How to Register & Title a Vehicle

You will need to obtain car registration and car title documents if you have recently purchased a vehicle. Senior DMV car registration is a requirement for all vehicle purchases, if the vehicle is to be driven. Both used and new car registration have the same general requirements for seniors, but the registration process is slightly different for each. Senior car titles are similarly required for new or used vehicle purchases. Driving without DMV car registration credentials is, in the vast majority of cases, illegal and risky. Learn how to get car registration documents and car titling in the sections outlined below.

Learn About Senior Car Registration Requirements & Application Procedures

Motor vehicle registration requirements vary depending on the home state of the driver. The same is true for registration of vehicle procedures. For example, some states allow residents to complete car registration online, while others prefer to have customers visit local DMV branches. The process for getting car registration is also different, depending on the type of vehicle the resident is purchasing and seeking to register and title.

However, car registration for seniors usually requires the same basic elements. If you have bought a vehicle and want to know how to get car title and registration documents, you may need to provide the following:

  • A printed, signed and completed registration and title application form
  • The existing title from the previous owner (if the car is used)
  • In some cases, the previous owner will be exempt from providing a title because of his or her age, and in such cases, you may need to, instead, provide the previous owner’s car registration and a bill of sale detailing the purchase
  • Any applicable fees
  • Proofs of identity and citizenship
  • Proof of insurance

To get car registration and title documents, drivers commonly have to follow certain steps. For example, senior car titles in some states are only available if the buyer’s new vehicle is acceptably insured and gets a registration and title application signed by the agent. Then, the driver must present the previous owner’s certificate of title or registration and a bill of sale to the proper agency office. In all states, senior car title applicants should make sure that there is no lien against the vehicle, or if there is, that they have correct and complete information regarding the lien. In the U.S., getting car registration for seniors also requires a statement of mileage from the previous owner to be signed (and name-printed) by both the buyer and the seller. The existing vehicle title will likely contain a place for the purchase price to be written. If not, buyers should be certain to get a bill of sale listing the purchase price.

Once you have all necessary car registration and title documents, you should visit the nearest branch office or service center for your state’s DMV (or equivalent department). Again, some states allow car registration online for seniors, but it may be helpful to speak to a representative at an office in order to feel comfortable about the registration and titling process. Senior car titles are often mailed, while senior vehicle registration documents will likely be printed and handed out immediately, if you apply in person. If there is a lien on the vehicle, the car title might be mailed to the lienholder, instead of to you.

Some senior motor vehicle registrations may be discounted, depending on certain circumstances. For example, in some states, retired persons receive DMV car registration discounts. Eligibility for the discount typically depends on the resident’s retired status and Social Security recipient status.

Differences New Car Registration vs. Used Car Registration for Seniors

“Do I register my car differently if it is brand new?” some drivers ask. While the process for registering your new car as a senior is similar to registering a used car, it does have some differences.

To get car registration credentials for a new vehicle, you may need to prove the origin of the vehicle, as well as provide proof that you bought the vehicle from an auto dealer. Other vehicle title and registration requirements may include an odometer statement and proof of insurance. Usually, dealers will forward all necessary paperwork for your new senior car title to the DMV-equivalent office in the county in which you reside. Since the new vehicle will likely not have a license plate, the dealer should provide you with temporary tags to use while your DMV processes the vehicle title paperwork. You should be notified once your senior car title application is approved, and you are clear to purchase license plates and registration. You may be able to register your vehicle by phone or online. Note that at the time you register your new car, you may have to pay a one-time extra tax on the vehicle.

Obtaining used car registration documents may involve a different process. Getting car registration for used vehicles will require the Certificate of Title from the previous owner, as well as an odometer statement and other documents. Your DMV should have information on all the necessary paperwork for registration. Some used car dealers will forward your car title paperwork to the DMV. If you are buying a car from a private party, however, you will need to obtain the documents yourself.

What application forms will I need to complete for a DMV car registration?

“What applications do I need to fill out when registering my car?” you may be asking. Vehicle registration application forms vary by state, but often, there is a single application form available for both registration and titling the vehicle. Note that all forms should be filled out as thoroughly as possible to ensure the efficient processing of vehicle documentation by the DMV.