What do I Need to Title & Register

Everyone relishes going to the DMV to register their vehicle, and it would be even worse having to make that trip not having everything you needed.  To avoid inconveniences, we at Transfermyauto want you to be sure you have all necessary documents before making a visit to your vehicle registration office.

If you are a resident of the state of North Carolina (old or new), you will need:

  • A valid North Carolina driver license or ID card.
  • For vehicles owned by more than one individual, all signatures on required documents must be notarized, and accompanied by a black-and-white copy of the alternate owner’s valid driver license/ID, or a Power of Attorney must be provided to sign for the co-owner(s) if they are not present at the time documents are submitted. (If paperwork is being signed with a Power of Attorney, a black-and-white copy of the owner’s valid driver license is required when paperwork is submitted)
  • If you are a new North Carolina resident, your valid out-of-state driver license, along with your North Carolina Temporary Driving Certificate (TDC), is required to title and register your vehicle.

If you are a non-resident of the state of North Carolina, you will need to bring one additional document that proves one of the following:

  • Military ID for active duty stationed in North Carolina
  • Student ID showing enrollment in a North Carolina college or university
  • Vehicle is garaged in North Carolina for at least six months each year
  • Court-ordered sale of a vehicle
  • Vehicle is co-owned
  • Registration for a motor home
  • Documented medical condition

North Carolina law requires that you provide proof of insurance when registering your vehicle. Your vehicle must be insured by a company licensed to do business in the North Carolina.

  • Proof of liability insurance includes providing insurance documents that show your name, the effective date of the policy, the expiration date of the policy and the date the policy was issued.

Once you have the North Carolina Driver’s License/ID Card or Equivalent, and Proof of North Carolina Insurance, Transfermyauto.com will provide you with all the forms that need to be completed, and an accurate estimate of about how much it will cost you.  Find out what you need to know before you go, with our customizable checklist emailed right to you!


Is Your Vehicle Registration Expiring?

Is your vehicle registration expiring, and you don’t know what to do?  No need to worry, we’ve got you covered with a step by step guide to renewing your vehicle registration.

How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration

You may renew your vehicle’s registration up to 90 days before it expires, and the expiration date can be found on your vehicle registration card or the sticker on your vehicle’s license plate.

The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles will usually mail to your last address on record a courtesy reminder, which includes the registration renewal fee as well as the property taxes that are due. Once you receive the reminder, we suggest that you do the following:

Step 1: Check for Registration Stops or “Blocks”

Under certain circumstances, you may not be able to renew your vehicle registration right away. This is referred to as a registration stop or “block.” Please review the list of registration stops and take the required steps to clear them before continuing.

  • Registration Stop List
  • Call (919) 715-7000 and speak to Customer Service Representative to find out about any Registration Blocks on your vehicle registration before hand.
Step 2: Inspection
Get your vehicle inspected!  All vehicle less than 35 years in age are required to pass a vehicle Safety and Emissions test before the vehicle registration can be renewed.  You can find out more information about North Carolina inspections and inspection station locations here:

If your vehicle fails to pass an emissions inspection, you may obtain a 10-day trip permit that allows you to drive to an inspection station for re-inspection once issues have been repaired, which can only be obtained at your local License Plate Agency.

Step 3: Submit & Pay Your Renewal Fee

Cash, money order, personal checks, and Visa, MasterCard and Discover credit and debit cards are acceptable forms of payment for transactions at DMV License Plate Agencies.

Renewal, Safety, On-Board Diagnostic Inspections Fees
Plate Fee, Private Passenger Vehicles $36
Regional Transportation Authority Registration Tax for Vehicles Registered in WAKE County [?] $5
Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation Tax for Vehicles Registered in RANDOLPH County [?] $1
Vehicles Registered in DURHAM Regional Transit Authority Registration Tax $5 County Vehicle Registration Tax $10 [?] $15
Vehicles Registered in ORANGE Regional Transit Authority Registration Tax $5 County Vehicle Registration Tax $10 [?] $15
Safety Inspection [?] $13.60
On-Board Diagnostic Emissions Inspection [?] $30

Forgot to Renew Your Registration?

