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How to Obtain a New Car Registration in North Carolina

Motorists must obtain North Carolina car registration credentials after they purchase or acquire a new or used vehicle from a private seller or licensed dealership. Vehicle owners must obtain new car registration materials for all motor vehicles in the state, unless the automobile is exempt. Vehicles exempt from DMV car registration include road construction equipment and certain farm vehicles. Before completing the motor vehicle registration or titling process, car owners must also possess a valid driver license. For more information about getting car registration in NC, review the sections below.

North Carolina DMV Car Registration Requirements

Vehicle owners must apply for car registration as soon as possible after they acquire a new or used vehicle. As such, motorists must complete the motor vehicle registration process for all automobiles in the state, including mopeds, trailers, custom-built, low-speed, replica or antique vehicles manufactured earlier than 1980. To apply for new vehicle registration materials, car owners must complete the process by mail or in person through the Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). Drivers cannot apply for car registration online, unless they are applying for renewal. During the registration of vehicle application process, motorists may title and register their vehicle simultaneously, as the same documents are needed to complete both transactions.

Furthermore, NC auto registration requirements are slightly different for new state residents. “When registering my car as a new state resident, do I need to apply for DMV vehicle registration materials within a certain amount of time?”, motorists may ask. To get car registration credentials as a new resident, motorists must complete the application process within 30 days of moving to the state.

Note: After getting NC auto registration materials, vehicle owners must apply for renewal once per year. In many cases, motorists may renew vehicle registration credentials 90 days before a car’s license plates are set to expire.

How to Get Car Registration in North Carolina as a Current Resident

To register a vehicle as a current state resident, motorists must visit an NCDMV car registration office to complete the process in person, or they may apply by mail if they are out of state. However, the motor vehicle registration process varies slightly depending on where motorists acquire automobiles. When obtaining new North Carolina car registration materials after purchasing a vehicle from a private seller, applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Proof of identity (such as a North Carolina driver license or identification card)
  • Proof of automobile liability insurance
  • A notarized version of the vehicle’s current title
  • A lien release, if applicable
  • A Title Application (MVR-1)
  • An Odometer Disclosure Statement (MVR-180) – for all vehicles younger than 10 years of age
  • A Damage Disclosure Statement (MVR-181)
  • Payment for all applicable vehicle registration, license plate and titling taxes and fees

When completing the North Carolina DMV car registration and titling application, motorists must provide information pertaining to the vehicle they wish to register. For instance, auto registration applicants must include the year, make, body style, series model, fuel type, odometer reading and identification number (VIN) of their vehicle. Additionally, DMV vehicle registration applicants must include the full names and addresses of each car owner. If there is a lien on the vehicle, applicants must also include the name, address and identification number of the lienholder.

If registering a car in NC after purchasing a vehicle from a dealership, however, motorists must also submit a bill of sale to show the purchase price of the automobile. However, new auto registration applicants do not need to submit a lien release if they purchase a vehicle from a licensed dealership. Furthermore, applicants who need to obtain automobile registration materials for a new vehicle may submit the manufacturer’s certificate of origin in lieu of a title certificate.

After getting car registration credentials, the NCDMV provides applicants with a registration card, license plate and validation stickers. After receiving these North Carolina DMV car registration materials, applicants must affix the license plate to their new vehicle and retain the card in their automobile at all times. If residents leave the state of North Carolina, they must surrender their license plates to the NCDMV by mailing them to the Mail Service Center in Raleigh.

How to Get North Carolina Car Registration by Mail

If getting car registration credentials by mail, residents must submit all application materials (including a black and white copy of their driving license) to the following address:

N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles
3148 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697-3148

How do I register my car in North Carolina as a new resident?

To obtain DMV auto registration materials as a new North Carolina resident, the application process differs slightly. Before getting car registration credentials, however, motorists must apply for a North Carolina driver license within 60 days of establishing state residency. Before registering a new car in NC, motorists do not need to submit their vehicle for an emissions and safety inspection, but they will needto complete an inspection up to 90 days before their auto registration materials are set to expire.

To complete the North Carolina car registration process as a new resident, applicants must provide the NCDMV with the following information within 30 days of establishing state residency:

  • An out-of-state driver license and a Temporary Driving Certificate (TDC) – if the new North Carolina driving credential is not available
  • Proof of liability insurance
  • A Title Application (MVR-1)
  • The vehicle’s current title or an out-of-state auto registration card (if the lienholder has the title)
  • An odometer reading or an Odometer Disclosure Statement (MVR-180), if the vehicle is younger than 10 years of age
  • Payment for all applicable taxes and fees

Why did my North Carolina car registration application get denied?

During the registration of a vehicle in North Carolina, the NCDMV may deny applications for reasons involving outstanding debts, bad credit, DWI convictions or failure to pay child support or county taxes. Furthermore, the Division may deny new car registration applications if proof of liability insurance is not submitted. Before car owners may complete the motor vehicle registration process, they must settle any issues with the NCDMV.