District law requires that all vehicles housed and operated in the District of Columbia must be registered in the District unless the owner displays a reciprocity sticker issued by DC DMV. Before you can title and register a vehicle, all outstanding tickets, dishonored check(s) fee, delinquent child support payments, or any other debt you owe to the District of Columbia Government must be paid.
Use DC DMV's online Document Verification Guide to determine what documents you need to title and register your vehicle.
More information on vehicle registrations is available at the pages linked below:
- Initial Registration of a New or Used Vehicle
- District Residency and Documentation for Vehicle Registrations
- Vehicle Registration Renewals
- 5-Day Temporary Registration
- Registration Card Replacements
- Vehicle Registration and Title Fee Estimator
- DC DMV Digital Registration Card
Basic information on reciprocity, non-traditional vehicles, and leases and liens is available below, with links to further information on other pages.
DC DMV offers registration reciprocity or the recognition of registrations from other jurisdictions, for certain people, including full-time students, active duty military personnel, temporary or part-time District residents, and members of Congress. Anyone who meets the criteria for reciprocity permit can obtain a reciprocity permit to place on his or her vehicle windshield.
DC DMV also services low speed vehicles, personal mobility devices (PMDs), motorcycles, and motorized bicycles. Find general information on these non-traditional vehicles.
Find more information on registering imported motorcycles and motorized bicycles.
To register a vehicle that weighs 55,000 lbs or more, you will have to pay a Heavy Vehicle Use Tax. There are few exceptions to this.
Special Considerations for 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 lien holder. Once the title has been received by DC DMV, the vehicle may be registered. Access DC DC DMV's Out of State Title Information Online system to verify whether we have received the title from the lienholder.