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NYS Registration Requirements

This was pulled directly from NYS DMV

Vehicle Registration Requirements

With rare exceptions, the items or information listed below are all required to apply for an original vehicle registration in NYS. Details about the requirements are provided below or on other pages of this web site, and each link opens in new browser window.

Special requirements and information

Also see the additional special requirements or information for these specific situations:

How to Register Your Vehicle

Before you buy or receive your new car:

Make sure that the legal owner of the vehicle can give you acceptable proof of ownership.

Get the statements from the legal owner that disclose the odometer reading and any previous damage. See "Odometer and Damage Disclosure Statements" below.

 

Get an acceptable proof of sales tax payment, sales tax exemption, or proof of the purchase price. If you do not get the acceptable proof of payment or exemption, the DMV collects the sales tax from you. The DMV uses the purchase price or the fair market value of the vehicle to calculate the sales tax that you must pay. The DMV determines the fair market value according to tables provided by the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.

Read the DMV brochure, "Let the Buyer Be Aware".

What to bring to the DMV office:

Proof of Ownership.

Odometer and Damage Disclosure Statements. The previous owner must complete the statements on the back of the NYS title certificate for a vehicle that is eight model years old or newer. If the NYS title certificate was printed before December of 1994, there are no statements on the back of the certificate. The previous owner must complete form MV-103 instead of the statements, and you must take form MV-103 to the DMV office. Get more information about vehicle disclosure statements.

A New York State Insurance Identification Card (FS-20). The Insurance Identification Card can be a copy or a fax, but the barcode must be readable by a DMV barcode reader. After you buy the vehicle, bring the proof of ownership to an insurance agent or broker authorized to do business in NYS, and get the card. The FS-20 must have the same name as the registration application and must have a barcode. The FS-20 must be presented within 45 days of the effective date of the insurance coverage. The DMV does not accept any out-of-state insurance documents. More information about insurance is available at the DMV Web site.

Proof of your identity and date of birth. You must be 16 years old or more to register a vehicle in NYS.

Form MV-82 (Vehicle Registration / Title Application).

Payment. Bring cash, a personal check, a credit card or a money order to pay the registration fees and sales tax. Do not enter the amount on your personal check until the DMV examines your application.

Proof of sales tax payment, sales tax exemption, or purchase price. You must pay the sales tax, prove that it was paid, or prove your exemption at the DMV office when there is a change of ownership, a lease agreement, or a new resident of NYS applies for a NYS registration or title certificate. You must get a sales tax receipt from the DMV even if the transaction is exempt from sales tax.

  • If the name of the owner that appears on the NYS title certificate will not change, sales tax forms and proofs are not required. See the information below if you were not a resident of NYS when the vehicle was purchased.
  • If you bought the vehicle from a NYS automobile dealer or an out-of-state dealer that is authorized to collect NYS sales tax, bring the dealer's bill of sale that shows that you paid NYS sales tax. Also bring form MV-50 (NYS dealer only) or form DTF-803 (out-of-state dealer). If NYS sales tax was paid to a NYS dealer, sales tax is not collected when you apply for a vehicle registration, and the DMV does not issue a sales tax receipt.
  • If you bought your vehicle from another person in a private sale, both the buyer and the seller must complete form DTF-802. Bring the form to a DMV office. The DMV calculates and collects the sales tax, and issues a sales tax receipt.
  • If you leased the vehicle, see the information about leased vehicles.
  • If the vehicle was a gift or was purchased from a family member, use form DTF-802 to receive a sales tax exemption.
  • If you paid out-of-state sales tax, show the out-of-state dealer bill of sale. The bill of sale must show the purchase price and the amount of out-of-state sales tax paid to the dealer. Use form DTF-804 to claim credit for the state and local sales taxes you paid in the other state. This process can reduce the amount of your NYS sales tax if NYS and the other state have an agreement about sales tax.

If you were not a resident of NYS when the vehicle was purchased, use form DTF-803 to receive a non-resident exemption from NYS sales tax. Form DTF-803 defines the terms "non-resident" and "resident".