If you forget to renew your registration during the allotted month, there is a 15-day grace period before you will be ticketed. You will, however, be fined a late fee beginning the first day of the month after your registration expires.

Registration Renewal Late Fee

As of July 1, 2016, a late fee of up to $25 will be charged to all registration renewals paid after the registration expiration date.

Although you can still operate your vehicle up to 15 days after your registration has expired without being ticketed, you will be fined beginning the first day of the month after the registration expires, which means if you plan on going into a License Plate Agency to renew your registration, it needs to be done on the last business day of the month in order to avoid the late fee.

  • If the registration has been expired for less than 1 month, a late fee of $15 will be charged.
  • If the registration has been expired between 1 and two months, a late fee of $20 will be charged.
  • If the registration has been expired for two months or more, a late fee of $25 will be charged.

Don’t make your visit to the DMV a dreadful one.  Find out what to know before you go at transfermyauto.com.


Car Registration Property Tax

North Carolina’s vehicle Tag & Tax Together Program combines the billing of vehicle Property Tax and Registration fees so you can pay them together, so don’t forget your vehicle property taxes paid at tax time!  Every deduction counts!

Tax & Tag Together

Please refer to your vehicle registration card for the exact amount of taxes paid for use when preparing your taxes.  Now that taxes are paid with your annual renewal, you no longer get a statement from your local county.

Unfortunately your DMV License Plate Agency can’t retrieve that information for you in the local office.

You can call this number (999-814-1779) to get your tax information if you no longer have the portion of the registration card.  Hint, call the number when you have lots of time and patience.

Important Tip:  Each year when you renew your car registration, take a moment and set a reminder on your phone for tax time next year for the amount of your personal property taxes on your automobiles. You don’t want to misplace or forget this important tax deduction!  People typically do their taxes at the same time every year, creatures of habit, so if the first week of March is your time, set the property tax reminder on your phone for that week next year!

This message is compliments of H&R Block.



Can the DMV’s Image Ever Improve?

The mere mention of DMV is enough to trigger negative thoughts by just about everyone who has a driver’s license.

As a NC License Plate Agency (LPA) or Tag Office contractor with the state of NC for the past five years, I have learned a thing or two about the business.   The number one question being asked daily is “What is needed to register my car in NC?”  The correct answer is “It Depends.” There is no one size fits all for answering questions pertaining to car registration in NC or any state for that matter.

It depends on each person’s unique situation – you may be moving into the state from another state; you may be buying a car from another person; you may be transferring a car to a child or doing a military transaction which has special personal property exemptions.

Now take into account that nearly 1 out of every 3 who come into the Tag office leaves without completing their transaction on the first visit. Enter FRUSTRATION! All the customer service training in the world does little to prevent frustration when an unprepared customer is standing at the counter only to find out that their long wait in line has been a waste of time. You, the customer, are now faced with making multiple trips to complete the task.

Google search trend tells me that most are attempting to find out what is needed before coming into the office, but finding all the answers on the web is challenging at best. While all the information needed is on the web, it is scattered between state and county websites.

There is an old English-language proverb,

“necessity is the mother of all invention.”

www.transfermyauto.com presents you with 3 simple questions about how you own your car and uses the information to create a custom digital checklist that is emailed to you.  The checklist pulls together what is needed to complete the task on the first trip:

  • What to bring to the office
  • What forms you will encounter
  • What payments to expect
  • Directions to handle special situations like military, parent/child or estate transfers

If you or someone you know is headed to the License Plate office soon, make sure to put the odds in your favor by visiting www.transfermyauto.com BEFORE you go. It can do wonders to change your perception of the DMV!

Chris Wilson currently serves on the NC DMV LPA advisory panel, he is also the contractor for Branch 179, and is the developer and owner of www.transfermyauto.com .   You can reach Chris by Email at:

[email protected]


Leased Vehicles & the Division of Motor Vehicles

Did you recently lease a car and need to get a license plate in the state of North Carolina? If you go in the DMV office empty handed trying to get your plate and registration, you will be leaving 20 times more frustrated than when you came in.

