How Do I Register a Car in the US?

Maybe you are moving to the US for the first time, or maybe you do not know how to register a car. No matter why you are unsure of this process, do not worry, we are here to help you. We are going to provide you with all the information you need in order to register your car the correct way. Make sure you read the whole article in order to understand the process and ensure you do not make any mistakes.

We will introduce you to different ways you may register your car in the US, but please remember that you have to own a US driver’s license before registering a vehicle, no matter which state you are registering in.

Where to start?


The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires all drivers in the United States to register their vehicles. Depending on where you live, the criteria for registering your car will differ. A valid US driver’s license, an international or home country driver’s license, and/or a social security card are among the most important papers necessary. This is due to the fact that they confirm your identity and residency. You will also be required to produce evidence of insurance for your vehicle. If you have not yet found the right insurance for your vehicle, make sure you do so as soon as possible, in order to get your vehicle registered.

Online registration

No matter if you’re registering your vehicle for the first time in the US or you’re simply looking to renew your registration, you can easily do so online. Swift-tags allows you to register your vehicle fast, whenever you want and wherever you may be. As mentioned earlier, you can use this option both when you are registering a vehicle for the first time, and if you are re-registering it.

Registration with a dealership


The registration process will be completed for you on the spot if you purchase a vehicle from a dealership. Your registration fee and sales charges will be collected by the dealer and the dealer will then give you your indications. This will spare you a trip to the DMV, which can be a bit confusing and cause unnecessary irritation.

When you buy a car from a dealership it is equally important that you check out all the other documents needed. Has the car passed its last control? Have there been any issues with the engine in the past? Although a used car is great both for the environment and for your wallet, it is important that you make sure that everything is as it’s supposed to be. It is better to check once too many times, than once too little.

Registration at DMV

If you acquire an automobile from a private seller, you must register it with your local motor vehicle department. Remember to bring the following documents with you when you register with the DMV:

  1. The vehicle’s title
  2. A letter of sale (or a letter from the seller) detailing the car type (year, make, and model), sales price, and VIN number (VIN)
  3. A copy of your auto insurance policy
  4. A valid United States driver’s license, or special state criteria for individuals who do not have one.

You will receive a temporary registration mark stating that your car has a valid registration, whether you register with your dealer or the DMV.

Sales tax – what you need to know


It might be hard to understand all the processes of a different country if you have not yet completed them before. However, it is not necessarily as difficult as you may think. The sales tax, if required by the state, is not included in the original selling price of an automobile when purchased in the United States. When you register your vehicle, you must pay VAT. However, the sales tax is included in the monthly payment if you lease a vehicle.

The first road trip after everything is fixed

Once everything is settled and fixed, it is time for your first road trip. The question is, where to? We have collected a little list of great routes and spots you should travel to once you have registered your car. Hopefully you can find a spot or two that you can travel to after everything is fixed.

Route 66


When introducing road trips in the US, you have to mention Route 66. This is the mother of all road trips, and it must be experienced! When driving this amazing route there are a few stops you should know about. First off is Delamore Lodge. This is a lodge that is built on a cliffside, with an amazing view of Owhanake Bay. Give yourself some time to relax and enjoy the fantastic environment around you. Secondly, you have to experience the Cadillac Ranch in Texas. If you don’t want to spend too much time here, you should at least stop for a photo.

Highway 1 to Big Sur, California


This is a drive that has to be experienced in order to understand how amazing it truly is. This Californian coastal classic is a tremendous route perfect for anyone who wishes to enjoy panoramas along the way. You can stop every now and then to really take in the view, but please be aware that some stretches can last up to 40 miles without a bathroom or a gas station available, so be prepared. There are a lot of great places to stop along the way, such as Cannery Row, Big Sur, Heart Castle and take a coffee in San Luis Obispo.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia


This is a legendary drive! You can stop at several must-see spots along the way, such as Cascade Falls, Beacon Heights, Flat Rock and Mount Mitchell. There are several pit stops that can result in great photos for your Instagram account. This route is both comfortable to drive and exciting to see – just the perfect combination for a road trip. Depending on how much you want to experience and how long you want to stay at each spot, the trip should last between three and seven days.

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