Vehicle Registration Requirements in North Carolina

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles administers and issues vehicle registrations within the state. Register your vehicle in person at a local DMV by bringing valid personal identification, the vehicle title, a bill of sale when applicable, proof of insurance and an acceptable form of payment for registration fees. When transferring ownership, a new title is issued to the buyer or lien holder.

Personal Identification

North Carolina offers vehicle registration to residents with a valid state license or new residents who apply for a North Carolina driver's license. State-issued license requirements exempt military personnel, nonresident college students attending school in North Carolina, vehicles garaged for at least six months per year, court ordered vehicle sales, jointly owned vehicles, motor homes or documented medical reasons.

Vehicle Documentation

Bring the vehicle title issued in your name or a notarized title signed over to you by the previous owner. Provide the out-of-state registration if applicable. Any liens against the vehicle must be declared and an odometer statement is required for vehicles less than 10 years old. North Carolina requires vehicle inspection prior to registration for vehicles transferred within the state. Out-of-state transfers or purchases require proof of vehicle inspection before the next year's registration renewal. A damage disclosure statement is required for purchased cars and trucks. Vehicles purchased from car dealerships require a bill of sale stating the sale price.

Insurance Requirements

North Carolina requires insurance for all vehicles registered within the state. For passenger cars and trucks, you must obtain minimum liability insurance of $30,000 for one person, $60,000 for two or more people and property damage insurance of at least $25,000 prior to registration. Additionally, you must fill out an “eligible risk” statement verifying that you are eligible to obtain insurance in North Carolina. Bring proof of insurance to the DMV when registering your vehicle. Your insurance company will notify the DMV if your insurance lapses. Failure to provide proof of new insurance may result in a 30-day loss of your license plate and penalty fees.

Payment and Fees

At the date of publication, the registration fee for passenger class vehicles and trucks weighing less than 4,000 pounds is $28. A titling fee of $40 applies for title transfers and changes. A plate transfer fee of $15 applies when transferring license plates from one vehicle to another. Additionally, a highway use tax of three percent of the purchase price or value of the vehicle and county taxes may apply. The North Carolina DMV accepts cash and money orders, or checks with at least two types of identification.