Generally, you can’t register your car in a different state from where you live just to evade high registration fees or insurance costs. However, there are some states that allow non resident vehicle registration, provided you have a valid reason. In many U.S. states, drivers are required to hold a driver’s license and register their vehicles in the same state they reside in. Nonetheless, there are exceptions.
Your situation might warrant registering your car in a different state. For instance, if you own vacation homes in multiple states, are a non-resident student, or if you are in the military.
Things To Note
- Only about 8 states permit non-residents to register their vehicles legally.
- You must register and insure your vehicle in the same state after the state-specific grace period closes or your current registration expires (if the current state has reciprocity with your other state).
- College students, active military personnel, and bi-state residents may legally register their vehicle in another state
Each state has distinct vehicle registration requirements that you must meet to legally operate a vehicle. The prospect of high registration fees and insurance premiums might make the idea of registering a vehicle in another state tempting due to potential cost savings. However, apart from a few exemptions, it is unlawful to register and insure your vehicle in a state different from your residence. Meanwhile, you don’t need vehicle registration to get insurance in the new state.
States that Allow Non Resident Vehicle Registration
While many states restrict non-resident registrations, there are about 8 states that allow non resident vehicle registration, including:
- New York
- North Dakota
Although the norm is that states do not allow non-residents to register their vehicles there, certain circumstances permit drivers to secure temporary registration or retain registration in a state they no longer reside in.
1. Residence in different states
If you live in two states, you can register your vehicle in the state where you would be driving more frequently or possibly register in both. For instance, if you equally split your time between California and Texas, you can register one car in California and another in Texas.
2. Non-resident college students
College students studying out of state are allowed to keep their vehicle registered in their home state using their residential address.
3. Active military personnel temporarily assigned to another state
Active-duty service members who are temporarily stationed in another state are permitted to maintain their vehicle registration in their home state. While exceptions do exist, review the laws in the specific state to ensure you are abiding by them and not illegally operating a vehicle due to incorrect registration.
Can You Register a Car in a Different State than Your License?
Many states won’t allow vehicle registration unless you have a driver’s license issued by the same state. These states mandate new residents obtain a local driver’s license within a certain period, usually between 30 to 90 days. States may also require you to provide your driver’s license or other proof of residency when registering your vehicle.
That said, some states do not necessitate a matching driver’s license for vehicle registration, allowing you to register your car as a nonresident. Below is a list of all states with resourceful links to their registration requirements for non-residents.
|State||Vehicle Registration Requirements for Non-residents|
|Alabama||You can register your car within 30 days. However, starting from the 31st day, you become liable for Alabama motor vehicle registration fees.|
|Alaska||In Alaska, you must apply for registration within 10 days of entering the state. Also, you can drive with your current registration from another state for 60 days.|
|Arizona||In Arizona, you will need your out-of-state title (or registration, if the title is held by lienholder), out-of-state license plates, and a lien clearance, if applicable.|
|Arkansas||You can get a Georgia registration as a nonresident with your out-of-state license and registration. Moreover, non-resident military personnel and non-resident students are not required to register their cars in the state.|
|California||Non-residents can register a vehicle if the vehicle is based in California or primarily used on California highways.|
|Colorado||Colorado doesn’t require an in-state license for vehicle registration. However, proof of Colorado insurance is needed.|
|Connecticut||Get an emissions test and/or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) verification, gather your title, proof of insurance and schedule an appointment and pay the fees.|
|Delaware||In-state license is not needed to register your vehicle, but two documents proving Delaware residency are required. The vehicle must also pass an inspection.|
|Florida||Non-residents can register vehicles temporarily under specific conditions. For instance, if temporarily employed in Florida, you can apply for a 90-day license plate. Nonresident military members stationed in Florida can also purchase a Florida license plate and qualify for a fee exemption.|
|Georgia||No in-state license is required for vehicle registration. However, two documents with your name and an Indiana address are needed.|
|Hawaii||You can register your vehicle as a non-resident in Hawaii. According to reports, no late registration penalty as long as your out of state registration is still current.|
|Idaho||In Idaho, you must be a resident or business and title the car in the state before it can be registered.|
|Illinois||You need proof of Illinois residency to register a vehicle in Illinois.|
|Indiana||You need the car title, the VIN inspection, the current registration from the previous state, and current proof of insurance.|
|Iowa||As a nonresident car owner, you pay the same fees for registration as paid by vehicles owned by residents of this state.|
|Kansas||Yes, you can register as a non-resident at the DMV and the lines aren’t bad. However, to register a car for the first time in Louisiana is super expensive. Estimate between $600-$1500 if your car isn’t a bucket.|
|Kentucky||In-state license is not required, but a photo ID is needed. Proof of Kentucky car insurance is also required unless you’re an active-duty military member stationed in Kentucky.|
|Louisiana||Maryland gives a non-resident permit which allows a licensed but non-resident driver to maintain and operate a vehicle with out-of-state registration for more than sixty (60) days in Maryland, without titling and registering it here. After 60 days, you may register your vehicle.|
|Maine||Maine doesn’t require an in-state driver’s license. You must bring your out-of-state title and registration (if transferring from another state) and your Maine insurance card.|
|Maryland||Submit your foreign state title, or current registration if the title is being held by the lien holder. Provide your insurance company name and policy number. Provide the current odometer reading.|