If you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and you do not reside in NYS, you can defer your sales tax payment. Complete form DTF-803 if:

  • you are a NYS resident, and
  • you are now a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, and
  • you do not now reside in NYS or keep a residence in NYS.

See form DTF-803 for the information and the definitions to defer your sales tax. You must pay the sales tax when you leave the Armed Forces or you return to NYS.

For more information about vehicle sales tax, contact the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance at 1-800-972-1233 or (518) 485-6800. You can see the current sales tax rates by jurisdiction at the Department of Taxation and Finance web site.

At the DMV office:

If another person brings your application to the DMV office, that person must follow the requirements for a second party registration application.

Bring the required documents and forms. A DMV representative examines your application and documents.

The DMV representative returns your proofs of identity and date of birth. The DMV keeps most of the other proofs and documents.

Pay the sales tax, the registration fee, the fee to transfer the vehicle plates or registration, the title certificate fee and automobile use tax. Determine the cost of your vehicle registration. Do not enter the amount on your personal check until the DMV representative examines your application.

Items you will receive:

  • The DMV office issues one or two vehicle plates (unless the registration was transferred). The DMV also issues a registration sticker to put on the vehicle and a registration document to keep in the vehicle. You can make photocopies of the registration document.
  • If you did not get the vehicle from a NYS automobile dealer, you receive an inspection extension sticker. The sticker allows you 10 days from the registration date to get the vehicle inspected in NYS. Any NYS or out-of-state inspection issued to the previous registrant is not valid after the vehicle is registered to you. You must have the vehicle inspected.
  • If you are a non-resident who becomes a resident of NYS, your out-of-state inspection is valid until it expires, or for one year after the vehicle is registered in NYS, whichever comes first. After the inspection expires, you must have the vehicle inspected in NYS. If you receive an inspection extension sticker at the DMV office, destroy the sticker.
  • You do not receive your new certificate of title at the DMV office. The DMV mails the new title certificate to you. The DMV can mail the title certificate only to the owner listed on the title certificate. Most new title certificates are processed and mailed to you in less than 90 days. Wait 90 days before you contact the DMV about a title certificate you did not receive.

Special conditions:

  • Trailers with an unladen weight of 999 lbs. or less and all non-commercial trailers are exempt from the Insurance ID Card requirement. Also, the proof of ownership for a trailer with an unladen weight of 999 lbs. or less is a transferable registration. You will not receive a title certificate. All trailers are subject to an annual safety inspection. With these exceptions, the procedure to register a light-duty trailer is the same as the procedure to register a motor vehicle.
  • If you register a vehicle in your name, but you are not the owner (for example a leased vehicle), the owner must complete the owner authorization section of form MV-82. If the owner is another person, you must bring the NYS photo driver license of the owner, or a photocopy of the license, and your own proof of identity and age.
  • If you are not the registrant or the owner, see second party registration application requirements.
  • If you register a vehicle for a partnership, you must provide proof of a legal partnership. If you register a vehicle for a corporation, provide proof of incorporation. See the instruction form MV-82.1 for more information.

"California" emissions standard

Your vehicle must comply with the "California" motor vehicle emissions standards unless the vehicle is exempt. Your vehicle must comply with the California emissions standards if your vehicle has less than 7,500 miles on the odometer and the vehicle is:

  • a model year of 1996 or newer passenger vehicle or light-duty truck that has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 6,000 lbs. or less, or
  • a model year 2000 or newer light-duty truck that has a GVWR of 8,500 lbs. or less, or
  • a model year 2004 or newer medium duty vehicle that has a GVWR of 14,000 lbs. or less, or
  • a model year 2005 or newer heavy-duty otto-cycle or diesel vehicle that has a GVWR over 14,000 lbs.

To determine if a vehicle meets the California emissions standard, look for these words or similar language on the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO) and the emissions label under the hood:

  • "California-Only Vehicle: This vehicle conforms to U.S. EPA and California regulations applicable to (the vehicle model year) model-year new motor vehicles introduced into commerce only for sale in California."
  • "50-State Vehicle: This vehicle conforms to U.S. EPA and California regulations applicable to (the vehicle model year) model-year new motor vehicles."
  • "Federal Vehicle certified for Sale in California: This vehicle conforms to U.S. EPA regulations applicable to (the vehicle model year) model-year new motor vehicles, and is certified for sale in California."

