First Time Car Registration in Ohio
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) requires that all vehicles have a valid registration in order to operate on Ohio roadways.
If you already have a vehicle registered in Ohio and you need to renew, please visit our OH Registration Renewal page.
New to Ohio?
You are considered a new resident of Ohio when you:
- Begin working in the state.
- Rent or buy a home.
- Register to vote.
- Enroll your children in an OH school.
Within 30 days of establishing residency, you'll need to title and register your car.
The general process for getting your Ohio vehicle registration is the same as outlined below, but before registering, you must:
- Get an Ohio driver's license. For guidance, visit either of the following pages:
- Have a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection completed to verify legal ownership of the vehicle.
- Get a vehicle emissions test done, if required (please see “OH Registration Vehicle Inspections" below).
- Apply for an Ohio vehicle title. This must be done at a county clerk's title office, not the BMV.
Once these steps are complete, you're ready to register your vehicle in your new home state.
Registering a Vehicle in Ohio
You are responsible for completing your own vehicle registration in Ohio, regardless of whether you are moving to the state, purchasing a new car from a dealership (although the dealership may help the process), or buying/receiving a vehicle from a private party.
- New residents must obtain an Ohio vehicle title before registering.
- Car dealerships must provide you with the title within 30 days of purchase.
- If you are purchasing the vehicle from a private party, the seller of the vehicle is required to give you the title at the time of purchase. Make sure the title transfer is correctly documented.
Once you have the title, go to the local deputy registrar's agency and:
- Present proof of ownership (Certificate of Title or Memorandum Certificate of Title). Titles must be notarized and contain the Ohio clerk of court's seal.
- A power of attorney is required if one or more of the owners cannot be present when registering the vehicle.
- Provide either:
- Your Ohio driver's license or photo ID.
- Proof of your Social Security number.
- Your Ohio driver's license or photo ID.
- If your vehicle is leased, submit a Power of Attorney for Ohio Vehicle Registration (Form BMV 5736).
- Present inspection documents, if required.
- New-to-state vehicles require a VIN inspection document.
- Certain counties also require emissions inspections (please see “OH Registration Vehicle Inspections" below).
- Pay all applicable fees and taxes (see “Ohio Vehicle Registration Fees" below).
NOTE: Proof of insurance is not always required, but you may be randomly selected to prove you have OH auto insurance before you can complete your registration.
Your license plates will be mailed to the address on your registration. You'll receive a temporary permit that will allow you to legally drive while you wait for the plates to arrive.
Vehicle Registration for OH Military Members
Ohio Military Residents
Ohio military residents who are currently in state should follow the same procedure outlined above for in-state vehicle registration. If you are stationed out of state and purchase a vehicle that you wish to register in Ohio, you may register it by mail (see “Out-of-State OH Vehicle Registration" below).
Non-Resident Military Stationed in OH
Non-resident military service members stationed in Ohio are not required to register their vehicles in the state. Make sure you maintain a valid driver's license, registration, and insurance in your home state, so as not to be ticketed if you're pulled over in Ohio.
Out-of-State OH Registration
Residents of Ohio, military or otherwise, who find themselves away from the state when they purchase a vehicle can register the vehicle by mail. You can also use this process to renew your registration while out of state.
Before you can register a new vehicle, you must get an Ohio title issued for the vehicle. Visit our page on vehicle titling to learn how to title your vehicle from out of state.
Once you have the title:
- Download and fill out the Application for Out-of-State Registration by Mail (Form BMV 4625). Include your out-of-state address in order to receive your license plates.
- Enclose the original Ohio title.
- If your vehicle is leased, complete a Power of Attorney for Ohio Vehicle Registration (Form BMV 5736) signed by both you and the leasing company.
- Include the necessary inspection paperwork:
- VIN inspection.
- Emissions inspection, if required by the county in which you are registering.
- Provide proof of insurance, in case your application is randomly selected to prove insurance.
- Pay all the required fees and taxes (see “Ohio Vehicle Registration Fees" below).
Vehicle Registration Fees
Registration fees are due at the deputy registrar agency when you submit all the paperwork to register your vehicle. Fees for passenger and non-commercial vehicles begins at $34.50 This does not include permissive taxes which vary by the district, the Deputy Registrar license agency fees and any special license plate fees that may apply.
- Plate or registration transfer: $4.50.
- Replace or exchange 1 license plate: $10.50.
- Replace or exchange 2 license plates: $11.75.
- Temporary registration (45 days): $18.50.
- Out-of-state vehicle inspection: $3.50.
- Mailing fee for plates (if applicable): current mail rates.
There may also be additional fees for county taxes or specialty license plates. The deputy registrar agency will determine the actual amount owed for registering your vehicle.
Ohio Vehicle Inspections
Ohio requires inspections for vehicles depending upon where they are located and to determine whether or not they are stolen.
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Inspection
The VIN inspection can be done at any deputy registrar agency. The inspection checks the vehicle's make, model, body type, serial number, and VIN to make sure the vehicle is not stolen.
Vehicles being registered in a county that enforces pollution controls will need to be inspected prior to registering. The counties in Ohio that require emissions inspections are:
More information on inspections can be found on the Ohio vehicle inspections page.
OH License Plates
License plates will be mailed to the address used on your vehicle registration. You will be given a temporary permit that will allow you to legally drive while you wait for the plates to arrive. You will also receive a registration sticker for your license plate.
License plates that are in good condition do not need to be replaced. You can transfer your plates to a new vehicle for a lesser fee than replacing the plates.
There are also a number of specialty and personalized license plates you can choose from when you register. Be aware that you may have to wait longer to get them, and there will be extra fees required.
For more information, please visit our OH License Plates & Placards page.
OH Motorcycle & Special Vehicle Registration
There are different processes and documents required when registering a motorcycle, moped, snowmobile, ATV, or other special vehicle in Ohio. For detailed information, please visit any of the following pages:
- BMV 4625
- BMV 5736