How to Register a Car in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Car Registration

Pennsylvania requires you to register a car and title in-person one of its PA DMV offices. This process includes bringing identification, filing the MV-1 form, showing ID/insurance/ownership, and paying registration & license plate fees, and state taxes.

The registration process is quick-and-easy if you follow this guide.

Pennsylvania Car Registration: Step-by-Step

Vehicle registration depends if the car is new or used. You will have 30 days after its purchase to get it registered. Every vehicle – driven or not – requires insurance.

What you’ll need to collect/bring:

  • Proof of vehicle ownership
  • VIN verification
  • Proof of ID or PA License
  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of vehicle inspection within 10 days of purchase date
  • Completed Application for Certificate of Title (MV-1)

The registration fees vary by vehicle age, type, and value, apply if you haven’t yet registered.

Registering a New Car

New cars bought through dealerships submit vehicle documentation to the PennDOT.

What’s next?

  1. Get insurance
  2. Go to the DMV office
  3. Provide proofs, submit forms, and pay the registration

It’s important to get your bill of sale from the dealer as you’ll pay state taxes during registration. You will also want to note the mileage while filing your car’s title & registration.

Registering a Used Car

Registering a used car has a similar process. Individuals buying a used car must get a vehicle inspection when transferring a title.


  1. Have the seller sign the title in your name
    1. Include the odometer statement
  2. Bring ID, vehicle title, and proof of insurance
  3. Provide an applicable inspection certificate
  4. Submit the Vehicle Sales and Use Tax Return/Application for Registration (MV-4ST)
  5. Pay the taxregistration, and plate fees

You will receive:

  • A copy of the transaction
  • License plate
    • Note: Registration stickers are no longer being issued as of 12/31/16, and are no longer required to be displayed on license plates.

You’ll get the plate and tag on the spot, letting you roll out of the parking lot and back onto the roads.

About the Inspection

You will get a smog and car inspection every 12 months.

This inspection must be completed within 10 days of purchasing the car – you’ll receive a temporary sticker until it’s done.

Refer to the Pennsylvania State Inspections page for all inspection-related details.

Pennsylvania Registration Fees and Taxes

Pennsylvania vehicle registration wholly depends on which county it’s registered in.

Typical fees include:

  • Original Title Issuance: $53
  • Passenger Vehicle Registration: $37

Sales tax depends on your county and jurisdiction.

See the PennDOT Payments and Fees page for more information.

Need to Renew Your Vehicle, Instead?

A car-renewal is almost identical to the registration process. Learn what you’ll do with our Pennsylvania Car Renewal Guide.