If your vehicle complies with the California emissions standards, but the MCO does not indicate compliance or you do not have an MCO, you or the automobile dealer can certify compliance on form MV-74.

If your vehicle is exempt from the California emissions standards, you or the automobile dealer can complete form MV-74 to certify the exemption if:

  • the vehicle has an odometer reading of more than 7,500 miles, or
  • you purchased the vehicle in another state to replace your previous vehicle that was damaged, stolen or had a mechanical failure while you were outside NYS.
  • the vehicle was transferred to you through an inheritance or court decree, or
  • the vehicle was registered to you in another state when you were a resident of that state, but you are now a resident of NYS, or
  • you are a NYS resident who serves in the US Armed Forces and you are stationed in another state, or
  • the vehicle is an authorized emergency vehicle defined in Article 1 of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law.

Form MV-74 is available at DMV offices.

The web site of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has the regulations for the California emissions standards and other motor vehicle emissions standards (See Part 218).

How to Register an Out-of-State Vehicle

How do I register a vehicle in NYS that has a registration document or a title certificate from another state?

If you are a not a resident of NYS, a vehicle registration from your state of residence is valid in NYS. If you become a resident of NYS, you have 30 days after you become a resident to register your vehicle in NYS. If you are a resident of NYS and you get a vehicle from another state, you must register the vehicle in NYS.

Carefully read the information about how to register a vehicle. You must follow the same registration requirements for an out-of-state vehicle.

If you do not have an out-of-state title that displays your name:

  • If the vehicle is new, does not have a registration document or a title certificate, and was purchased from an out-of-state dealer, you must provide the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO) and the dealer's bill of sale.
  • If the vehicle is used, and was purchased from an out-of-state dealer, provide an out-of-state title certificate or transferable registration transferred to the dealer and the dealer's bill of sale that transfers ownership to you.
  • If the vehicle was purchased from a private owner, provide a bill of sale from the previous owner, and the title certificate or transferable registration that was transferred from the previous owner to you. Get more information about proof of ownership.

If there is a lien listed on your out-of state title certificate:

If there is a lien listed on the out-of-state title certificate, the NYSDMV records the lien on your NYS title record and on your NYS title certificate. To remove the lien, you must provide proof that the lien is satisfied. Read these instructions to remove a satisfied lien from a title certificate.

If the original title certificate is in your name but is held by a lienholder:

To get a NYS registration, you must provide:

  • A copy of the title certificate with your name on it from the lienholder.
  • The lienholder must certify that the copy is a copy of the original title certificate.
  • The copy of the title certificate and the certification of the lienholder must be on the same piece of paper.

You must also provide a statement by the lienholder on the letterhead of the lienholder:

  • The statement must identify the owner, year, make and VIN of the vehicle.
  • The statement must indicate that the lienholder holds the original title and knows that the owner will use the documents to register the vehicle in NYS.
  • The statement cannot require the NYSDMV to notify the lienholder when the vehicle is registered in NYS. The NYSDMV does not notify lienholders when a vehicle is registered.

To get a NYS title certificate, you must send the original out-of-state title certificate to the NYSDMV when the lien is satisfied and you receive the out-of-state title certificate from the lienholder.

If you cannot get any of these documents or there are special conditions, contact the DMV. Examples of special conditions include vehicles purchased at an auction or imported from a foreign country, or the vehicle owner is deceased.

The vehicle does not meet "California" emissions standards:

Read the information about "California" emissions standards to determine if there is an exemption.

Register a Vehicle in NYS While You are not in NYS

Can I apply for a NYS registration and title certificate if I am not in NYS?

