District law requires that all vehicles housed and operated in the District be registered in the District of Columbia. If you move to the District, have a valid registration from another jurisdiction, and do not qualify for reciprocity, you have 60 calendar days from the date you begin to live in DC to register your vehicle with DC DMV. You must first convert your out-of-state driver license to a District of Columbia driver license or non-driver identification card. If you are a student, diplomat, active military member, part-time resident, member of Congress or presidential appointee and you want to retain your home state driver license or tags, you must apply for a reciprocity permit.
How to Register Your New or Used Vehicle
To legally register your new or used vehicle in the District, you must visit a DC DMV service center, with the following required documents:
- If the vehicle has multiple owners, all owners must be listed on the title. More information can be found at the links below:
- District Residency and Documentation for Vehicle Registrations
- The vehicle has passed inspection. New cars will automatically get a sticker for the vehicle; used cars and commercial vehicles must be inspected. Information is available at the link below:
- Vehicle Inspections
- The vehicle is currently insured in the District. Information is available at the link below:
- Vehicle Insurance
- You hold the title and are listed on the title for the vehicle. Information is available at the link below:
- Vehicle Titles
- There will be title and registration fees due at the time of processing. Information on DC DMV fees is available at the link below:
- DC DMV Fees
- To register a vehicle that weighs 55,000 lbs or more, you will have to pay a Heavy Vehicle Use Tax. Information is available at the link below:
- Heavy Vehicle Use Tax [PDF]
Note: Registration renewals are available online or by mail and registration card replacements are available online or in-person. Information on renewals and replacement cards is available at the links below:
Leases and Liens
If your vehicle is under lease or lien, you may encounter the following special circumstances in registering your vehicle.
If your vehicle:
- 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), you may obtain a temporary tag to take the vehicle through inspection.
- Is leased, you (or the leasing company) must submit a request for the title to the leasing company (normally the leasing company will only send the title directly to DC DMV) prior to titling/registering the vehicle. Once DC DMV receives the title, the vehicle may be registered. In addition to the other documents required for registering the vehicle, you must also provide a signed lease agreement.
- Has a lien, a request for the title must be submitted to the lienholder. Access DC DMV's Online Out-of-State Title Information system to verify whether we have received the title from the lienholder. Once the title has been received by DC DMV, the vehicle may be registered.
Lease Buyout Registration
If you buy your car at the end of a lease, to register it, you will need all of the information above and an odometer statement that shows the current mileage of the vehicle. You may retain the current valid vehicle tags from your lease period.
Information on DC DMV service centers is available at the link below: