New to Ohio

SUMMARY: New Ohio Residents

If you're new to Ohio, you'll need to transfer your out-of-state driver's license to the state BMV and register your car. These tasks require a visit to your local BMV office in person. If you want to, you can also register to vote and register as an organ donor in the state.

Continue reading this page to learn how to complete all your tasks with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) and get settled as an Ohio resident.

Ohio State Departments

When most people think about vehicle and licensing services, they think of the DMV; however, the agency that provides these services is not always called the “DMV." In Ohio, this agency is the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles is the main source for DMV-related transactions in the state. Services provided by the Ohio BMV include the following:

  • Driver licensing and renewal.
  • State ID cards.
  • Vehicle registration and renewal.
  • Titling and title transfers.
  • License plate and parking placard issuance.

Additionally, other agencies within Ohio include:

  • The Department of Natural Resources: Handles boat registration and licenses.
  • The Ohio court system: Handles traffic violations and penalties.
  • The Secretary of State: Oversees elections and voter registration.
Just Moved?

Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.

Register Your Car in Ohio

If you're bringing your car from your previous state with you to Ohio, you'll need to register it with the OH BMV once you become a resident. You will need to visit your local BMV office in person, present some required documents, and pay the registration fee. For more information, visit our Car Registration in Ohio page.

Special Vehicles

As mentioned above, vehicles must be registered with the Ohio BMV. This includes special vehicles such as recreational vehicles (RVs), trailers, and mopeds. The process may be a little different to registering your standard car. Our Special Vehicles in Ohio page will answer any questions you may have.

Car Insurance

When registering your car in Ohio, you may be asked to show proof of your car insurance, so make sure you bring this with you to the OH BMV, just in case.

Changing states is always a great time to shop your insurance provider. Make sure you're getting the most value possible by visiting our Car Insurance in Ohio page.

Required inspections in Ohio

In Ohio, qualifying vehicles must undergo an emissions inspection in order to be registered. To find out if your vehicle requires this check, please refer to our Car Inspections in Ohio page.

OH Driver's License/ID Cards

Once you become an Ohio resident, you'll need to visit a BMV office in person and transfer your out-of-state driver's license to the state. You will need to present some required documents, pay the driver's license fee, and possibly pass some required tests. More information can be found on our Applying for a New License page.

Teen Drivers

If you're a teenager with an out-of-state driving permit, you may be eligible for an Ohio permit as long as you meet the BMV's requirements. See our Applying for a Teen License page for details.

If you need a commercial driver's license (CDL), application instructions can be found on our Applying for a New CDL page.

Identification Cards

If you don't need to drive in Ohio, you can simply apply for an ID card that can be used as proof of your identity, date of birth, and address. You'll need to visit an Ohio BMV office in person with the required documents and payment. Visit our Identification Cards page for complete instructions.

Organ Donor and Voter Registration

Were you a registered organ donor in your previous state? If you were, you'll need to re-register with Ohio's registry once you're a resident. Your information doesn't automatically get transferred over after you move. To register, and for more information about how organ donors save lives, visit our Organ Donation in Ohio page.

If you want to exercise your right to vote, you'd better update your voter registration in Ohio as well. Make sure you don't miss any upcoming ballots; check out our Voter Registration in Ohio page.

Military Members Stationed in Ohio

If you're only in Ohio temporarily in order to fulfill your military obligations, you may be exempt from some of the state's licensing and registration requirements. Some helpful information can be found on our Drivers in the Military in Ohio page.

DMV Office Locations & Resources

Our DMV Office Finder will help you find any BMV office in the state. All you have to do is enter your zip code.

Additional helpful resources:

DMV.ORG BBB Business Review