All vehicles in Alabama need to be registered in order for them to be legal on the roadways. The process is different whether the vehicle was bought from a private seller or dealer, and whether you are a resident or have just moved to Alabama.

Before registering any type of vehicle, it needs to have an Alabama title and insurance. If you are new to Alabama, the vehicle must be registered within 30 days. If you are a resident of Alabama, you have 20 days to register the vehicle once you take ownership of it.

Registering an out-of-state vehicle

  • Submit vehicle title, owners who are on the title must be present or a power of attorney must be present
  • Show the vehicle registration from the previous state
  • Complete a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection
  • Pay registration fees

Registering a vehicle purchased from dealer

  • Submit a yellow copy of title application, vehicle title, or manufacturer’s certificate of origin
  • Have the bill of sale with sales tax information
  • Provide the dealer’s affidavit
  • Provide any license plates, if applicable
  • Most recent registration, if applicable
  • Valid Alabama driver’s license, which proves residence in the county where you are registering the vehicle
  • Proof of insurance
  • License plates to transfer, if applicable
  • Odometer disclosure statement for vehicles less than 10 years old and weighing less than 16,000 pounds
  • Pay registration fees

Registering a vehicle purchased from private party

  • Submit title completed by the previous owner
  • Return any old license plates
  • Transfer your license plates, if applicable
  • Show Alabama driver’s license, which provides proof of residency in the country where you are registering the vehicle
  • Most recent registration documents
  • Odometer reading for vehicles less than 10 years old and weighing less than 16,000 pounds
  • Pay registration fees

Members of the military have different laws when it comes to registering a vehicle. Military members who are not residents of Alabama are not required to register a vehicle, as long as you have a current registration in your home state along with valid insurance. If you do wish to register your vehicle, follow the guidelines for Registering an Out-of-State Vehicle.

Military members who live in Alabama may register their vehicles by following the process for Alabama residents. For Alabama residents stationed in another state, you may register your vehicle by mail, or fill out a power of attorney form and have a family member in Alabama register the vehicle for you.

Registration fees vary on a number of different factors which include:

  • Type of vehicle, such as truck, motorcycle, RV, car, etc.
  • The weight of the vehicle
  • Month of registration renewal
  • County taxes and surcharges

Alabama does not require an emissions inspection when registering your vehicle; however, they do require a VIN inspection for out-of-state vehicles before the registration can be complete. This is to ensure the VIN matches the number on the out-of-state title.

Visit the Alabama DMV website to find out more about what you can expect from this process.

This article originally appeared on as How to Register a Car in Alabama and was authored by Valerie Johnston.

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