Whether you’re driving a brand-new convertible from a dealership or bought your neighbor’s old truck, Nevada law requires that all drivers register their motor vehicles with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Vehicle Registration for New Nevada Residents
If you’re a new state resident, you’re required to register your vehicle in Nevada even if it’s already registered in another state (sorry guys). Before registering, it’s important that you’ve obtained a Nevada driver license within 30 days of your move. Then you’ll want to register your vehicle before 60 days or you could see a fine anywhere from $250-$500. Not fun.
The first time you register, you’ll need to set aside some time to go into the nearest DMV location to complete the registration in person. But once you’re past this initial procedure, annual renewals are much easier and you can complete them online, by mail, or telephone.
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If it’s your first time registering your car, here’s what you need to know to get you started.
Step 1: Obtain Car Insurance
Welcome to Nevada! Before you do anything else, you need to get Nevada car insurance (out of state insurance is not accepted) to obtain a Nevada Evidence of Insurance Card that will live in your car at all times.
Step 2: Complte an Emissions Inspection
Then, you’ll need to get your car inspected at the DMV to be issued a Vehicle Identification Certificate. If you live around Las Vegas or Reno, you might also need to get an emissions inspection*- these results will be electronically reported to the DMV.
Step 3: Apply for Registration at the DMV
After these steps, you’re ready to register your car. Head to the DMV and submit your most recent registration, out-of-state license plates, and vehicle title (unless held by a lienholder). With these, the Application for Vehicle Registration, and some payments (the registration fee** and government sales tax), you’ll be issued a new registration certificate and license plates. Yay!
Vehicle Registration for Nevada Residents With New Cars
All residents who purchase a new car must register it in Nevada whether they bought it from an NV dealer, an out-of-state dealer, or an individual. Depending on which of these sources your new car came from, the registration process is slightly different.
Purchased from an NV Dealer
If you purchased your car in state, head to the DMV before the expiration date on your temporary tag and bring your insurance info, emissions inspection report (if required), registration application, and the green copy of the Dealer Report of Sale. A registration fee will seal the deal. But in case you don’t have time to go in, one benefit of purchasing in state is that some car dealerships participate in the Electronic Dealer Report of Sale (EDRS) which allows you to register your vehicle online.
Simply visit Nevada DMV Online Vehicle Registration, create an account, and follow the instructions. The two things you’ll need on hand are the control number from your EDRS and the last four digits of your vehicle identification number (VIN). You’ll pay the fee via credit card and your registration, stickers, and plates (if needed) will be sent 4-7 days after registering.
Purchased from an Out-of-State Dealer
If you purchased out-of-state, you must register your new car in person (#TrustIssues). Go to the DMV office within 30 days of the sale and present a similar set of documents as you would for an in-state dealer (insurance, emissions report, vehicle inspection certificate etc.) but also the Bill of Sale from the dealer and an Odometer statement for cars that are less than 10 years old. You’ll also pay a registration fee and the difference in sales tax between Nevada and the state where the car was purchased.
Purchased or Gifted from an Individual
Maybe you were able to snag a great deal from your neighbor or SUPER lucky enough to have your parents gift you with their old car. Despite the car being used, it needs to be registered within 30 days of receiving it and the title property must be signed over to you- a bill of sale is not enough. All other documents remain the same as above, but visit the Title Transfers page to learn about how to have the title switched over to you.
For more information on car registration and alternative vehicles in Nevada, visit the DMV website to learn more. While registering your car might be something that keeps falling to the bottom of your to-do list, don’t wait too late! You could face expensive penalties, and don’t you want those new plates to show off??
*Smog checks are required on most gas and diesel powered cars and trucks in Las Vegas or Reno, but exemptions include new vehicles on their first or second registration, hybrids for the first five model years, motorcycles, mopeds, and diesel vehicles with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating over 14,000 pounds.
**Fees vary based off of the model and size of your vehicle. See here for fee estimates.