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How to Obtain a New Car Registration in Michigan

Understanding how to obtain car registration in Michigan is vital, as it is legally required by the Secretary of State (SOS) office. Residents who purchase new or used vehicles may have questions such as, “How to register my car?” or even, “Will registering my car be difficult or costly?” Fortunately, the path to car registration is actually a very simple process with a detailed outline of what will be required of you during the process. Review the sections below to learn how to obtain new car registration, including details for new cars, used cars, and new residents and what supporting documents applicants need.

Methods to Obtain Car Registration in Michigan

Of all the ways to obtain car registration for the first time, purchasing a vehicle from a reputable dealership provides the easiest method by far. When you purchase a new or used vehicle from a dealership, the dealership will then handle all of your new MI car registration paperwork, provide you with copies of all documentation and collect the required fees and taxes from you. Sometimes, your motor vehicle registration fees will even be included with the amount that will be owed as part of an applicable lien or lender.

Once the registration of vehicle has been completed by the dealership, you can expect to receive your new car registration by mail within 15 days. In the meantime, the dealership will affix a 15-day temporary registration to your rear window.

Upon receiving your Michigan DMV car registration, be sure to review the documentation for accuracy and if there are any errors you will need to contact your local Secretary of State Branch Office. Additionally, you should always keep your proof of car registration within your motor vehicle.

Completing a Michigan DMV Car Registration on a Used Vehicle

Unlike purchasing a vehicle from a dealership, you will need to complete your own Michigan car registration should you choose to purchase a used vehicle from a family member or another individual. Before completing your motor vehicle purchase, ensure that the following criteria has been met:

  • The seller has given you the title. The vehicle title should be the original copy without any changes. Additionally, the seller must have completed the seller’s portion of the title assignment and it should be signed.
  • Ensure that there is no outstanding loan against the vehicle as a title, and thus motor vehicle, cannot be transferred until a loan has been paid in full.
  • Make sure that the odometer reading for the vehicle and the vehicle identification number, or VIN, matches what the seller has entered on the title assignment portion of the motor vehicle title.

While you will not be able to obtain car registration online, you can compete your new vehicle registration in person at your local Secretary of State Office.

When obtaining car registration in Michigan, there are a few key pieces of information that you will need to bring with you, including:

  • The assigned vehicle title
  • Proof of identification
  • Your car DMV car registration fees
  • Proof of at least no-fault Michigan car insurance.

It is important to know that you are legally required to obtain new car registration within 15 days of the sale date. Should your registration be late, you could potentially be penalized if stopped by law enforcement, and you will also receive a late fee when you do eventually obtain your registration. The Secretary of State Office will issue your Michigan motor vehicle registration during your visit. You will need to place your DMV car registration sticker on upper-right hand corner of your license plates, unless you have a motorcycle. Motorcycle registration is placed on the lower-right hand corner of your motorcycle plates.

Getting Car Registration as a New Michigan Resident

Obtaining car registration is likely one of the first things on your to do list after a move to the state. You may be wondering how to get car registration, but fortunately the steps and guidelines for new residents to obtain their vehicle registration are simple and easy to follow.

You will need to visit your local Secretary of State Office in order to obtain new car registration alongside transferring your out-of-state license plates and motor vehicle title to Michigan plates and title. You should understand what you will need in order to obtain your MI car registration as you are legally required to complete these tasks within 15 days of your move to the state.

In addition to completing your title and plate transfer auto registration requirements, you will also need to provide identification and proof of Michigan auto insurance that must include a minimum of a “no-fault” insurance policy. You will be provided with your DMV car registration during your visit and you will need to affix your registration to your new license plates as soon as possible in order to avoid any future penalties.

How Soon You Need to Get Car Registration in Michigan

All vehicles must obtain car registration in MI within 15 days of relocating to the state or completing a vehicle purchase. Since you are legally required to obtain new car registration within this time period, failure to do so could get you additional penalties should you find yourself stopped by a law enforcement officer. In addition to this potential penalty, the Secretary of State Office will also assess a registration late fee when you do go to obtain registration for your vehicle. This is why it is crucial that you obtain your DMV car registration as soon as possible and that you understand the registration process.

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