North Carolina Vehicle Registration

North Carolina Vehicle Registration

NC Vehicle RegistrationBefore buying a used car in North Carolina, get all the information on the car’s history. Avoid any issues when you go through the NC vehicle registration process. Make sure the vehicle has a clean title and no legal issues. Using the VIN or its current license plate, you can pull up a vehicle history. offers a free VIN Lookup tool. Check if it’s been involved in any accidents or written off by an insurance company.

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Anyone driving in the state of North Carolina will have to register and title their vehicles at the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles. The law requires all vehicles to pass a safety/emissions inspection before registration. Upon completion of the registration process, a registration card will be issued and must be kept in the vehicle at all times.

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How to Register your Vehicle as a North Carolina Resident

After establishing a permanent residency in North Carolina, you will have 60 days to obtain a North Carolina driver’s license as well as the title of your vehicle, and register it with the NCDMV. If you already have your license, you should then register your vehicle at a local license plate agency, and provide the following:

How to Register an Out-of-State Vehicle in North Carolina

In North Carolina, registering an out-of-state vehicle basically requires the same process, more or less, as registering a vehicle that was purchased in the state. Registration and titling of the vehicle are both done at the same time using the same paperwork.

  • The person applying for the registration needs to have a valid NC driver’s license
  • If there will be other owners to be recorded on the title of the vehicle, you will also need to provide copies of those owners’ valid IDs or driver’s licenses.
  • Proof of liability insurance that is considered acceptable in North Carolina
  • Notarized vehicle title (or your current out-of-state registration and odometer reading if your title is being held by a lienholder)
  • A lien release (if applicable)
  • Bill of sale

If you are currently out of the state and unable to register the vehicle in person, you can do so by mail. Provide all the documents listed above to the following address:

Vehicle Titles/Liens, Duplicate Registration
3148 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27697

How to Re-register a Salvaged Vehicle in North Carolina

A salvaged vehicle is any vehicle that has been damaged to the extent that repairing it (including parts and labor) would cost more than 75% of its fair market value. A vehicle that has been given a “salvaged” title would include:

  • Flood damaged vehicles – the vehicle has been partially or completely submerged in water with its body, engine, and/or transmission becoming damaged
  • Junk vehicles – a vehicle that is damaged to the point that it’s only value is being a source for parts and scraps
  • Salvage rebuilt vehicles – a vehicle that has been damaged but was rebuilt to the point that it is road-worthy and safe to operate again according to NC legal and safety guidelines
  • Reconstructed vehicles – A vehicle with its major parts removed, replaced, or added

Before applying to have your vehicle re-titled as “rebuilt”, you must first have it pass inspection from the NC Division of Motor Vehicles. It should pass North Carolina’s smog and safety inspections, and if the vehicle is 6 years old or less, it should also pass an anti-theft inspection by the DMV’s License and Theft Bureau.

Passing these inspections will grant you documents stating that your vehicle is up to state regulations. You will need this paperwork when applying for your vehicle’s rebuilt title.

The documents you will need to provide when applying for a rebuilt title will include::

  • The inspector’s report as proof that your vehicle has passed all required inspections.
  • The vehicle’s salvaged title.
  • An affidavit from the rebuilder, which should state the following:
    • Any parts replaced or used in repairing the vehicle, including major components.
    • Hourly labor rate and number of hours needed to rebuild the vehicle.
    • Cost of replacing the air bag restraint system.
    • A “Total Loss Claim Vehicle” sticker, if applicable.
    • Total cost of rebuilding the vehicle.
  • Proof of auto insurance that is acceptable in North Carolina.
  • Your valid NC driver’s license.

How Do I Change My Address with North Carolina DMV?

If you have just moved to North Carolina or have moved to another location within the state, you are required to provide notification to the North Carolina Department of Transportation DMV regarding your new address. If moving within North Carolina, you should update the address on your NC driver’s license within 60 days. You can do so via online or in person.

This is mandatory especially if you own a vehicle, because you will be required to update your address on your NC driver’s license first before being allowed to change it on your vehicle’s title and registration.

