Vehicle Registration for Military Families

DMV. Getty Images
DMV. Getty Images

Military families have a long checklist of things to do when going through a PCS move. One of those tasks is vehicle registration.

Rules and fees for vehicle registration vary by state. Some states don’t require vehicle registration if you’re on military orders, in some states military members are exempt from registration fees, and some states offer special consideration to veterans, such as discounts on registration or license plates.

Alabama

Military members stationed in Alabama but are not residents of Alabama are not required to register their vehicles with the Alabama Motor Vehicles Division as long as you have a current registration in your home state and valid insurance. Military members who are Alabama residents have the same registration process as civilians.

Click here to learn more about the Alabama registration process.

Alaska

If you are a military member stationed outside Alaska, you can renew your vehicle registration in Alaska (if the vehicle is registered in your name in Alaska). Your LES must show Alaska as your home of record. Click here for details.

Arizona

Military veterans who are 100 percent disabled do not have to pay to register their vehicles with the State of Arizona. Qualifying veterans can also pass this benefit on to spouses when they pass away. Click here to learn more.

Special license plates are also available to former prisoners of war, Purple Heart recipients, Pearl Harbor survivors, National Guard members and veterans. Click here for more info.

Click here to learn more about registration.

Arkansas

For military personnel whose home of record is Arkansas, the requirements are the same as for an Arkansas resident, regardless of where you are stationed. If Arkansas is not your home of record, you are exempt from assessment and personal property taxes. If your home of record is not Arkansas and you are stationed outside of Arkansas, you must register your vehicle in one of those states. Click here for more details.

California

As a California resident, you're eligible for a waiver of the late fee if you're deployed and your registration expires. (Training doesn't count.)

If you are a nonresident member of the military stationed in California, you can drive a vehicle as long as it has valid license plates from your home state or the state from which you’re assigned. The vehicle must be registered to you or to your spouse, and it must be insured. Click here for more info.

Colorado

If you are stationed in Colorado but a resident of another state, you can register your vehicle without paying ownership tax by completing this Nonresidence and Military Service Exemption From Specific Ownership Tax Affidavit (Form DR 2667) and taking it to your county title and registration office. Learn more here.

Delaware

To renew your vehicle registration when stationed outside of Delaware, you will need to contact the state’s Registration Correspondence Section for an Out-of-State Inspection Packet to be mailed to you provided you are outside a 250 mile radius of a DMV location in the State of Delaware. The packet consists of a safety inspection checklist and an emission test requirements. 

Click here for more information. 

Florida

Military members who are both Florida residents and non-residents and are stationed in Florida on military orders are exempt from the $225 initial registration fee on a motor vehicle.

Click here for the exemption application. 

Georgia

To learn about vehicle registration in Georgia, click here.

Hawaii

You can either keep your home state’s registration or switch to Hawaii’s registration. If you choose to stay with your home state, you will be exempt from the annual weight tax and any excise taxes in Hawaii, but you’ll need to have a vehicle safety inspection.  

The Hawaii Driver's Manual has more information about the registration requirements for those in the military who ship their vehicles to Hawaii.

Idaho

There are no provisions in Idaho statute allowing the extension of vehicle registrations for military personnel, so check the expiration date of your vehicles before you deploy or move out of state. You can renew Idaho vehicle registrations from overseas or out of state by submitting the registration fee to your home county assessor’s office. Click here for more information.

Illinois

To learn about vehicle registration in Illinois, click here

Indiana

Military personnel from Indiana who live out of the state may either obtain registration in their new state of residence or renew their vehicle registrations through the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. 

If you are a member of the military from another state who is stationed in Indiana, you may renew your vehicle registrations in Indiana. Click here for details. 

Iowa

Iowa residents in the military must pay the same registration fees that apply to other residents when registering a vehicle in this state.  A nonresident member of the military is not required to register a vehicle in Iowa, providing the vehicle is properly registered in the state of residency. A nonresident can register a vehicle in Iowa, if desired, in the same manner as any nonresident. For more information, click here

Kansas

Service members stationed outside of Kansas can renew vehicle registration online. You may not be required to pay the property tax on a vehicle registration as long as the active duty member's name is listed on the title. Click here for the affidavit for motor vehicle tax exemption.

