If I just bought a car, how long do I have to file for my car registration?

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It all depends on your state of residence. Each motor vehicle office imposes its own timeline for vehicle registration (see grid below).

Some states impose late car registration fees. The amount again depends on state. Oregon's late fees, for example, range from $25 to $50. So it's in your best interest to know your state's registration timeline before purchasing a vehicle. This way you'll know beforehand if you're on the clock, as they say, to file registration forms. If your time is tight, keep in mind that most states require registering in person at a DMV office or sub-station.

Of course, if you purchased this car from a dealership you won't have to worry. Dealerships generally, by rule, will file car registration papers for you. To play it safe, however, it's always wise to confirm with the dealership a few days after purchase that it did indeed submit your registration papers. 

Must Register Within a Specified Number of Days No Registration Timeframe
Alabama
x
20 days
Alaska
x
30 days
Arizona
x
15 days
Arkansas
x
30 days
California
x
10 days
Colorado
x
60 days
Connecticut
x
60 days
Delaware
x
30 days or 60 days for new residents
Florida
x
30 days
Georgia
x
30 days
Hawaii
x
30 days
Idaho
x
30 days
Illinois
x
20 days
Indiana
x
31 days
Iowa
x
30 days
Kansas
x
30 days
Kentucky
x
15 days or 10 days for new residents
Louisiana
x
40 days
Maine
x
30 days
Maryland
x
If you're a new resident you have 60 days
Massachusetts
x
10 days
Michigan
x
15 days
Minnesota
x
10 days or 60 days for new residents
Mississippi
x
7 days or 30 days for new residents
Missouri
x
30 days
Montana
x
60 days
Nebraska
x
30 days
Nevada
x
30 days
New Hampshire
x
New Jersey
x
10 days
New Mexico
x
30 days
New York
x
30 days
North Carolina
x
30 days
North Dakota
x
5 days
Ohio
x
30 days
Oklahoma
x
30 days
Oregon
x
30 days
Pennsylvania
x
20 days
Rhode Island
x
30 days
South Carolina
x
45 days
South Dakota
x
30 days or 90 days for new residents
Tennessee
x
30 days
Texas
x
20 days
Utah
x
60 days
Vermont
x
30 days
Virginia
x
New residents must register within 30 days
Washington
x
15 days or 30 days for new residents
West Virginia
x
60 days
Wisconsin 2 days
Wyoming 30 days
Washington DC
x
New residents must register within 30 days



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