|Massachusetts||Only proof of lawful presence in the U.S. is required. If you don’t have an in-state license, you can show an unexpired license from another state or country, a Social Security card, or another document proving lawful presence in the country.|
|Michigan||You can register your car as a non resident.|
|Minnesota||After your residence in the State of Nebraska for 30 or more continuous days, you can register the vehicle the same way a resident would. You need your title, proof of insurance, and registration. However, if you reside in Nebraska’s reciprocity state, including North Carolina and Wyoming, your current registration is valid until it expires.|
|Mississippi||You can register the vehicle at your county Tax Collector’s office within 30 days of your residency in Mississippi. You will need the vehicle’s title and current valid registration (license plate) receipt from the state in which the vehicle was last registered.|
|Missouri||You have 30 days from the date of becoming a Missouri resident to title your vehicle.|
|Montana||You don’t need a Montana driver’s license to title and register your vehicle in Montana. However, you need to prove residency in the County where you are registering your vehicle.|
|Nebraska||You need to become a resident, then contact your county of residence auditor’s office with the VIN of the vehicle you’re registering in SC. You will also pay the property tax bill to the county.|
|Nevada||A vehicle operated in Nevada for more than 30 days in one year can be registered by a non-resident who is into trade, profession or occupation or gainful employment in the state.|
|New Hampshire||Seasonal residents and college students may choose to register their vehicle in New Hampshire as a resident only if the vehicle will be housed exclusively in the State of New Hampshire. This means it cannot be taken out of New Hampshire for any overnight trips.|
|New Jersey||You can get NJ registration both as a temporary and a permanent resident.|
|New Mexico||You can operate in New Mexico for 180 days without registration. After which you can register the vehicle as a non-resident. However, if you’re gainfully employed in the state for more than 30 days or within 60 days, you become a resident.|
|New York||Nonresidents can register vehicles from out of state by mailing an application and the necessary documents to a New York DMV office.|
|North Carolina||A non resident must get the vehicle titled in North Carolina before registering it.|
|North Dakota||Nonresidents working in the state can obtain temporary vehicle registration, valid for either six or 12 months. You’re required to maintain current registration in your home state.|
|Ohio||To register a vehicle and obtain license plates in Ohio, you must convert your out-of-state title to an Ohio title.|
|Oklahoma||As a new resident of Oklahoma moving in from another state, you need to transfer your license to an Oklahoma Driver License, Learner Permit, or Commercial Driver License (CDL), and register your vehicles.|
|Oregon||You must be a resident of or live in Oregon to register under Oregon law.|
|Pennsylvania||Pennsylvania requires you to become a resident to apply for Pennsylvania title and registration of your vehicle within 20 days of establishing residency.|
|Rhode Island||First, contact the local police department in the state for a VIN inspection. You also need a current Rhode Island drivers license or current out-of-state license and insurance information to register your car in Rhode Island.|
|South Carolina||Nonresidents can choose to register their vehicles in Utah. All required Utah fees and inspections apply though.|
|South Dakota||Nonresidents can register vehicles in the state. You need your original out-of-state title, a copy of your driver’s license, Social Security number, and a registration application.|
|Tennessee||Apply for a Tennessee title and registration for your vehicle before the expiration of your out of state registration.|
|Texas||Visit your local county tax-assessor collector office. You will need your insurance card, proof of vehicle inspection (the Vehicle, and your driver’s license.|
|Utah||The code of Virginia allows nonresidents to register their cars in the state. Also, a nonresident may use their car temporarily without registration, within 6 months.|
|Vermont||You can register your car in Vermont as a nonresident but must complete the Out of State Registration Certification form (VN-102) by your home state DMV or a comparable agency, verifying that you have no requirement to register your vehicle there.|
|Virginia||New West Virginia resident must have their car titled and registered within 30 days of residency.|
|Washington||You must pay the retail sales tax (if purchasing a vehicle) if you intend to use it in Washington for more than 3 months.|
|West Virginia||A new West Virginia resident must have their car titled and registered within 30 days of residency.|
|Wisconsin||A nonresident can submit their out of state registration and will receive license plates and registration. You will still pay the title fee but if you later submit your out-of-state title, the DMV will issue a Wisconsin title at no additional charge, unless an applicable counter service fee.|
|Wyoming||A nonresident can bring their VIN inspection (done on a Wyoming form), current out of state registration, and proof of insurance to register a car in Wyoming.|
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I change my car registration to another state?
Visit your local DMV office, submit your proof of insurance, vehicle registration, and title registration to be transferred into your new state, and pay the registration fees, which vary by state. Some states require a VIN inspection before nonresident registration.
If I move to another state do I need to change my car insurance?
You need a new car insurance policy when you move to another state, even if you maintain the same insurance provider. This is because every state has unique coverage requirements and regulations, so your insurer will terminate your old policy.
Can you have two vehicles registered in different states?
You can have two cars registered in two different states if you reside in both. For instance, if your residences are in New York and Colorado, you can have one vehicle registered in each state. However, you must comply with each state’s vehicle registration requirements, including paying the respective registration fee.
Ultimately, adhering to the specific state’s law is important when registering and getting insurance for your vehicle. Do not operate a vehicle outside the grace period without registration. Meanwhile, if you reside in two states and are unsure where to register and purchase vehicle insurance, the wise decision is your primary state of residence. However, certain exceptions, such as military service or nonresident student, may allow you to drive legally in a state where you are not a resident.