How to Register Your Vehicle in Ohio

In the pure rush of excitement and joy of getting a new car, you may have forgotten about some necessary steps you must follow before you take to the open road. In sum, you will need car insurance (more about that here) and to register your vehicle.

Registration Documents

The first thing you will need is to get your car insured. Once you have proof of insurance, you are ready to visit an Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) Regional Reinstatement Office-- find one near you. Before you head over, gather the following documents:

  • Proof of financial responsibility: proof of insurance via your insurance card or policy docs (Fun Fact: You don't always need this but the BMV randomly selects individuals to provide this doc--so better safe than sorry!)
  • Proof of ownership: Ohio Certificate of Title or Memorandum of Title--must be notarized
    • If your vehicle is leased, you will need this form:
    • An ID: Ohio driver's license, a state ID, or proof of a Social Security number

 What's it going to cost you?  Most standard vehicles run: $34.50. There may also be additional fees added for county taxes or to obtain specialty license plates.

 Next?  Your license plate will be mailed to the address you provided on the registration forms . In the meantime, the BMV office will provide you with temporary plates.

New to OH?


Welcome! You have 30 days to get a new title and register your vehicle(s). First, work on getting an OH title. To do this, you must visit a Regional Reinstatement Office to get your vehicle identification number (VIN) verified through an out-of-state vehicle inspection at any Deputy Registrar's Office . The VIN inspection is looking at the vehicle's make, model, serial number, and (or course) the VIN to verify that you are the owner and that the vehicle is not stolen.

Once you have this, you can apply for an Ohio title by bringing the VIN verification to the office along with the vehicle's original title from your former state. Your associated costs will be:

  • Out-of-state inspection cost: $3.50 (plus $1.50 clerk fee)
  • Title certificate: $15

If you have a loan on your car, then your loan company holds the title of your vehicle and is what you call a "lien holder." You must send them a transfer request form to in order for them to send the title to the BMV. Unfortunately, the best way to get this form is to contact your local BMV office.

  • Lien notation: $15

Once you have your shiny new OH title, visit the steps above on registering your vehicle. You may also find this information on getting your OH license helpful.

Renewing Your Registration

As an added birthday joy from the BMV, you are required to renew your registration each year-- which expires on none other that your birthday (though there are some exceptions, e.g. leased vehicles). When you go in to renew your registration, take your car, yourself, and your OH Driver License.

 NOTE:  Some counties require emission inspections as well, before registration is granted.

Images In order of Appearance: Unsplash , Unsplash

Krista Doyle
Learn more about drivers ed and get exclusive offers