Kentucky

You can renew your vehicle registration through the mail with your resident County Clerk's office or online. If you renew your registration online, you'll be charged an extra service fee of $5. Click here for more information. 

Louisiana

Service members registering vehicles in Louisiana, follow the same registration process as permanent residents. Click here to register.

Maine

To learn how to register a vehicle in Maine, click here

Maryland

If you’re a service member not establishing residency because you are only temporarily stationed in Maryland, you do not need to register your vehicle if it is currently registered in your state of residence If you are establishing residency in Maryland you must title and register your vehicle within one year of moving to Maryland.  Click here for more information.

Massachusetts

If your vehicle was purchased, titled, and registered in your home state, you may retain your home state registration indefinitely, regardless of where you are stationed in the country. The only requirement is that you carry insurance at least equal to Massachusetts minimum levels.

If you are not a Massachusetts resident and your vehicle was purchased, titled, and registered in a state other than your home state, you may drive the vehicle with the existing out-of-state registration for 30 days only. You must register and title the vehicle in Massachusetts before the 30-day period has expired.

Click here for details.

Michigan

To apply for a vehicle title and registration in Michigan, an Application for Certificate of Title and Registration (TR-11L) must be completed and signed by the purchaser.  Click here for the information you’ll need. 

Minnesota

If you’re a non-resident student or member of the military located in Minnesota but claim residency in another state, you do not have to register your car as long as your registration remains current with your home state.

Minnesota residents who are active duty military members stationed out-of-state or overseas are exempt from registration tax during your duration of military service, and for 1 year after you complete your military obligation. You must be the vehicle’s owner or co-owner, and your car must remain registered in Minnesota during your active service.

Click here for details. 

Mississippi

Military personnel who are stationed in Mississippi, but claim another state as their home, are not required to obtain a Mississippi registration or tag. Military personnel who are residents of Mississippi  are required to register their vehicle in Mississippi. Click here to learn more. 

Missouri

For military personnel stationed out of state, you must submit certain documents to register your vehicle, including the Certificate of Title, signed Application for Missouri Title and License (Form 108), your LES and more. Click here for full instructions. 

Montana

A Montana resident who entered active military duty from Montana, including a National Guard or Reserve member, and who is stationed outside Montana, may register a motor vehicle that he or she owns and operates without paying certain light vehicle registration fees. 

Click here for the application. 

Nebraska

Military personnel stationed at a military base or any one of the various recruiting services in Nebraska and who have not established legal residence in Nebraska, may continue to operate their vehicles with current out-of-state license plates or may obtain current Nebraska license plates. Click here to learn more.

Nevada

Out-of-state residents on active duty are not required to register their vehicles in Nevada. Service members who choose to obtain a Nevada registration are eligible for an exemption from the Nevada Governmental Services Taxes on vehicles. The DMV will waive registration late fees for active duty military members assigned to combat or combat support positions. 

Click here for more information and required documents.

New Hampshire

Regardless of where you’re stationed, residents of New Hampshire need to register vehicles every year. Click here to find out how to register your vehicle. 

New Jersey

If you’re an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces and have a valid New Jersey registration, you can get a refund for the remainder of the registration period by writing a letter and completing a form. Service-disabled or blind veterans may qualify for free registration if specific classifications are met. Click here for details. 

New Mexico

Nonresident service members stationed in New Mexico can drive vehicles with the plates of your home state or switch registration to New Mexico. 

Click here to renew registration online.

New York

If you are not able to visit the DMV to register a vehicle, another person can come for you with certain forms. The state of New York also offers a sales tax exemption for vehicles purchased out-of-state by service members. Click here for details and necessary forms. 

If your New York registration expires while on active duty, registrations can be extended for up to 60 days from return to New York State. Liability insurance coverage must be maintained at all times, including the period of extension. Click here for more information. 

North Carolina

When registering your vehicle in the state of North Carolina, you must have certain documents and completed forms. Click here for everything you’ll need. 

North Dakota

If you’re in the military assigned to North Dakota, you must complete certain forms and out-of-state title must be submitted with completed application. Click here to learn more. 

