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Vehicles Registration and Renewal in Arizona

If you arrive at the MVD unprepared, registering your vehicle in Arizona can be a hassle.  To assist you , we've put up a detailed reference to Arizona car registration, so you'll understand the process and know precisely what to bring to the MVD and what to expect when you arrive.

If you're new to Arizona, you'll need to obtain a title and fill out an Arizona automobile registration in the state.  The Arizona Department of Transportation can help you get a new Arizona driver's license, as well as get a title and AZ Vehicle registration.

Arizona state law mandates that you obtain a title for your vehicle within 15 days after purchase.  If you intend to operate your car permanently in Arizona but did not complete an AZ Vehicle registration and it was registered in another state, you must complete an AZ registration after you become an Arizona resident.  The majority of automobiles are only registered for one or two years at a time.

The following cars are eligible for permanent AZ registration:

  • Trailers with a declared gross vehicle weight of up to and including 10,000 pounds that are noncommercial.  There is a one time $125 AZ registration cost for them.
  • A one-time AZ registration cost of $800 applies to commercial trailers with a stated gross vehicle weight of over 10,000 pounds. 

Any Off-road and all-terrain automobile operating solely on dirt roads in unincorporated regions of the State of Arizona shall carry a license plate and title but shall be exonerated from the requirements of insurance and AZ registration.

When completing their Arizona car registration, motor vehicle owners must pay a Vehicle License Tax in addition to any other expenses.  This tax replaces the personal property taxes paid by many other states. 

Needed Items for an Arizona Vehicle Registration

You'll need the following to get an Arizona title, finish your Arizona vehicle registration, and get your license plates for a vehicle that was previously titled or registered in another state.

  • Vehicle Inspection: if the car owner provides proof of ownership, such as a title or registration, this is not required for out of state vehicles.  Before AZ registration, the vehicle's model, body type, VID number, and other general facts about the vehicle must be confirmed at a Motor Vehicle Division or an approved third party.
  • Emissions Test: An emission test may be required for your car.
  • Vehicle Insurance: Every vehicle operated in Arizona is required by law to be insured by a statutory form of financial responsibility, often known as liability insurance, provided by an insurance company licensed to do business in the state.  Golf cars, mopeds, and motorbikes all required liability insurance.
  • Proof of Ownership: This might be your out-of-state title and registration, which you'll need to surrender when applying for an Arizona title and registration.
  • Loan Information: Until you provide an original lien clearance from the lending institution during your AZ vehicle registration, any liens on your current title will be noted on the new Arizona title.  This lien clearance must include the make, vehicle identification number, and body style of the vehicle, loan amount, contract date, year, and the lender's name and mailing address.

First-Time Arizona Vehicle Registration

If you recently purchased a car in Arizona or have recently moved to the state, you must register your vehicle within 15 days.  To the MVD, you'll need to bring the following paperwork:

  • The vehicle's title
  • Proof of insurance
  • A completed Title and Registration application
  • A lien release (if applicable)

How much does AZ cost for the renewal of registration?  The registration fee is also paid at the office.  The cost of these varies depending on your automobile, but in general, a title will cost $4, registration documents will cost $8, license plates will cost $5, and an air quality inspection will cost $1.50.  A physical inspection of your car will be required as well.

You will get new standard license plates from the MVD office. If you'd like, you can also get a custom plate, which will be mailed to you.  You'll get your registration stickers, which you'll attach to your license plate, and you are set to go!

Registration Renewal in Arizona

Individuals who have been certified to drive in Arizona must renew their registration once per year; certain registration must be renewed by the end of the allocated month, while others must be renewed by the 15th of the following month.  In Arizona, automobile registrations are valid for one or two years; check your registration to see which applies to your vehicle.

You can submit your application online, by telephone, by mail, or in-person to the MVD office to complete your registration renewal in Arizona.  Please ensure you have your present vehicle registration on hand since this will serve as your renewal application.  The MVD will send you a message stating if a vehicle emissions test is required.

You'll be required to pay an $8 renewal cost as well as whatever your vehicle tax fee is, which may vary depending on your vehicle.  Fill out the relevant information and pay the costs online, or mail them into the office using the postal renewal envelope.  If you're renewing over the phone or in person, the salesperson will give you the instructions.  You can either pick up your new stickers at the office that day or have them shipped to you.

In order to register your vehicle in Arizona, you'll need the following information.

  • Completed Title and Registration Application (Form 96-0236)
  • Proof of vehicle ownership
    • Notarized vehicle title OR Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin
  • Proof of identity, age, and legal presence in Arizona
    • A minimum of two documents from the complete list of acceptable documents is required.
  • Proof of car insurance that meets or exceeds the state's minimum coverage requirements
  • Proof of Vehicle Emissions Inspection (if applicable)
  • Out-of-state license plates (if applicable)
  • Payment for applicable fees and taxes
    • $8 registration fee
    • $4 title fee (applies to vehicle registrations)
    • $1.50 Air Quality Research Fee
    • Vehicle LIcense Tax assessed based on the value of your vehicle

In Conclusion

Your registration must be renewed by the expiration date on your current certificate and renewal notification.  You will avoid late penalties if you register or renew by that date.  Only if your automobile fails the emissions test will you be given an extra 30 days to repair it, pass the test, and renew your registration.