States That Allow Non Resident Vehicle Registration

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David Lawrence

If you’re thinking of shifting from one state to another in the United States, one common query you must have is whether registering a car out of state is possible or not. Well, this is a very legitimate question, and we are here to answer this. In short, it is possible to register the car out of state, but there are certain limitations attached to it. 

States That Allow Non Resident Vehicle Registration

Having a car is a blessing. It makes your life easier and lets you stay connected to family, work, and friends without worrying about public transport. It is a safer and more convenient mode of transport. However, along with the advantages of owning a car, certain liabilities and responsibilities come with it, especially when you are planning on moving from one state to another. 

When you plan to shift from one state to another, or if you have two homes, the problem arises as to whether you should get your car registered in the other state or not. In the United States, there are certain rules attached to this princess, and not everyone is allowed to register their cars out of the states. 

In this article, we are going to highlight the importance of registering a car in the state where you are living. We are also going to explain the process which needs to be followed in order to register a car in another state. Along with this, we are going to answer some frequently asked questions. 

Why is Car Registration Required?

If you have a car, then registration is required in your state. There are many reasons attached to this. Usually, your primary residence determines which state the car is going to be registered in. other than this, the state that you vote in, the state where you have your driver’s license from, or the state which is mentioned in your federal tax returns is the state used for registration of a car. 

Sometimes, citizens live in more than one state due to family, work, or climate conditions. However, legally, a person can only be a resident of one state. This state is the place where the car will be registered as well. So if you’re asking if can i register my car in another state, the answer will depend upon the reasons you wish to do so. 

Reasons For Registering a Car in a Different State 

As we mentioned above, you might have some reasons for registering the car in another state different from where it has already been registered. These reasons might also determine whether or not you will have the option to transfer the registration. 

Shifting to a Different State 

If you have decided to permanently move to a different state, the car must be registered in that state only. Therefore, if you are deciding to move to a different state, make sure that you register the car there with the requisite details. The move should be permanent and not temporary. 

If you are wondering, can you register a car in a different state? Then you should register it in the state where your permanent location is based. As mentioned above, this can be deciphered according to your federal IDs and other documentation. 

Working in a Different State 

It may also happen that you might have permanent residence in one state and working in another state. This makes you a resident of both states officially. In such cases, you can have your car registered in either of the states but not in both states. However, the requirement for this is that you must work in another state for more than 184 days in a year. 

If you are working for less than 184 days, you will not be eligible for the exemption to register the car in either of the states. You will have to mandatorily register it in the state where you reside most of the time. 


If you serve in the military and are currently stationed in another state, you might take your vehicle with you without requiring to get it registered in another state. An exemption is given to military personnel to drive their vehicles in different states without transferring the registration to another state. It can run on the home state registration itself. 

College Student 

If you are a college student living on the campus of the university, then you will be allowed to have your vehicle with different state registration. Most of the states in the country allow students to have vehicles of their home state registration without any problem. This is done to avoid any extra hassle for college students. 

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States Where Registration is Not Required

Apart from the exemptions given above, there are some states where the registration of a car does not require it to be from that state itself. In other words, states that allow Non Resident vehicle registration are mentioned below. 

  1. Indiana
  2. Delaware
  3. Kentucky
  4. Maine 
  5. Ney york 
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Massachusetts 
  8. North Dakota 

If you are currently living in any of these states, you do not have to worry about the fact that can i register my car in another state, because there is no requirement as such. However, all states other than the eight states mentioned above need verification and registration before you can use the car. 

How to Register a Car in Another State 

The car registration process may differ from state to state. However, some conditions and requirements remain constant among them. Here are some of the important points that need to be kept in mind. 

  • The owner requires insurance proof and ownership proof to show that the car belongs to them. This can be a previous registration number from the state in which it was earlier registered. Some states might also require emission tests. 
  • The first step is to visit the DMV office with the above documentation. This can also be done online in some states. 
  • If the verification is complete, your car will be registered in no time. Once the registration is done, you must get new license plates from the state. 
  • Once the license plate is issued, the registration information needs to be updated at the local DMV office. This also includes phone number, address, email address, etc. 
  • Sometimes, a previous change of address form also needs to be submitted. You will have to check with the DMV office to know whether this is required or not. 

Registering your car in a new state is not a difficult process at all. The right documentation can be done very easily, provided it is permitted to do so. This process can be done online or offline. However, we suggest you do it offline so that if there is a hindrance or question from the authorities, you can handle it perfectly. 

How to Register a Car Bought Out of State

Another query is whether I can register my car in another state if I have bought a new one. The answer to this also remains the same. Where the car is purchased does not affect the registration process. It should be registered at the place where the owner resides or has a permanent residence. 

In order to register a car that has been purchased in another state, a person needs to work with the dealership to get a temporary registration number from the home state. The DMV of the home state will help you get this. To obtain this registration and license, you need to have the car’s title paper and other credentials such as ID proof, insurance paperwork, etc. 

Unless a car is registered temporarily, the owner cannot take it from one state to another. It is illegal to do so, and your car may get seized by law enforcement. Therefore, getting the registration and insurance before you leave for another state after getting the car is necessary. Here are some of the tips that might help you in the same. 