Ohio

Ohio military residents who are currently in state should follow the normal in-state vehicle registration. Non-resident military service members stationed in Ohio are not required to register their vehicles in the state.  Click here to learn how to register your vehicle. 

Oklahoma

Active duty military personnel who are either residents of, or stationed in, Oklahoma are entitled to an annual registration fee of $21.00. Click here for information and necessary paperwork. 

Oregon

If you’re a resident of Oregon, register your vehicle in the state of Oregon.  If you are in the military, you may provide a copy of your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) showing Oregon as your home of record. You must still provide your actual residence address, even if it is in another state. Click here to learn more. 

Pennsylvania

A service member can maintain Pennsylvania vehicle registration or can title and register the vehicle in the jurisdiction in which he/she is stationed. If your vehicle is registered in Pennsylvania, you must renew the registration annually. 

Click here for more information. 

Rhode Island

If you are in the military in Rhode Island, you are required to renew your registration before it expires, even if you are out-of-state at the time. Click here to learn how to renew registration. 

South Carolina

If you’re a service member stationed in South Carolina, register your vehicle or renew your registration as normal. Click here for details and learn how to renew your registration. 

South Dakota

Service member stationed out of state can renew vehicle registration online or by mail. Click here for information on registration.

Tennessee

Applications for military registration may be processed through the office of the county clerk in which the military personnel is based. If Tennessee is listed as the military personnel’s home of record, but there is no physical presence within the state, the application can be processed through the office of any county clerk in Tennessee. Click here for complete instructions. 

Texas

If you're not a resident of Texas and you're stationed there on active duty, you do not need to register your vehicle in Texas. You may need to maintain your vehicle's registration in your home state.

If you're a Texas resident stationed out-of-state on active duty, you should contact the county tax assessor-collector of your home county in Texas to renew your Texas vehicle registration.

Click here for more information.

Utah

Active-duty military personnel whose legal residence is in another state are permitted to register their motor vehicles in their state of legal residence.  Non-resident military personnel who purchase a vehicle in Utah must pay the sales/use tax on the vehicle if they plan to operate the vehicle in Utah; sales tax is due even if they choose to register the vehicle in their home state.

Utah residents who are members of the U.S. Armed Services and are stationed out of state may obtain property tax exemption, emissions inspection exemption and safety inspection exemption. 

Click here for details. 

Vermont

For information on renewing registration in Vermont, click here

Virginia

While stationed in Virginia, if you purchase a vehicle, you can register that vehicle in your home state or in Virginia. Vehicles titled and registered in your name may be driven with valid out-of-state license plates if you are the sole owner. If the vehicle is co-owned and out-of-state plates are used, all co-owners must be active duty service members. If all the co-owners are not active duty members, the vehicle will need to be registered in Virginia.

Your registration fee is determined by the empty weight/gross weight of your vehicle, the type of license plate you purchase and the number of years (one or two) you register your vehicle. There’s a $2 discount when you register for two years. 

Click here for more information. 

Washington

Nonresident military personnel on duty in Washington may display any of the following: Washington license plates, plates issued from their official home of record, or plates issued from a foreign jurisdiction other than your official home of record, until the registration expires. Click here for more information. 

Washington DC

To learn about new vehicle registration in Washington DC, click here

For information on renewing registration, click here

West Virginia

To renew your registration while you're stationed out of state, you can renew online with all required information on your insurance, personal property taxes, and a valid credit card for payment. Click here for details.  

Wisconsin

Vehicle registration renewals may be completed by the military member, a relative or a friend. Options for renewing include on-line, mail and in-person. Upon entering the military, a member may request a refund of the unused portion of a registration fee. A military member on active duty may receive credit for periods of non-operation of less than twelve months. While on leave for up to 30 days, a military member may obtain a temporary license plate for any vehicle owned by or designated by the member. The member need not register the vehicle and the temporary plate is issued at no charge. Special plates signifying military affiliation, including a plate authorizing parking in disabled parking spaces, are available to members with qualifying military service. 

Click here to learn more. 

Wyoming

Wyoming does not offer extensions to military personnel for vehicle registration renewal. Click here for registration information.

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