New York Vehicle Registration & Renewal Guide

First Time Registration Vehicle Registration

If you need to register your vehicle for the first time in New York with the NY DMV, you'll need to register the car in the owner's name.

You will need to obtain car insurance on the vehicle to before you can legally register it with the state. The car should be registered within 180 days of activating your insurance policy.

Preparing For Your Visit To The NY DMV

Collect the required documents that you need to bring to the NY DMV, which may include:

  • The Application for Vehicle Registration
  • Statement of Transaction - Sale or Gift of a Motor Vehicle, Trailer, All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), Vessel (Boat), or Snowmobile (PDF) (DTF-802)
  • A valid driver's license
  • The bill of sale
  • The original title.

You should make copies of each original document before handing it over to the NY DMV.

Within one to two weeks of submitting the documents, the NY DMV will mail your vehicle license plates, a registration window sticker, the registration document, and a 10-day inspection extension sticker.

A vehicle safety inspection must be performed to legally register the car with the state of New York. You also need pay for the required fees, which include:

  • Sales tax
  • Vehicle use tax
  • Title certificate fee
  • One to two-year registration fee

The NY DMV accepts debit or credit cards, cash, personal checks, or money orders.

Vehicle Renew Registration

If your car is currently registered in New York and you need to renew the registration, you can expect to receive a renewal notice in the mail. Bring this notice to your local NY DMV office.

With registration renewal, you also have the option of performing this task online. To renew online, you'll need to provide your registration, or plate number, and registration class. Provide the last name of the owner of the vehicle, as well as a debit or credit card to pay for the renewal. Renewing the registration online is a fast and easy option if you prefer not to schedule an appointment at the local DMV.

Online registration is not offered if the vehicle weighs at least 55,000 pounds, semi-trailers with six-year registrations, rental cars, and for-hire vehicles like taxis, buses, and livery vehicles. You also don't want to renew the registration online if you're notified that you are eligible for a no-free renewal. You aren't permitted to renew the registration if it has been revoked, suspended, expired for at least one year, and if you haven't had it inspected for at least 12 months.

It's important to confirm that the address on file is correct. You are not capable of updating the address at the same time you renew your registration. If the current address is not updated, change it before renewing the registration to avoid any issues.

Those who are in The Armed forces will be provided additional time to renew their registration if they're returning from active duty.

Drivers also have the option of renewing their registration through the mail. This requires mailing the bottom part of the renewal notice to the address that is listed on the document. You'll need to include a check or money order, which should be payable to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

If you choose to visit the NY DMV in person, you'll still need to bring the registration renewal notice with your preferred form of payment.

Vehicle Transfer

Transferring a vehicle registration in New York is required when you choose to give the vehicle away or sell it to another driver. The title needs to already be in your name or should be signed over to you by the owner that previously owned the vehicle.

When you visit the DMV office, you'll need to bring:

  • The original title
  • Your current New York identification or driver's license
  • Payment for the fees
  • The Application for Registration / Title
  • The $50 title fee
  • DTF802 if you don't have the title yet

The vehicle license plates must be surrendered at the NY DMV if you prefer not to transfer the registration of the vehicle. Some drivers are eligible for a refund if they hand over the license plates before the car's registration expires.

Lost Vehicle Registration

If you lose your car registration or window sticker, you need to replace these items for a fee of $3. You have the option of replacing the items at a local DMV office or through the mail. When applying for new registration through the mail, it will take up to 10 business days for the NY DMV to receive your documents and information. This can prolong the process of receiving your replacement.

When submitting the documents by mail, you'll need to include a completed MV-82D form, a photocopy of your New York ID or driver's license, and a personal check or money order for $3. The check should be made out to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. All of these documents should be mailed in a large brown envelope.

There are a few types of vehicles that can only obtain a new registration through the NY DMV or mail. This includes if the car was manufactured before 1973, or if it's boat, snowmobile, or ATV.

Vehicles that have suspended, revoked, or expired registration also need to be replaced by mail or at the NY DMV. Trailers, transporter vehicles, and cars that are registered with the DMV's International Registration Bureau also fall into this category.

If your registration is lost, you'll need to obtain temporary registration. This requires providing your license plate number, class code, zip code, and credit or debit card.

If you prefer to visit the NY DMV to obtain a replacement of your registration, you will need to bring your government-issued photo ID and a $3 check or cash.

Replace Your Vehicle Registration

If your registration is stolen, you will need to file a police report to prevent your identity from being stolen by the same person. You will then need to submit a request to replace the registration through a local DMV office. The fee to replace the registration document or sticker is $3.

Most vehicles can also have replacement registration documents requested online. This does not apply to cars that are older than 44 years, boats, snowmobiles, ATVs, trailers, transporter vehicles, and motorcycles.

Drivers also have the option of downloading temporary registration through a PDF form, which will be a valid form of registration for up to 10 days.

When replacing the registration, you'll need your vehicle plate or registration number, registration class, zip code of the address on your former registration, and a credit card or debit card for the payment.

When you're requesting a new registration by mail, you'll be required to send a Application for Duplicate Registration form, a photocopy of your New York driver's license or ID, and a money order or check of $3. All checks that are sent need to be payable to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. If you need to update your name if it's changed since the last time you registered the car, this can't be done by mail.

Those who prefer to visit the NY DMV office in person will be required to bring the same items, which include their New York ID, a form of payment of $3, and an Application for Duplicate Registration form. The mailing address must also be current. If it has changed, you'll need to first update it online before renewing the registration.

Boat Registration

If you have obtained or purchased a new boat that has a motor, it must be registered with the state of New York to legally operate it. Boats that don't contain a motor do not need to be registered. All boats that are exempt from registration also include lifeboats, boats registered in another state and are not stored anywhere in New York for more than 90 days, racing boats for competitions, and commercial boats.

You need to visit a NY DMV office to register a boat. Scheduling an appointment can make it a quicker and more efficient process. You'll be required to provide a Boat Registration / Title Application, proof of ownership, proof of your identity, the bill of sale if you bought it from a dealer in New York, a form of payment. The DMV accepts credit or debit cards, cash, checks, and money orders. You'll need to pay the required fees and additional sales tax and surcharges to complete the transaction. Registration fees vary, depending on the length of the boat. The fees range from $22.50 to $75.

Motorcycle Registration

There's a similar process to registering a motorcycle in New York, which requires providing the title and out-of-state registration. You'll also need to provide your proof of identity, a Vehicle Registration/Title Application that has been filled out, and the Claim for Sales and Use Tax Exemption. You will also need to provide your motorcycle insurance to prove you've obtained a policy. Motorcycle registrations cost $17.50 each year and do not include plate fees or county fees. The registration can vary, depending on if it's a leased motorcycle or you purchased it from a dealership or private seller.

Motorcycles need to be registered within 30 days of establishing residency in the state to avoid penalties. Motorcycles that are leased or currently have a lienholder, you'll need to provide a copy of the title from the lienholder and the lienholder's statement that verifies the title copy, VIN, year, make, and model. All motorcycles are registered for one year and expire on April 30. If you register the motorcycle close around April, the NY DMV will allow you to register the motorcycle for two years.

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