Registration Renewal in Washington DC

Vehicle Registration Renewal in Washington, D.C.

Before your vehicle registration expires, you must renew it with the Washington, D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

On this page, you'll find information about renewing your vehicle registration online and by mail. You cannot renew your registration in person.

D.C. Vehicle Registration Renewal Notice

About 60 days before your vehicle registration expires, the D.C. DMV will mail you a renewal notice.

It will include your registration fees and an envelope to return your documents to the D.C. DMV.

You'll need to have your vehicle inspected before you can renew your registration. Please see “D.C. Vehicle Inspections" below.

NOTE: You can submit your e-mail address to the Washington, D.C. DMV to receive registration renewal notices by e-mail.

Renew Your D.C. Vehicle Registration

You can renew your Washington, D.C. vehicle registration online or by mail. You cannot renew in person.

Before you renew, you must have a current vehicle inspection sticker—based on your vehicle, this may include safety, emissions, or both. See “D.C. Vehicle Inspections" below.

NOTE: If your name or address has changed, you'll need to update your information with the D.C. DMV before you can renew. For more information, please see our Washington, D.C. Changing Your Address and Changing Your Name pages.

DID YOU KNOW?: Proof of car insurance is REQUIRED when renewing your registration!

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You can renew your vehicle registration online if:

  • Your vehicle registration has been expired for up to 90 days.
  • Your vehicle has a current inspection sticker.
  • You have a valid D.C. driver's license/ID card.
  • Your current name is on file at D.C. DMV.
  • Your current address is on file at D.C. DMV.
    • If you have a Real ID license or ID, you may change your address while renewing your registration online.
  • Your vehicle is insured.
  • Your vehicle does not have commercial or D.C. government license plates.
  • You have a valid Visa or MasterCard.

To renew your registration online, visit the D.C. DMV website. You'll need to:

  • Enter your vehicle registration information, including your:
    • License plate number.
    • The last 4 digits of your VIN.
  • Provide your insurance information.
  • Mark the residential parking permit box, if applicable.
  • Pay the fee. (See “Fees for D.C. Registration Renewal" below.)

When you finish your renewal, you can print a 45 day temporary registration card.

You should receive your new registration documents and license plate sticker in the mail within 10 business days. Contact the D.C. DMV to check the status of your renewal.

By Mail

To renew your D.C. vehicle registration by mail, you'll need:

  • Your registration renewal notice, if you received one.
  • Payment. (See “Fees for D.C. Registration Renewal" below.)
    • Include your license plate number on your check or money order.

Send the above to:

D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles
ATTN: Processing Center
P.O. Box 90120
Washington, D.C. 20090

You should receive your new vehicle registration certificate and license plate stickers in the mail within 10 business days.

Military Member & Out-of-District Renewals

If you are a Washington, D.C. resident and temporarily out of the district, including for military obligations, you may still renew your registration by mail or online (see “Renew Your D.C. Vehicle Registration" above).

If you are more than 75 miles outside of D.C. and cannot make it back to have your vehicle inspected, you'll need to:

  • Visit a certified repair center or dealer.
  • Get an emissions test.
  • Get an on-board diagnostics test, if the state you're in doesn't offer emissions testing.
  • Once your vehicle passes the test, request a work order printed on the service station's letterhead that includes your vehicle's:
    • Year.
    • Current mileage.
    • Make and model.
    • Vehicle identification number (VIN).
    • Tag number.
  • Provide your out-of-state mailing address where you want your inspection stickers to be mailed to.
  • Fax your documents to the D.C. DMV at (202) 729-7186 or mail them to:

Attention: D.C. DMV Station Manager
Department of Motor Vehicles
1001 Half Street, SW
Inspection Station
Washington, DC 20024

If the test results meet the D.C. DMV emissions requirements, your vehicle inspection requirements will be updated for 2 years.

NOTE: You will still need to pay the D.C. DMV emissions and safety inspection fee the next time you renew your registration in D.C. See “D.C. Vehicle Inspections" below.

D.C. Vehicle Inspections

Before you can renew your vehicle registration, your vehicle must have a valid inspection sticker. You must renew your inspection every:

  • 2 years, if you have a passenger vehicle.
  • 1 year, if you have a commercial vehicle.
  • 1 year, if you have a for-hire vehicle.

About 60 days before you need to get your vehicle inspected, the DCDMV will mail you an inspection renewal notice.

To get your vehicle tested:

  • Visit the Washington, D.C. DMV inspections station located at 1001 Half Street, SW.
  • Bring your inspection notice or provide your registration information.

Additionally, if your vehicle has salvage title, you'll have even further specialized requirements, including those for your safety and emissions inspections. Check out our guide to salvage vehicles in D.C. for further details.

Vehicle Inspection Fees

It will cost you the following fees to have your vehicle inspected in Washington, D.C.

  • Passenger vehicle: $35, valid for 2 years.
  • Taxis/for-hire vehicles: $35, valid for 1 year.
  • Commercial vehicles: $35, valid for 1 year.

NOTE: Every 30 days your vehicle inspection is late you will be charged a $20 late fee, up to a maximum of $480.

Fees for D.C. Registration Renewal

Registration fees in Washington, D.C. are calculated based on your vehicle's weight and class.

NOTE: You will pay your vehicle inspection fees when you renew your vehicle registration. See “D.C. Vehicle Inspections" above for inspection fees.

Passenger Vehicles

It will cost you the following fees per year to renew your registration:

  • 3,499 lbs. and under: $72.
  • 3,500 to 4,999 lbs.: $175.
  • 5,000 lbs. and over: $250.
  • Historic vehicles: $25.
  • Motorcycles: $52.
  • Motor-driven cycles: $30.
For commercial and all other vehicles please see the complete list of registration renewal fees for Washington, D.C.
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