Leasing companies are notorious for sending customers to the North Carolina DMV to get their plates without the 3 most important things to complete the transaction, leaving you wondering why you ever leased the vehicle in the 1st place.

So word to the wise, don’t go to the NC DMV trying to get a license plate for a leased vehicle without the following items from your Leasing company:

  • a Front and Back Copy of the Vehicle Title
  • a Limited Power of Attorney from the Leasing Company
  • the NC Sales Tax ID number (usually begins with ‘600’)

The NC DMV won’t even attempt to process your request without a front and back copy of the title, because they need to know exactly who the owner(s) of the vehicle are, where to send the new NC title, and they also need to record any liens if present.

All DMV documents must be filled out by the legal owner of the vehicle (which is listed on the copy of the title), and if they cannot be present, then you are required to have Power of Attorney to sign for them on all the documents.

If you have the copy of the title and the Limited Power of Attorney, then the DMV clerk can complete the transaction, however you may not be pleased with your total fees if you are missing the NC Sales Tax ID. If you don’t have the NC Sales Tax ID number, the NC DMV will deem you responsible for paying the full Highway Use Tax, which is 3% of the value of the vehicle, in addition to all the other fees (plate, registration, property tax, and title), which is a ridiculous amount of money for someone who doesn’t even own the vehicle.

We at Transfermyauto want to make sure you are well informed because finding all this information is a challenge, and will leave you frustrated. Just be sure to get your free car registration checklist from our website to make sure you have everything you need before you step foot in the DMV.


Limited Registration Plate

Buying a new car is always exciting! The car dealers can be a bit pushy, but hey you’re driving off in something new, and nobody can tell you nothing with your 30 day plates!

If you opted for the dealership to process your title work there is something that you need to know before you get pulled over by the police a few months after you buy the car for expired registration and tags!

The North Carolina DMV gets complaints everyday from customers saying that they got a ticket for an expired registration, but they just bought the vehicle a few months or less than a year ago and paid tax, tag, and title fees to the dealership. “I got my real plate in the mail with a registration card and an orange registration sticker, so what’s the big deal?”  Well, that registration card and orange registration sticker on your plate are TEMPORARY. . .FOR TWO MONTHS, and were attached to a bill.

Ever since Property taxes were combined with the vehicle registration fees, the NC DMV introduced temporary registration stickers. Dealerships are not obligated to pay the personal vehicle property tax, YOU ARE. But since the plate and registration are usually mailed to your house, your car dealer can sometimes fail to notify you to pay your property taxes.

Failure to pay your property taxes after the two-month/60 day period can result  in a $200+ ticket from the police for driving with expired plates and registration.  The property taxes will also accrue interest on the payment if it is paid a day late, and will continue to increase each day until it is paid. So if you have an orange sticker on your North Carolina plates, make your way to the nearest DMV license plate office to pay your property taxes and get your official vehicle registration and registration sticker.


North Carolina Car Title Transfer and Registration

An auto title transfer may come across as needlessly complicated, but it can actually be a relatively simple process. It’s simply a case of factoring in your current circumstances and the nature of the transfer, in order to know which North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) rules apply to you.

In an instance where vehicle ownership changes, a registration of title transfer must be made with the DMV. On this page, you’ll find all of the most important details you’ll need to get the job done quickly and completely – you might also want to check out Transfer My Auto Title Transfer Checklist Generator for simplified approach to DMV title transfer.

Private Vehicle Sales

When a vehicle is sold through an agency or privately, both the seller and buyer are responsible for ensuring that title transfer is correctly completed with the DMV.

For the Buyer

On the part of the buyer, the DMV states that a vehicle title transfer must be completed in no more than four weeks (28 days) from the moment the vehicle is received or the title is notarized. Should this 28-day limit be breached, a $15 penalty fee is payable.

