How to Register a Car in Washington

The process of moving can be a very stressful one. If you are in the process of moving to Washington, then you will need to make sure that you get your car or cars registered with the state. There are a number of things that you will need to know before you are able to get your car registered. You will have to go to the licensing office in your local area to get this process started. If you do not have the vehicle registered within 30 days of moving to Washington, you will be subjected to a late fee. Here are the things that you will need when going to the licensing office to get your car registered:

  • A signed copy of the Vehicle Certificate of Ownership Application
  • You will also need a lien holder agreement that has you name on it if you are still paying on the car
  • An odometer disclosure statement
  • Your emissions testing paperwork
  • Bill of sale if the car has just been purchased

Buying a car from a dealership is the best course of action for a Washington that is looking for a no fuss registry process. In most cases, the dealership will handle all of the work that is involved in getting a car registered. They will provide you with the copies of all of your paperwork so you can keep them for your records.

If buying a car from an individual, you will have to handle the registration process on your own. Here is what you will need to take to the licensing office to get this process taken care of:

  • A completed Vehicle Certificate of Ownership Application
  • The title that is signed by both you and the seller
  • A bill of sale
  • The emissions testing report
  • The odometer reading for the vehicle

The best way to determine what fees you will have to pay is by using the Department of Licensing’s online fee calculator.

If you live in these counties, you will have to submit to an emissions testing before getting your car registered:

  • Clark County
  • King County
  • Pierce County
  • Snohomish County
  • Spokane County

Getting more information about this process is easy when taking time to visit the Washington DMV website.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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