Changing the Address on Your NC Driver’s License

To change the address on your NC driver’s license or ID card in person, you should visit your local North Carolina DMV and provide the following:

  • Your current and valid NC driver’s license or ID card
  • Payment for fees

To change your address online, visit this website and provide the following:

  • Your current and valid NC driver’s license or ID card
  • Social Security Number or legal presence on file with the NC DMV
  • Date of birth
  • E-mail address
  • Credit or debit card for payment of fees

Changing the Address on Your NC Vehicle Title and Registration

You should change the address on your vehicle title and registration within 30 days if you have moved to a different location within North Carolina. You should do this only after you have changed the address on your NC driver’s license or ID card.

If you want to process the change of address in person, you should either bring along a completed Notice of Change of Address form (MVR-24A) and your valid NC driver’s license to your local NC DMV office, or mail the completed form to the address printed on the form.

If you want to process the change of address online, you will need to fill out the online Duplicate Vehicle Registration Card application. Be sure to have your license plate number, email address, and the last five characters of your vehicle’s title number at the ready.

How to Transfer a Vehicle Between Family Members

When transferring a vehicle title between family members, you need to visit your local N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles office and bring the following requirements:

  • Notarized Original Title – the information on the back must be completed by both the original owner and the recipient. This includes the:
    • Buyer and recipient’s name and address
    • Date of sale or date of delivery
    • Seller’s signature and hand-printed name
    • Odometer reading (if required)

Military Vehicle Registration in North Carolina

Active duty, non-resident military personnel registering a vehicle in North Carolina may be exempt from personal property taxes by submitting a Leave & Earnings Statement (LES) to the Tax Office. The statement should be for the month and year in which the motor vehicle was registered and must include the Estimated Time of Separation (ETS) date and home of record. You will be required to pay property tax on the vehicle if you do not claim North Carolina as your Home of Record.

Spouses may qualify for exemption based on the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act if their domicile is the same as the active duty, non-resident service members. To apply for the exemption, the military spouse must provide the following:

  • A copy of their Dependent Military ID
  • The military member’s LES
  • Proof of residency (Tax Return, driver’s license or other relevant document)

Military service members (residents and non-residents) are not exempt from paying the North Carolina Highway Use Tax (HUT).

Vehicle Registration Renewal in North Carolina

To renew your registration in North Carolina, all vehicles need to pass the yearly safety inspection within 90 days before the expiration date of the vehicle’s registration. A vehicle emissions test is required for some counties.

Vehicle owners will receive the notice about 60 days prior to the plate expiration date. The notice includes vehicle registration fees and taxes due. You can renew your vehicle registration online or in person only. You cannot renew it by mail.

How to Renew Your North Carolina Vehicle Registration in Person

To renew your vehicle registration in person, go to a NCDMV office near you and provide the following:

  • Renewal notice or license plate number (if you don’t have your renewal notice).
  • Proof of insurance on the vehicle.
  • Payment for fees.

How to Renew Your North Carolina Vehicle Registration Online

To renew online, you need to provide the following information:

  • License plate number
  • Last five digits of the vehicle title number (can be found on the renewal notice or registration card)

North Carolina Vehicle Registration Fees

Registration Fees

  • Private Passenger vehicle: $36
  • Motorcycle: $24.00
  • Trailers or Semi-Trailers: $25.00
  • Private Truck
    • Under 4,000 pounds – $36.00
    • Under 5,000 pounds – $56.50
    • Under 6,000 pounds – $67.00
  • Private Buses – $40.00
  • Commercial Vehicle: Contact (919) 715-7000 for rates.

NOTE: When you register a car for the first time in North Carolina, you must pay a Highway Use Tax (3 percent of the vehicle’s estimated value). The Highway Use Tax is a one-time tax that must be paid every time a title changes hands, and it is tax-deductible.

Late Registration Fees

  • Less than 1 month expired: $15.00
  • One to two months expired: $20.00
  • Two or more months expired: $25.00

NOTE: In addition, 5% on the amount owed plus 0.75% each additional month you are delinquent in payment will be charged for Property Tax Interest and Registration Interest fees.

Additional Fees

  • Electric Vehicle Fee (applies to all plug-in electric vehicles): $130