In order to successfully go about the auto title transfer, the vehicle buyer must head to their nearest North Carolina DMV office with the required paperwork, which includes:

  • Every document handed over by the persons selling the car at the time of the vehicle’s purchase.
  • A signed and notarized Form MVR-1 – aka Title Application, which can be completed at the DMV if necessary.
  • Full proof of valid North Carolina auto insurance in the purchaser’s name and the policy number
  • Proof of identification, which in the case of North Carolina residents should be your personal ID or driver’s license. For non-residents of North Carolina, additional documentation may be required.
  • The title transfer fee of $52 is payable at the time of the title transfer – most DMV offices accept cash, credit cards, money orders and personal checks.
  • Highway Use Tax (HUT) at a rate of 3% of the value of the vehicle is also payable in most instances. If you are exempt from HUT, you will need to complete a Highway Use Tax Exemption Certification.
  • Additional registration fees may apply, including plate fees or transfer of plate.

Exercise Caution When Buying Used Cars!

The United States has never been more comprehensively flooded with the kinds of used cars you’ll regret ever having set eyes on. From mileage to repair history to past accidents and more, it is essential that you fully check out any used vehicle you intend to buy before handing over a penny!

Selling a Vehicle

From the perspective of the seller, there are also numerous requirements to be aware of which are as follows:

  • The buyer of the vehicle must be provided with:
    • The signed and notarized vehicle title document (signed by both parties).
    • Damage Disclosure Statement (Form MVR-181).
    • An Eligible Risk Statement for Registration and Certificate of Title (Form MVR-615).
    • For vehicles under 10 years old, an Odometer Disclosure Statement Form (MVR-180) is also required.
    • If liens are listed on the vehicle, a lien release IS also required.

If you aren’t in possession of the required auto title, you can get in touch with the DMV to ask for a copy and sort the title transfer process at the same time.

Buying from Dealers

One of the biggest bonuses about buying from reputable dealers is the way in which they will generally take care of most DMV paper work on your behalf – including arranging the registration paperwork and vehicle title transfer. Should you choose to go about the title transfer process manually however, you will need to head to your local North Carolina DMV office with:

  • The civil list of documents as would apply to a private car sale (as outlined above).
  • An official bill of sale from a dealer documenting the total purchase price of the vehicle.

For New North Carolina Residents

Upon relocating to North Carolina, it is a mandatory requirement that an out-of-state car title transfer is completed with the Division of Motor Vehicles. This will involve registering your vehicle and going about the title transfer process simultaneously.

Prior to visiting your local DMV office, you’ll need to ensure that you have:

  • A valid NC state drivers license.
  • Valid NC vehicle insurance.

You also need to take along to the DMV:

  • Proof that you own the vehicle in question, by way of a signed and completed notarized title or your out-of-state registration card.  If the vehicle was already titled to you in the previous state, or the previous state does not require notary, then no notary is required.
  • Once again, for vehicles less than 10 years old, it will be necessary to produce an odometer reading.
  • A Title Application (Form MVR-1).
  • An Eligible Risk Statement for Registration and Certificate of Title (Form MVR-615).
  • Personal identification, in the form of your NC drivers license or your out-of-state license in conjunction with a valid Temporary Driving Certificate.
  • Complete documentation listing every owner of the vehicle to date. You will need copies of their ID or drivers license, or a document giving you power of attorney to sign on their behalf.
  • Proof of your valid vehicle insurance, by way of your complete insurance policy or insurance card.
  • The standard title transfer fee of $52 is also payable at the time.
  • Any applicable registration fees would also be payable at the time – the NC DMV accepts most major credit cards along with cash, personal checks and money orders.

Vehicles Donated or Received as Gifts

The picture is slightly different when vehicles are donated or gifted, though the title transfer requirements are the same as if the car was being sold privately. However, the standard 3% Highway Use Tax does not apply if the vehicle title is being transferred between:

  • Married partners.
  • Parents giving or receiving cars from their children.
  • Step-parents giving or receiving vehicles from step-children.

As already mentioned a Highway Use Tax Exemption Certification (Form MVR-613) must be completed in order to qualify for exemption.

Title Transfers for Inherited Vehicles

In instances where vehicles are inherited from a spouse and the will goes through probate, the DMV in North Carolina will require:

  • A duplicate of the will that has been fully certified.
  • A valid court certificate or letter of administration.

