Need to register your car in New York?
Almost time to renew your car registration?
Want to know the car laws in the state?
You’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about New York car registration — from how to register to the required car documents.
So are you ready?
How to Register Your Car in New York
You can divide the car registration process in New York into 4 steps:
- Ensure you’re insured
- Visit the DMV
- Receive your documents
- Undergo inspection
Let’s explore these further.
Step 1: Ensure you’re insured
When you’re going to register your car, the first thing you must do is purchase auto insurance.
There are different types of policies — some are liability only, while others include comprehension and collision coverage.
You can choose the coverages to get and how much protection you need. However, minimum insurance requirements between states vary, so ensure your policy meets New York’s (we’ll talk about this below).
Once you get car insurance, you have 180 days to complete the registration process with the DMV.
Step 2: Visit the DMV
The next step involves going to a DMV office.
Here’s what you should do:
- Download a copy of the MV-82 form (Vehicle Registration / Title Application) and fill it up.
- Gather the following documents:
- Proof of ownership (the original title is best)
- Proof of insurance. You must provide your NY State Insurance Identification Cards and the electronic notice
- Proof of sales tax payment or sales tax form
- The Bill of Sale
- Proof of identity
- Payment for fees and taxes (or proof of exemption)
If you are bringing a vehicle into New York from another state, you must present additional documents:
- The Manufacturer’s Original Certificate and dealer’s Bill of Sale (for newly purchased vehicles)
- Bill of sale and Title Certificate (for vehicles purchased from a private seller)
- Out-of-state title certificate and dealer’s bill of sale showing the transfer of ownership to you (for vehicles owned before moving to New York)
- Schedule your visit to a DMV office.
- Submit all the documents.
Step 3: Receive your registration
Once you’ve provided the required paperwork, the DMV will process your application.
Within one to two weeks, the following documents will arrive through the mail:
- 1 or 2 vehicle plates. NOTE: You won’t receive these if you transferred registration from another vehicle registered in New York
- A registration window sticker.
- Your registration document.
- A 10-day inspection extension sticker. NOTE: These are for vehicles from a non-New York car dealer
- A new Title Certificate within 90 days (only if applicable)
Step 4: Undergo an inspection
All vehicles registered in New York must undergo an inspection every 12 months or if there was a transfer of ownership.
Look for a DMV-licensed inspection station and pay the required fee to complete this requirement. You must also stick the inspection sticker to your vehicle for display.
How to Renew Your Car Registration in New York
In New York, you must renew your vehicle’s registration every 2 years.
But before you apply for a renewal, ensure you comply with these requirements:
- Your registration is not suspended or revoked
- If it’s past the expiration date, it shouldn’t be more than a year (if it is, you will have to re-register your car)
- You’ve had your vehicle inspected within the last 12 months
If you’re eligible for renewal, there are three ways to do it:
- By mail
Let’s go through each of these.
How to Renew a NY Vehicle Registration Online
Completing the renewal process online is convenient. However, it’s not available for everyone.
Go through this list and see if any of the items apply to you:
- Your vehicle qualifies for registration fee exemption (you must renew in person to provide the required paperwork)
- You are required to provide documents for each renewal (proof of insurance, a tax certificate, etc.)
- Your vehicle’s weight exceeds 55,000 pounds
- Your vehicle is for hire, such as a cab, livery vehicle, or bus
- Your vehicle is a rental
- Your vehicle is a semi-trailer with a 6-year registration
- Your vehicle has an apportioned registration issued under the International Registration Plan (IRP)
- Your vehicle has an ambulance, NYP (New York Press), government, or official registration
- You’ve modified your vehicle so it can accommodate more passengers
If you placed a check on any of these boxes, you must renew through other channels. Otherwise, here’s how to renew your registration online:
- Go to the DMV’s portal for online registration renewal.
- Be ready with the following information:
- Your vehicle’s registration (plate) number and class
- The name on your registration (either the person’s last name or the business name)
- Your 5-digit ZIP code
- Your email address
- A credit or pinless debit card
- Follow the prompts on the screen.
- Download and print a temporary registration. You can use it while waiting for your new documents to arrive in the mail.
How to Renew a NY Vehicle Registration by Mail
If renewing online isn’t an option, you may renew your registration by mail. Here are the steps:
- If you received a registration renewal notice, detach the bottom part (MV-3 or OP-3).
NOTE: You can renew by mail even if you didn’t receive a notice. If so, use the MV-82 form (Vehicle Registration / Title Application) instead.
- Enclose a check payable to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and indicate the amount.
NOTE: If you’re unsure of your fee, you can leave the amount blank.
- Send everything to this address:
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
Utica Processing Center
P.O. Box 359
Utica, NY 13503
- Wait for your renewed registration to arrive via mail.
How to Renew a NY Vehicle Registration In Person
Another option is to complete the registration renewal process at a DMV office.
Here are the steps:
- Visit a DMV office. Click here for office locations.
- Bring your MV-3 or OP-3 (the bottom portion of your registration renewal notice). If you didn’t receive one, bring a completed MV-82 form (Vehicle Registration / Title Application).
- Pay the fee.
- Get a temporary registration. You can use that while you wait for the official one to arrive via mail.
Car Registration Penalties in New York
The penalties for driving an unregistered vehicle in New York vary depending on how long it’s been unregistered.
|If It’s Been Unregistered For…||Fines||Surcharge|
|Less than 60 days||$40 to $300||$88 or $93|
|More than 60 days||$75 to $300||$88 or $93|
Driving with an unregistered vehicle isn’t a moving violation. So, you won’t get additional points on your license.
However, in some cases, you might have to face jail time of up to 15 days.
What Car Documents Do You Need in New York?
Now you know how to complete your NY vehicle’s initial registration and renewal.
Next, let’s explore the required car documents in the state. This way, you’ll have context when you encounter concepts like insurance, titles, and inspections.
For a brand-new vehicle, your dealer can register and title it for you. You’ll have to pay a fee, but it’ll save you the hassle of doing everything yourself.
Your vehicle’s out-of-state registration remains valid even if you drive it in New York. However, if you decide to move to the state, you’ll need to register your car within 30 days of becoming a New York resident.
You also have 30 days to register a vehicle that you bought from another state.
A Certificate of Title proves ownership of a vehicle, whether it’s a car, a truck, a motorboat, a motorcycle, or a manufactured home.
In New York, the following vehicles must have title certificates:
- Most motor vehicles with a 1973 model year or newer
- Motorboats that are at least 14 feet with a 1987 model year or newer
- Manufactured homes released in 1995 or after that and meet any of the following specifications:
- Width of 8 feet or more
- Length of 40 feet or more
- Covers 320 square feet or more
You must have a New York Certificate of Title before registering your car.
Another document that you’re required to have in New York is auto insurance.
At the very least, your auto insurance policy must have the following coverages:
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
- $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death of a person involved in an accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death of two or more people in an accident
Remember, you can increase your limits, but that will cause your premium to become more expensive.
All vehicles in New York must undergo an inspection every 12 months. You must also complete the process when you transfer the vehicle’s ownership.
A DMV-licensed inspection site must complete it. Afterward, you’ll receive a sticker that you must display on your vehicle.
Pay attention to the month punched on your inspection sticker — its last day is when it’ll expire.
You cannot renew your vehicle’s registration without a valid inspection sticker. And remember, driving an unregistered car may result in fines and tickets.
The Wrap Up
And that was everything you needed to know about New York car registration — how to register it, how to renew a registration, the penalties, and the required documents.
The process may seem overwhelming (especially if you’re doing it for the first time), but following the steps outlined here can keep you on the right track.