fees and a separate vehicle license tax on all registered vehicles in the state.

Registration and Titling Fees

  • Registration fee: $8.
  • Title fee: $4.
  • Air Quality Research fee: $1.50.
  • 3-day permit: $1.
  • 90 days temporary registration fee: $15.
  • Highway Patrol operations fee:
    • Most vehicles: $32 per vehicle per year.
    • Street-legal golf carts and off-highway vehicles (OHVs): $5 per vehicle per year.

Arizona Vehicle License Tax

The state also charges a vehicle license tax (VLT) at every registration and renewal. This tax is assessed for each $100 of your vehicle's value. Note that the value of your vehicle is calculated as 60% of the original manufacturer's retail price, and that total will be lowered by 16.25% at every registration renewal.

For each $100 of the vehicle's value, you will be assessed:

  • New vehicles: $2.80.
  • Used vehicles: $2.89.
  • Alternative Fuel Vehicle: (fee varies on when the vehicle was registered).

Please note that if you are registering your vehicle for 2 years or 5 years, you will be responsible for paying the total tax amount for all years you are registering for.

All MVD offices accept checks, money orders or cash. Some offices may accept credit cards. Call before visiting to make sure.

Arizona Vehicle Inspections

Emission tests are required for residents of Phoenix and Tucson. The inspection station will send your test results electronically to the MVD. If you do not have the title for your vehicle, you'll also need to have a VIN inspection performed. This can usually be done the same day at an MVD full-service station.

For more information, including vehicles exempt from the emissions program, visit our AZ Smog & Emission Checks page.

AZ License Plates

When you register your vehicle, the Motor Vehicle Division will issue you a license plate before you leave to attach to your car. The license plate tabs will be mailed to you. In addition to the standard license plates available, the Arizona MVD also offers a wide variety of specialized license plates for an additional cost.

Replace Lost or Stolen AZ License Plate

Should you lose your AZ license plates, you'll need to replace them immediately. You may do so either in person or by mail.

NOTE: Notify the police if you suspect your plate was stolen.

In-Person Replacement

Visit any MVD office with:

  • One form of identification (driver's license, ID card).
  • Either the license plate number or vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Payment to cover the $5 replacement fee.

If it's a standard plate and it is in stock, you should receive it before you leave. If you've requested a specialized license plate, the MVD will mail it to you. The license plate tabs will not be given to you at a MVD office or 3rd party vendor; the tabs will be mailed to you.

Replace by Mail

If you need a duplicate license plate, you may apply by mail by submitting:

  • A completed Plate Notice (Form 48-3302).
  • Check or money order to cover the $5 replacement fee and first class postage.

Registering a Non-Operational Vehicle

If you wish to re-register a non-operational vehicle that was registered within the last 5 years, visit your MVD office with:

If your vehicle has not been registered within the last 5 years, contact the MVD for re-registration requirements.

If you plan to take a vehicle temporarily off the road and not renew its registration, you need to surrender your license plates in person at any MVD office.

Be sure to cancel the registration before canceling the car insurance.


Title and Registration Application
Apply for an original OR duplicate Arizona title AND/OR registration with the Motor Vehicle Division.
Special Military Exemption
Submit this form to the AZ MVD to request military exemption from vehicle registration fees while deployed.
Registration Penalty Fee Waiver, Non-Use
Submit this form to the Motor Vehicle Division to avoid late registration fees if you didn't operate the vehicle since its registration expired.
Plate Notice
Notify the Motor Vehicle Division of a release of responsibility for an AZ license plate no longer in your possession.
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