  • Firstly, the transfer of title needs to take place for registration. You will have to contact the DMV to know the process of doing the same. 
  • You need to have a signed title paper showing that you have the ownership and you require to take the car to another state. 
  • Some states require a temporary license plate number as well. Some states require insurance to be there with some minimal liability limits. 
  • All the taxes, including the sales tax, needs to be paid for the registration. This needs to be paid in the state where the car is to be registered. 

Keep all these pointers in mind before you decide to take the car to your home state. 

Illegally Registering a Car in Another State 

As we have mentioned before, it is completely illegal to register a car in one state, reside in, and use it in another state unless you qualify for one of the above reasons. It needs to be registered in the place where the owner resides. However, there are some reasons the car might not be registered in another state. We have listed those reasons here. 

  • You are using a family member’s car as your own, and it is registered in another state. 
  • You decide not to change the address on the driver’s license once you decide to move. 
  • You do not feel the need to pay for the extensive process of transferring registration. 

If you choose not to register your car for any of the above reasons, remember that your car may be seized any time law enforcement gets a hold of it. Therefore, it is important and absolutely mandatory that the car is registered properly. 

Insuring a Car in Another State 

Usually, the policy of car insurance agencies provides that the car must be insured in the same state where it is registered. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule, which we will discuss here. 

The Living Situation With a Child

Some insurance companies can allow for insurance in another state if you have an adult dependent who is also using your car in another state. For example, if your child is studying in a college outside your home state, the car can be insured in the state where his college is situated. There are some conditions attached to this as well. 

  1. Firstly, the car must be registered in both your names, which are the parent’s and the children. 
  2. The parent must be listed as the primary driver, and the child should be listed as a secondary driver. 
  3. The child should be working on your insurance. 

Military Postings 

Suppose you are military personnel and you are stationed in some other state for more than 6 months. In that case, you can keep the registered vehicle at the stationing state without any requisite formality.  You can also get it insured in the state where you are currently stationed. 

Working in a Different State

If the permanent resident of the owner is in a different state than the working state, then they may be able to insure the vehicle out of state. This is possible only if the owner is primarily working in a different state and using the vehicle there only. However, this is not a uniform policy, and some insurance companies do not allow for this. Therefore, you may check with yours before proceeding. 

Out-of-State Family Member

Sometimes, the car is insured in one state and registered in another. In such cases, it is necessary to show proof of insurance to the company so that it doesn’t get canceled. This may happen when the car is registered in one person’s name and some other family member is using it. 

Other than the situations mentioned above, getting a car insured in a state where it is not registered is impossible. It is considered insurance fraud and may lead to policy cancellation along with the cancellation of insurance coverage. Moreover, if you ever need insurance at a time of emergency and you are illegally using the same, the claim may also be denied. 

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Below are the frequently asked questions on registering a car out of state. Let’s dig deep to know more.

Can I buy a car in one state and register in another?

Yes, as we have mentioned above, a person can buy a car in one state and register it in another. The place of purchase does not matter in the registration process. The owner’s state of residence is where the car needs to be registered. For this, you will have to contact the DMV of the state where the owner is located or works. 

Can insurance be kept while moving from one state to another?

No, the insurance needs to be transferred if you have a car transferred from one state to another. However, this rule has certain exceptions, as we have mentioned above. 

If you are a college student, a person working in a different state, or military personnel, you can have a car registered in one state and have insurance from another. This exception does not apply to everyone; therefore, utter care must be shown while deciding on the same. 

Any malpractice in insurance may lead to legal actions against the car owner. 

I have two homes. Where do I register my car?

You can register your car in either of the states, provided that you live in one state for more than 184 days a year. This condition applies to the state where you do not permanently reside and only reside to work. Therefore, ensure you fulfill this criterion before jumping to conclusions regarding the same. 


We have covered almost all important questions regarding transferring a car registration from one state to another and states that allow Non Resident vehicle registration. Remember, different states have different laws regarding this. Therefore, you must check with the state laws before forming an opinion. 

Keeping this aside, it is usually not allowed to use a car in a state where it is not registered unless you use it in the eight states mentioned above. In all other states, you will have to get the car registered. You can change the state if you work in a different state or are a college student or military personnel. For the last two categories, registration in a different state is not a mandatory criterion either. 

We hope we have been able to clear away all the doubts regarding this query. A car is a very expensive asset that needs to be handled with care. Every owner must have proper documentation and insurance ready for any contingency. If you are moving from one state to another, follow all the rules and get the car registered in the state where you intend to use it.

About the author
David Lawrence

2 thoughts on “States That Allow Non Resident Vehicle Registration”

  1. You don’t account for Hawaii residents who need a car on the mainland, the lower 48 states, without being a resident in one of those 48 states. You can not register a car in Hawaii without it being in that state, so if you want a recreational vehicle on the mainland, the lower 48 states, you have to register it in a state that allows non-residents to register it in their state.

  2. 2 years ago, we moved from Washington state to the state of Utah. We moved all of our vehicles to Utah except one and after a year passed, we registered the vehicles in Utah. We left one of our vehicles in storage in Washington state because it is a very rare and collectable 1962 corvette and we had no place to safely store it at our new residence. In the move to Utah, we lost the title for the corvette and would like to file for a lost title. I would like to sell the corvette and have a prospective buyer. The question is; “how do I go about getting a replacement title”?


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