In the absence of a will or instances where it does not apply, the NC DMV will require an affidavit detailing:

  • The personal details and death date of the prior owner.
  • A document confirming that the will is not going through probate or that the will was left by the deceased.
  • A signed statement that all outstanding vehicle debts have been settled or that measures are in place to pay them off.
  • The relationship of the heirs to the deceased along with their names and ages.
  • The full personal details of the new vehicle owner, including name and address.

It will also be necessary to produce and complete all standard title transfer documents as required by the DMV for standard vehicle sales. The DMV can be contacted at (919) 715-7000 for more information.

Vehicle Title Transfer Fees in NC

Standard fees as imposed by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles for vehicle title transfers are as follows:

  • Vehicle title transfer – $53
  • Instant title – $53 plus an extra $98
  • Highway Use Tax – 3%

(you may be not have to pay HUT if the vehicle is donated to you by a family member – see above for full details.)

  • Late title transfer penalty – $15
  • Corrections to title documents – $20 plus $5 notary fee
  • Duplicate title – $20 plus $5 notary fee
  • Lien removal – $20 plus $5 notary fee

More often than not, registration and title transfer will be processed simultaneously, which in turn means that all fees will be payable all at once. The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles accepts a wide variety of payments, including cash, personal checks, credit cards and money orders.

Please note however that debit cards are NOT accepted by the NC DMV.

Instant Title Transfers

For those looking to get the job done as quickly as possible, a number of NC DMV offices in Raleigh and Charlotte offer instant vehicle title transfers. For an additional fee of $98, the transfer is carried out in full of completed during the visit.

Alterations to Auto Titles

If any information contained within your vehicle title is either incorrect or changed, it is possible to request a correction for a fee of $15.

Name Changes

Should you be required to change your name as it appears on your vehicle title, this should be requested at the earliest possible stage. In order to make such amendments, you will need to submit a number of documents:

  • A fully completed and notarized Corrected or Substitute Title Application (Form MVR-5).
  • The current vehicle title, which must be fully notarized and in the case of vehicles less than 10 years old must also feature odometer readings.
  • A valid NC driving license featuring your new name.
  • Copies of naturalization papers or court orders, if applicable.
  • The standard correction fee of $15 is payable at the time.

Address Change

Should you relocate though remain within the state, you should contact the DMV to amend your vehicle title accordingly. For more information on changing your address, get in touch with the DMV at (919) 715-7000.

Replacing a Lost or Damaged Title

If your current vehicle title is lost, stolen or damaged – or in the instance that you wish to remove a lien – you can request a duplicate from the NC DMV.

In order to process your application, you will need:

  • A fully completed Application for Duplicate Title (Form MVR-4).
  • Full proof of personal identification.
  • The $20 fee for document duplication.
  • Lien release (if applicable).

Documents can be submitted in person at your local DMV office, or by way of postal mail using the address as specified on the application form.

For the fastest and easiest way of tackling every type of vehicle title transfer, head over to Transfer My Auto to generate a free checklist of documents based on your circumstances!


North Carolina First Year of Inspection Waived?

First Year of Car Inspection Waived? Did you just move to the state of North Carolina and need to register your car? Let me tell you a secret that the Department of Motor Vehicles does not advertise, and Inspection Stations fail to let you know about. If your vehicle was registered in another state prior to coming to North Carolina, you do not; I repeat DO NOT need to have your vehicle inspected in order to get plates and registration. Crazy right?

The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles gets a large number of customers coming in from out of state on a daily basis, that spend at least $30 for their vehicle safety & emissions inspection before coming in to register their vehicles and they didn’t even need to!

We are not 100% sure if Inspection Stations across the state of North Carolina know that out of state vehicles get their first year of inspection waived, but they will gladly accept your $30 business if you let them, because that’s $30 more than they anticipated to make.

We at Transfermyauto think, no we know for a fact, that you could find more than several ways to effectively spend that money and still get your vehicle successfully registered in North Carolina.  Just be sure to get your free car registration checklist from our website before you waste time in the DMV license plate office because you didn’t have everything you needed.