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How to Renew a Car Registration in North Carolina

Motorists must apply for vehicle registration renewal in North Carolina once per year. As such, residents may renew car registration materials online or in person at a local branch of the Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). During the DMV vehicle registration renewal process, motorists must submit their automobiles for an inspection, unless they qualify for a waiver. When renewing car registration credentials, vehicle owners must also submit payment for all applicable property taxes and fees. However, fees may vary. To learn more about how to renew car registration in NC, review the information below.

When can I apply for vehicle registration renewal in North Carolina?

Motorists may apply for DMV vehicle registration renewal in North Carolina as early as 90 days before their car’s license plates are set to expire. As a reminder to renew an expired car registration, the NCDMV mails motorists a courtesy card, which includes the specific auto registration renewal fees vehicle owners must pay. If citizens do not renew auto registration materials before their vehicle’s expiration date, they may need to pay late fees. While drivers with an expired vehicle registration certificate may legally operate their automobile for up to 15 days without receiving a traffic citation, they will still need to pay a penalty fee.

Penalties of Not Renewing Expired Car Registration in North Carolina

If motorists do not renew expired car registration materials before their vehicle’s date of expiration, they may be subject to late fees. However, car registration renewal late fees vary depending on how long a vehicle’s license plates were expired. In most cases, drivers who renew NC car registration materials within one month of their vehicle’s expiration date must pay a late fee of $15, while those who renew an expired car registration within one to two months must pay a late fee of $20. If motorists renew expired auto registration credentials after two or more months, they must pay a late fee of $25. In addition to these vehicle registration renewal late fees, motorists cannot operate their automobile until they apply for registration renewal.

North Carolina DMV Vehicle Registration Renewal Requirements

Before motorists may renew car registration credentials, they must submit their vehicle for an emissions and safety inspection, unless the automobile qualifies for an exemption. To qualify for a car registration renewal emissions exemption, vehicles must be within the three most recent model years and have less than 70,000 miles on them. Additionally, vehicles may be exempt from an auto registration renewal emissions inspection if the automobile is diesel-operated, older than model year 1995, or is licensed under the farmer rate. Before motorists may apply for vehicle registration renewal in North Carolina, their automobile may still need to undergo a safety inspection, even if the car does not require emissions testing. If a vehicle is older than 35 years of age, however, it does not need to undergo a safety inspection prior to renewal. To complete a DMV registration renewal inspection, motorists may visit any testing station in the state.

Furthermore, motorists who need to renew an expired car registration in NC must be able to submit proof of liability insurance during the application process, as citizens cannot apply for vehicle registration renewal unless they can provide proof of financial responsibility. Additionally, motorists cannot renew auto registration materials if they need to clear any Registration Service Stops with the NCDMV, such as outstanding debts or child support payments.

How to Renew Car Registration Online in North Carolina

In most cases, motorists may renew auto registration online in NC, as long as their vehicle is currently registered in the state and they submitted the automobile for an inspection within the previous 90 days. Furthermore, drivers may renew expired car registration materials online if they can provide their vehicle’s license plate number and the last five digits of their title number. If citizens receive a vehicle registration renewal notice from the NCDMV, they can find this required information on their reminder card. Additionally, motorists who wish to renew a car registration online must provide a valid email address and pay with a credit card. If applicants cannot renew an expired car registration online, they may visit a local NCDMV Vehicle Registration office to complete the process in person.

Residents who wish to apply for online car registration renewal in North Carolina but do not have their reminder card may contact the NCDMV to request a notice. To request a DMV vehicle registration renewal reminder card, applicants may contact the NCDMV at 919-715-7000 or they may submit an online request through the website of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

How to Renew North Carolina Auto Registration in Person

If drivers cannot renew car registration online or if they prefer to complete the application process in person, they may visit an NCDMV registration office. When renewing car registration in person, applicants must provide their vehicle’s license plate number and liability insurance information. After completing the North Carolina car registration renewal process and paying all applicable fees, the NCDMV mails motorists a new card and license plate sticker within seven to 10 business days. After receiving their new registration materials, car owners must place the year sticker in the upper-right corner of the vehicle’s license plate.

How to Renew a North Carolina Car Registration from Out of State

Before completing the DMV vehicle registration renewal process, motorists must submit their automobile for an emissions and safety inspection, even if they are temporarily outside of the state or are serving in the military. If drivers need to renew car registration credentials but will be out of state during their renewal period, they may submit their vehicle for an out-of-state emissions and/or safety inspection. However, the car registration renewal inspection must meet the requirements under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (40 C.F.R 51). After completing the inspection, civilians and military members may renew North Carolina car registration materials online through the NCDMV website. To renew car registration online, applicants must provide their vehicle’s license plate number and the last five digits of their title number. If applicants cannot provide this information, they may contact the NCDMV directly for assistance.

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