Most states require you to renew your motor vehicle registration once every year. However, some states allow you to register your vehicle for a lengthier period. Regardless, you must renew your registration before it’s set to expire. You’ll receive a reminder letter by mail when you’re nearing your renewal. However, you are still required to renew, even if you do not receive the letter.

Additionally, you are required to replace your registration if it becomes lost, damaged, or stolen. This includes your registration card, license plates, and license plate tags.

Learn About Renewing or Replacing Your Registration

To renew your registration, you will need your:

  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Vehicle license plate number
  • Proof of auto insurance that meets minimum state requirements
  • Your driver’s license
  • Your current car registration

Additionally, some states will require you to complete an additional emissions and safety test before you can renew. However, other states opt to require you to complete these tests at least once in a specified period.

Depending on your state, you may be eligible to renew online, by phone, by mail, or in person at your local office. However, some states leave renewal methods up to specific counties, so it’s always a good idea to check your renewal options before you renew. You may even have the choice to opt for auto registration services to renew your registration when the time comes automatically when the time comes. Registration renewal fees will vary by state, vehicle, registration length, and other factors.

Failing to renew your registration in a timely manner can have dire consequences. While fines are common, some states will impound your vehicle until you pay the past-due fees. Should this happen, you will be responsible for paying the impound before you can retrieve your car.

In many cases, you can request a motor vehicle registration replacement application online. Completing this form prior to your visit to the DMV will reduce the amount of time you’ll spend at the office. Alternatively, check to see if you can replace your registration online, by mail, or by phone as some states offer these options.

Most DMVs will charge you to replace your registration. However, these fees are commonly minimal. If you’re nearing your registration renewal date, it’s recommended that you complete your renewal instead of requesting a replacement for this reason. Lastly, you should always report potentially stolen license plates or registration documents to the police, and some states will require you to do so.