How to Renew Your Registration: State-to-State

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Your state’s DMV, licensing office, or county clerk oversees your vehicle’s registration renewal.

You’ll typically receive a renewal notice before your vehicle’s expiration by mail or online. If you didn’t receive a notice, you can contact your local motor vehicle office. Failing to renew by the vehicle’s expiration date can result in additional penalties.

You can typically renew vehicle registrations:

  • In-person
  • Online
  • By Phone
  • By Mail
  • Kiosks

You may check the status of your license by requesting driver records to see if there are any issues with your vehicle. Given you don’t have restrictions, see below to get an idea of the general process of renewing your vehicle’s registration.

Renewing Your Vehicle’s Registration, Title, Tags, and More: Step-by-Step

To renew your vehicle’s registration, all you’ll need to do is take a trip down to your local DMV. Or, use one of the other options your state may offer. We recommend checking or making an appointment before you go to save time and troubles.

Nearly all states require drivers to renew in-person if their prior renewal was done by a different method. Why do they do this? So they can get new information on-file like an updated photo, address, and/or if you’ve since changed your name, status, and the like.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some states require emissions and/or safety testing before you can renew. So, check with your local DMV before you head down!

In-Person Registration Renewal

Do the following if you want to handle the renewal in-person:

  1. Visit your state’s DMV
  2. Provide applicable information like:
    1. Renewal notice
    2. Vehicle information
    3. Licensing information
  3. Pay your renewal fees

Congratulations, you’ve completed the process! Yes, it’s often that easy in most states. Some states also offer kiosk renewals which involve a largely similar process as above.

Online Registration Renewal

Want to save a trip? Renewing online involves doing the following:

  1. Visit your state’s online portal
  2. Enter your information like:
    1. Control number on the renewal notice
    2. Plate # and VIN, vehicle model year, owner name
    3. Personal information
  3. Pay your renewal fees

Most states send your new documents in the mail a few days/weeks after it’s processed.

Mail-in Car Registration Renewal

Renewing by mail involves:

  1. Verifying your renewal notice’s information
  2. Including a payment to the DMV, tax office, etc.
  3. Sending the documents

The document goes to the address listed on the renewal form, online portal, or whatever they give you when getting in contact with an agent or representative.

Phone-in Registration Renewal

Want to renew by phone? You will:

  1. Check if this option is available
  2. Phone into the renewal line
  3. Submit your information
  4. Pay any applicable fees

Registration Renewal Fees and Taxes

Registration renewal varies quite a lot from state-to-state. Some states factor the vehicle’s type, weight, and age. Other states have a set renewal rate. We suggest you browse our state-level renewal guides and look for the “registration renewal fees” section we include on each to estimate your costs.

Completing the Registration Renewal

Following these basic steps will renew your registration for X-amount of years dictated by your state laws and regulations. This could be a yearly thing or done every 4 to 8 in a lot of states!

Keep track of your expiry date for when it comes time to renew again. Continue practicing safe driving, respect the rules of the roads, and be nice to one another. Happy driving out there!