New Jersey Vehicle Registration (A Complete 2023 Guide)

New Jersey Vehicle Registration

So you just bought a vehicle…

Maybe you transferred it from another state.

Whatever the case, you need to register it in New Jersey as soon as possible. 

But how do you register your car in New Jersey?

What happens if you don’t register it? 

What are the other car laws in the state? 

We’re going to answer all those questions in this complete guide to New Jersey vehicle registration. 

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started right away!

How to Register Your Car in New Jersey 

Here are the steps to registering your car in New Jersey:  

  1. Schedule an appointment at the nearest Vehicle Center. Walk-ins are not allowed. 
  1. Print and fill up a Vehicle Registration Application Form
  1. Prepare the following documents:
    1. Vehicle’s title. Click here for a guide on how to get this. 
    2. 2 proofs of identification
    3. Proof of Social Security number
    4. Proof of New Jersey residence
    5. Driver’s license
    6. New Jersey auto insurance card or policy number and company name
    7. Lien holder information and financing statement (for financed or leased vehicles)
    8. An Application for Certificate of Ownership (for vehicles from another state)

NOTE: you cannot register your vehicle if its title is not yet available. 

Check this list for additional documents the MVC might need. 

  1. Calculate your registration fee using this guide. Credit cards and cash are accepted at the agencies. 
  1. Visit the Vehicle Center on your scheduled appointment. 
  1. Submit your documents and show valid IDs. 
  1. Pay the registration fee. Remember, the fee will depend on the type of vehicle you’re operating. 
  1. Wait to receive your license plates. 

The process isn’t complicated — so don’t delay!

How to Renew Your Car Registration in New Jersey

In New Jersey, you need to renew your car registration every year. 

The good news is that you can do it online!

The MVC will send you a vehicle renewal notice 3 months before the expiration date. This notice will tell you if you’re qualified for online renewal or not. 

How to Renew A New Jersey Car Registration Online

If you are eligible for online renewal, here’s what to do: 

  1. Prepare the following documents:
    1. Your registration renewal notice
    2. Valid insurance company ID and policy number
    3. Credit card
  1. Visit the NJ MVC renewal website.
  1. Enter the nine-digit PIN found on your registration renewal notice. 
  1. Enter your information. Only put the information of the owner that is found on the vehicle’s registration. 
  1. Select special license plates (if preferred). 
  1. Pay the registration renewal fees by credit card. 
  1. The registration documents and special license plates (if any) will be mailed within 14 days. 

NOTE: Your renewal is effective immediately, but only start using it when your vehicle’s current registration expires. 

How to Renew A New Jersey Car Registration In Person

If your renewal notice doesn’t state that you can renew online, then you have to renew in person. 

Here’s how to renew your registration at the MVC:

  1. Prepare the following documents
    1. Registration renewal notice or VIN
    2. Insurance card or insurance company name and policy number
    3. 2 proofs of identification
    4. Proof of Social Security number
    5. Proof of New Jersey residence
    6. Payment for the amount due on the notice
    7. Completed Vehicle Registration Application Form
    8. Power of attorney (if renewing for someone else)
  1. Schedule an appointment with a Vehicle Center. 
  1. During your appointment, submit your documents. 
  1. Pay the registration renewal fee by credit card or cash. 
  1. Wait to receive your renewal documents. 

How to Renew A New Jersey Car Registration By Mail

If you’re not eligible for online renewal and want to skip the lines at the MVC, then you can opt for a renewal by mail. 

Here are the steps to take: 

  1. Complete the form included in the registration renewal notice. Even the back part should be filled out. 
  1. Prepare a check or money order payable to the NJ MVC.
  1. Mail the form and payment to the address stated in the renewal notice. 

Car Registration Penalties in New Jersey 

If you fail to follow the car registration requirements, you will be subject to a fine of up to $100. 

Moreover, if a traffic enforcer sees that you have no registration or only an expired one, your vehicle will be towed away on the spot. 

Skip the hassle and the fines by ensuring that you register a new vehicle right away and you renew its registration as soon as you get the renewal notice. 

New Jersey Car Laws

On top of the vehicle registration requirements, there are other car laws in New Jersey. These include:

  • Registration laws
  • Vehicle Title Requirements
  • Car Inspection
  • Auto Insurance 
  • Lemon Law

Let’s look at each one in detail. 

Registration Laws

If you just moved to New Jersey and your vehicle is registered outside the state, you have 60 days to register your vehicle and title it in New Jersey. 

On the other hand, if you’re already a resident of New Jersey and you bought a new car within the state, you have 10 days to register the vehicle. 

Vehicle Title Requirements

Before you can register your vehicle, you first need to acquire its title. 

If you’re buying a vehicle from a dealer in New Jersey, getting a title is easy since the dealer handles the whole process. However, if you are purchasing it from a person or an out-of-state dealer, you have to handle the titling yourself. 

In New Jersey, you have to get your vehicle titled within 10 days of purchasing it. To know more about the vehicle titling process, visit the NJ MVC.

Car Inspection

You are required by law to go through a vehicle inspection if: 

  • Your car’s model is from 1996 to the present
  • Your car is gasoline-fueled
  • Your car is a passenger-registered vehicle
  • Your car is more than 5 years old

If your vehicle fits all those descriptions, then you have to get it inspected every 2 years at a state inspection station. 

Moreover, if your vehicle is:

  • Model 1997 to the present
  • Diesel-fueled
  • Passenger-registered
  • More than 5 years old
  • With a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less

You have to pass emission inspections every 2 years at a state inspection station. 

On the other hand, if your vehicle is commercial-registered with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less, you need it to be inspected every year. 

NOTE: When you get your vehicle inspected, always bring your valid driver’s license, New Jersey vehicle registration, and insurance documents. 

Auto Insurance 

Another required document to have is auto insurance. 

The State of New Jersey gives vehicle owners the choice between a standard policy and a basic policy. 

Type of CoverageStandard PolicyBasic Policy
Bodily Injury Liability At least $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accidentCoverage is not included but $10,000 coverage for all persons, per accident, is available as an option
Property Damage Liability   CoverageAt least $5,000 per accident$5,000 per accident
Personal Injury Protection   At least $15,000 per person or accident$15,000 per person, per accident

These policies can be purchased from any licensed insurance provider.

Those who drive uninsured vehicles will face community service, fines, and a possible license and vehicle suspension. 

Lemon Law

The Lemon Law was created to protect owners from defects on their vehicles in its first two years or first 24,000 miles. 

Now, before your vehicle is given a “Lemon” designation, it should be approved by the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety. After it’s approved, that’s when the MVC can mark your vehicle a “Lemon”. 

Also, before you take advantage of this law, you first have to give the dealer or manufacturer a chance to repair your vehicle before raising the issue to the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety. 

It’s only when the defect substantially impairs the use and safety of your vehicle can you file it under the Lemon Law.


So that was your complete guide to New Jersey vehicle registration. 

Remember, you’re only given 10 (or 60) days to register your car in the state. You shouldn’t delay if you want to avoid the penalties. 

The same goes for your car registration renewal. 

And on top of that, make sure you follow all the other New Jersey car laws. 

Being a responsible driver also means following vehicle laws. 

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