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New Vehicle Registration

General Information

  • In order for a vehicle to be registered in the District of Columbia, it must pass an inspection, except new vehicle as indicated by a Manufacturers Certificate of Origin (i.e., a title for new vehicles). However, these new vehicles are still required to display the inspection sticker that is provided by the DMV when the vehicle is originally titled and registered. All vehicles used for commercial or for hire purposes must go through inspection.
  • To obtain vehicle registration and title at a DMV service center, please bring proof of DC insurance coverage, present the required documents and pay applicable fees.
  • Individuals residing in the District of Columbia, who are serving in the military are not required to register their vehicles. Instead they may apply for a DC Reciprocity Permit. For those individuals serving in the military, who want to register their vehicle(s) in the District of Columbia, they will be required to surrender their existing license/identification card and obtain a DC Driver License or Non-Driver identification.
  • When registering a vehicle, tags may be transferred from another vehicle provided the tags are not expired.
  • When registering a vehicle, the name of individual registering the vehicle, must be listed on the title. In the case of a Certificate of Origin (new vehicle) or Title (the purchase of a used vehicle) the CO/Title must be signed over to the owners before titling and registration can be accomplished. If there are multiple owners of the vehicle, all owners must be listed on the title/CO and any lien/leased paperwork.
  • If registering a vehicle with multiple owners, at least one owner must have a valid DC Driver License or non-driver ID.
  • There are special requirements for motorcycles and motor-driven cycles which are imported from outside the United States.
  • Most vehicles equal to or greater than 55,000lbs are required to pay a Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT). Review FHWA’s brochure [PDF] to ensure your compliance.
  • A motor vehicle displaying unremovable commercial advertising or insignia is considered a commercial vehicle (and is not eligible for residential parking).

If a vehicle:

  • Has tags from another jurisdiction, vehicle may be taken directly to the inspection station. Once the vehicle has passed inspection, it may be registered at a DMV service center.
  • Has a DC valid inspection sticker, vehicle does not have to go back through inspection; it may be titled and registered. Vehicles with an expired inspection sticker are required to pass inspection prior to being register.
  • Has expired DC tags, the owner may apply for a one time 5 day extension on vehicle registration. This 5 day extension is granted to get the vehicle inspected. To obtain a 5 day extension, please bring the following:
  • Has expired non-DC tags and the vehicle owner has a title already in his/her name, the owner may obtain a temporary DC registration to take the vehicle through inspection.
  • Has expired non-DC tags and the title is not in the lienholder’s name (i.e., the vehicle is leased or has a lienholder), the owner may obtain a temporary tag to take the vehicle through inspection.
  • Is leased, a request for the title* must be submitted to the leasing company (normally the leasing company will only send the title directly to DMV) prior to titling/registering the vehicle. Once the DMV receives the title, vehicle may be registered. In addition to the documents required for registering the vehicle, a signed lease agreement is also required.
  • Has a lien, a request for the title* must be submitted to the lien holder. Once the title has been received by DMV, the vehicle may be registered. You may access our Out-of-State Title Status online to verify whether we have received the title from the lienholder.
  • Is a used vehicle newly purchased by a DC resident, the owner may obtain a temporary DC registration to take the vehicle through inspection.
  • Was acquired through the death of the vehicle owner, additional documents are necessary to register the vehicle.
  • Owner wishes to register the vehicle in the name of the District based business, a copy of the basic business license must be submitted along with the registration application and other required documents.

In order to title and register a vehicle, all outstanding tickets, dishonored check(s) fee, delinquent child support payments or any other debt owed to the District of Columbia Government must be satisfied. 

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