Tennessee Vehicle Registration: Costs and Requirements

Registering a vehicle in Tennessee requires that you have an acceptable driving record. Apply for a 30-day temporary operating permit if you do not have license plates or a registration sticker for the vehicle. 

Do I Need to Register My Vehicle?

To legally drive a vehicle in Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Revenue (DOR) mandates that it must have a valid vehicle registration. The same goes for motorcycles. Hence, motorcycle registration requires mainly the same documents as when you register a vehicle, but it will have to undergo an emissions test for it to be approved. 

How to Register a Vehicle

Garnering a car registration only takes a few steps. Select from the list that best matches your situation to get started. Check with your local county for more information on where and how you can register your vehicle. 

Current Residents’ Vehicle Registration 

New vehicle operators must provide the new vehicle invoice and a manufacturer’s statement of origin. If you are moving your license plate from your old vehicle to the new one, you must show the corresponding car registration to make the switch. 

Provide the vehicle title, odometer disclosure statement, and copy of your current registration (if doing a license plate transfer) if you are registering a used vehicle. 

New Residents’ Vehicle Registration 

To get car registration, you must visit the local county clerk’s office to get your car registered. Show the office your out-of-state registration, and proof of your identity (such as a driver’s license), and pay the fees necessary for this service. Based on your county, fees can vary

New residents must also provide their out-of-state title. Mention the lienholder’s name and address if you have car payments. 

Imported Vehicles

Vehicles imported into the United States require special documentation to garner vehicle registration. 

  • Hard copy photo of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Label on the vehicle.
  • The bill of sale shows how the car came into your possession. 
  • The manufacturer’s statement or certificate of origin. 
  • Form HS-7 Declaration. 

Duplicate Registration

Request a duplicate registration by providing your VIN, license plate number, and a \$3 fee. Mail out the request and pay the applicable postage fees. 

Military Registrations

Military registration for your vehicle is possible even if you are not physically within Tennessee limits. County wheel taxes may apply. 

Sales tax for military registrations of new or used vehicles is 7% of what you originally spent to purchase it. The base license plate fee is $26.50 and the title fee is $11. 

Off-Highway Vehicles

Off-highway vehicles can only be operated on specific roads throughout the state. However, you can apply for a vehicle registration to enjoy the off-highway vehicle on specified roads throughout the state. 

Class I and II off-highway vehicles can be on county roads only. Low-speed vehicles cannot be on roads above 35 mph, while medium-speed ones can only be on roads with a speed limit of 40 mph or lower.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know more about vehicle registration fees and requirements, let’s answer your frequently asked questions.

How do I register my out-of-state car?

If your car has out-of-state license tags and registration, and you have recently moved to the area, you must re-register in Tennessee. Provide proof of identity and the title and registration for the out-of-state vehicle. Pay the applicable registration fees. 

Can I register my vehicle online?

Yes, car registration can be done online. Log on to TN.gov and visit the Vehicle Services page. From there, choose “Register a Vehicle”, gather the appropriate documents for upload, and choose your method of payment whether a debit or credit card. 

Can an out-of-state resident register a car?

You must be a resident of Tennessee to register a vehicle within the state. Show proof of residency with a bank statement, utility bill, insurance policy documentation, or other acceptable forms that contain a valid Tennessee address.