You can apply for a NYS registration and title certificate by mail from outside NYS. The following information is important:

  • Contact the motor vehicle agency in the other state to determine if their laws require that you register your vehicles in that state. The definition of "resident" is different in each state. Read the NYS definition of "resident."
  • To register your vehicle in NYS, you must send your original proof of ownership and other important documents by mail. If any original documents are lost in the mail, they can be difficult or impossible to replace.
  • You must have valid NYS liability insurance. You cannot use proof of insurance from another state under any circumstances. It is not easy to get NYS liability insurance from insurance agents or brokers in other states.
  • Most states allow a non-resident to register a vehicle. It can be easier and faster to apply for a vehicle registration and title certificate in the other state. You can apply for NYS documents when you return to NYS. Determine if the other state can issue an "in-transit" permit, which allows you to transport a vehicle to NYS so that you can register it.
  • If you bring a vehicle from another country, you cannot get the required documents from the US Customs Service until the vehicle arrives in the US.

If you understand the information above, see the instructions to apply by mail while outside NYS.

Register a Leased Vehicle

To register a leased vehicle, you must provide:

  • proof of insurance;
  • proof of sales tax payment, sales tax exemption or purchase price; and
  • proof of identity and date of birth.

Get a complete explanation of the proofs that are required.

If you leased the vehicle from a dealer in NYS, the dealer normally provides all your proofs and your registration application to the DMV.

If the dealer does not provide the proofs to the DMV, you must provide the proofs and all of the documents listed below:

A copy of the title certificate. You will not receive the original title certificate as proof of ownership. The leasing company is the owner and holds the title certificate, which displays their name. To register your vehicle in NYS, you must provide a photocopy of the title certificate, certified by the leasing company as a true copy of the original document and the photocopied image of the document, the certification statement must be on the same side of one sheet of paper.

The authorization to register. The leasing company must authorize you to register the vehicle in NYS in your name. You can use any one of the following items as your proof of authorization:

  • a letter from the leasing company that gives you permission to register the vehicle in NYS, or
  • a power of attorney from the leasing company that authorizes you to register the vehicle in NYS, or
  • the signature of a leasing company officer in box 3 on form MV-82 or on form MV-95.

Proof of sales tax payment. You must provide a copy of your lease agreement that shows the lease payments and the sales tax payments that you did make and the payments that you will make.

  • If you paid NYS sales tax to the leasing company or dealer on the total amount of all your lease payments, provide your lease agreement that indicates that you paid the NYS sales tax, and complete form DTF-803.
  • If you did not pay NYS tax to the leasing company or dealer on all of your lease payments, provide your lease agreement, and complete form DTF-802. You must pay NYS sales tax at the DMV office on any lease payments if the leasing company or dealer did not collect the sales tax. The sales tax is collected in one complete payment at the time of registration.
  • If you made one payment to another state for the total amount of sales tax, use form DTF-804 to request credit for the tax you paid, and then pay the balance of any NYS sales tax. This process can reduce the amount of your NYS sales tax if NYS and the other state have an agreement about sales tax.
  • If you made monthly sales tax payments in another state, complete form DTF-802, and pay the total amount of NYS sales tax in one payment for all the lease payments that remain.

Registrant and Owner are not the Same Person

Can the registration document and the title certificate for a vehicle show two different names?

Yes. For example, one spouse can be the owner and the other spouse can be the registrant. When a vehicle is leased, the leasing company is normally the owner and the customer is the registrant.

The owner (the name on the title certificate) must authorize the other person to register the vehicle. The owner must complete box 3 on form MV-82, or complete form MV-95.

When you apply for a vehicle registration, you must provide the original proof of ownership. If the proof is a NYS title certificate in the name of the current owner, the title certificate is examined and returned to you at the DMV office. If the proof is not a NYS title certificate in the name of the current owner, the DMV keeps the proofs and mails a NYS title certificate to the owner within 90 days. Carefully read the information about proof of ownership for all of the requirements.

The required liability insurance and NYS insurance ID card must display the name of the registrant, not the name of the owner.

Either the registrant or the owner can bring the application for the registration and the title certificate to a DMV office. The person who applies must show the original proofs of identity and date of birth for both the registrant and the owner. If you send the application by mail (see "Register Your Vehicle While You are not In NYS"), you can send photocopies of the proofs of identity and date of birth. If you apply by mail, all other proofs must be the original documents.

Vehicle Has More Than One Registrant or Owner

Can a vehicle have more than one registrant? Does the DMV issue registration documents that display more than one name?

Yes. There can be two or more registrants. Both registrants must sign form MV-82 (Vehicle Registration / Title Application) and provide their proofs of identity and date of birth. Both names must appear on the Insurance ID Card.

If only one of the registrants is the owner, the owner must complete box 3 on form MV-82 or complete form MV-95.

If there are more than two registrants, you must complete form MV-83T (statement of Partnership or Joint Ownership).

You cannot add a name to a current registration. You must apply for a new registration and new vehicle plates in the two names. You cannot transfer the vehicle plates or documents that are assigned to one registrant to a vehicle that you will register with two names.

If there is more than one name on the registration, you can apply for a registration amendment to remove one or more names from the registration. Complete form MV-82 with the names of the registrants that remain, and show proofs of identity and date of birth. There is no fee for the amendment.

If there are more than two registrants, you must complete form MV-83T (Statement of Partnership or Joint Ownership).

Can a vehicle have more than one owner? Does the DMV issue title certificates that display more than one name?

Yes, more than one person can own a vehicle, but to transfer ownership, only one of the owners is required to sign the title certificate.

You cannot add a name to a current title certificate. You must apply for a new title certificate that displays the two names. The current owner signs the title certificate to transfer the ownership to the two persons. The two persons must apply for a new title certificate. Learn how to apply for a title certificate only.

Vehicle Registration Fees

What is the registration fee for my vehicle?

The registration fee for most types of vehicles depends on the weight of the vehicle. When you register a vehicle for the first time, the total fees normally include: the sales tax, a vehicle plate fee or registration transfer fee, a title certificate fee, and vehicle use taxes in some counties.

For passenger cars, see the registration fees and use taxes for passenger vehicles. Remember that the amounts shown are only the registration fees.

For trucks, pick-up trucks and other commercial vehicles, see the registration fees and use taxes for commercial vehicles. Remember that the amounts shown are only the registration fees. Commercial vehicle registration fees are calculated from the maximum gross weight (MGW) of the vehicle. The MGW includes the weight of the vehicle added to the weight of the maximum load carried during the registration period. Your vehicle cannot exceed the registered MGW.

Get information about the differences between passenger class and commercial class vehicle registrations and learn how to register a pick-up truck with passenger class vehicle plates.

How to Replace Registration Items That Were Damaged, Lost or Stolen

Registration documents that are lost or damaged:

Apply on-line if you need to replace only a lost or destroyed current registration sticker, document or both items. If your documents were lost in a crime, read the instructions below.

Apply by mail. Carefully follow these instructions.

Apply in person at a DMV office.

Custom or personalized plates only:

Do not try to replace custom plates or personalized plates through a local DMV office or by mail. Call the Custom Plates Unit at 1-518-402-4838 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. weekdays. Call this number only if the vehicle plates you lost were custom plates or personalized plates.

Standard series plates or any registration items lost in a crime:

Standard series plate or plates lost — Use the instructions below to replace registration items at a DMV office. You cannot replace vehicle plates on-line, by phone or by mail.

Standard series plates or registration documents lost in a crime -- Go to a police station and have the police complete form MV-78B (Report of Lost or Stolen Motor Vehicle Items). This form is available only from the police, not from the DMV. If the police report indicates that the items were lost in a crime, there is no fee to replace the items. Bring form MV-78B to a DMV office and follow the instruction below. You cannot use form MV-78B to apply on-line, by phone or by mail. If you apply on-line or by mail to replace registration documents, you must pay a fee of $3.

What to bring to the DMV office:

  • A completed form MV-82 (Vehicle Registration / Title Application).
  • The valid NYS Insurance Indentification Card (FS-20) or another acceptable proof of insurance for the vehicle. Read the instructions on page 4 of form MV-82.1.
  • If one vehicle plate of a set of two is lost, surrender the other vehicle plate to the DMV. Remove frames and fasteners before you surrender a vehicle plate or vehicle plates. The DMV office will not accept a vehicle plate with a frame or any fasteners attached.
  • If both vehicle plates are lost, or if the vehicle plates or registration documents are lost in a crime, get form MV-78B completed by the police.
  • Cash, a personal check, or a credit card to pay
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