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How to Register a Car in Indiana

how to register a used car in Indiana

Guide: How to Register Your Car in Indiana

When the purchase transaction is completed, and you become the happy owner of your new vehicle, the last, no less important, step remains – car registration.

In this article, we will discuss how to register a car in Indiana and what documents you will need in different cases.

Vehicle Registration in Indiana—What Does It Mean?

Registration allows the US state to track vehicles driven by its residents. Therefore, after purchasing a car in Indiana, each person must:

  • provide information about him-/herself and the car,
  • receive a certificate of ownership,
  • buy an insurance policy for the vehicle,
  • go through all the necessary security checks,
  • receive confirmation that the car is registered – a registration card, stickers, and license plates.

A car registration usually expires every year or two (each state has a different period). In Indiana, you are to renew your vehicle registration each year. You will receive an email notification a few weeks before the expiration date.

Driving an unregistered vehicle on public roads is illegal.

What Does the Registration Card Look Like?

A registration card is similar to a driver’s license. But in addition to your personal data (full name and home address), the registration card also contains data about the car:

  • VIN – 17 numbers and letters in the vehicle identification number, indicating the make, model, when, and where it was produced;
  • license plate;
  • brand, model, and year;
  • registration period.

Like your driving license, you must always have your registration card at hand when driving.

Where Should I Go to Register a Car in Indiana?

where register a car in indiana

There are two options for completing the registration procedure:

  • Through the State Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
  • Through a dealership, if you are purchasing a new or used vehicle from a dealer.

Let’s examine each option in detail.

Registration in BMV

If you purchase a vehicle from a private party, you should contact your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles to register your auto both in person or online:

  • At any FSP/PSP locations;
  • At a BMV branch;
  • Online at ;
  • At BMV Connect Kiosks.

When registering with the BMV, be sure to bring the following documents with you:

  • vehicle passport or vehicle title (provided by the seller) with data about the year of manufacture of the car and full technical information;
  • a bill of sale or a letter from the seller indicating the type of auto (year of manufacture, make, model), sale price, and vehicle identification number (VIN);
  • proof of your auto insurance;
  • your current driver’s license.

After sending all the documents, in 2 weeks, you will receive a license plate, a registration certificate, and registration stickers, which you are required to stick on the windshield.

Registration at the Dealership

If you buy a vehicle through a dealership, the dealer takes over all registration process:

  • charge you for the license plate, registration fees, and sales tax;
  • send all the documents to register your car to the State Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

You will receive a license plate, registration stickers, and a registration certificate by mail two weeks after sending the documents.

Whether you register with a dealership or a BMV, you will receive a temporary registration certificate. It shows that your auto has a valid registration. The official registration certificate usually arrives by mail within 30 calendar days.

What Documents Are Required to Register a Car in Indiana?

documents to register a car in indiana

Different states have different registration requirements. In Indiana, the package includes:

  • Driver’s license or another form of identification. It can be a Green Card, an American passport, a Non-Driver ID Card, or a Learner Permit.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • Car Title.
  • Odometer disclosure statement.
  • Signed Lease Agreement. Only required for lease vehicles.
  • Proof that the vehicle has passed the Safety Inspection. Usually, these are data on the results of the check and a receipt confirming the inspection.
  • Completed registration form. You can download the form for Indiana here .
  • Results of Emissions Test. Only for Lake and Porter counties.
  • Payment of all registration fees.

Can I register an auto without a driver’s license?

Yes, you do not need to have a driver’s license to register a car in the US. You can provide other documents – an American passport, green card, Non-Driver ID Card, or Learner Permit.

Is it possible to register a vehicle online?

Yes, Indiana provides a convenient way to register a car online. Some online services let you go through the entire registration process on the website , while others – complete and print the paperwork to reduce processing time at the DMV office.

Can I transfer my registration from an old car to a new one?

Yes, US law provides for this possibility. After you have sold the vehicle, you can transfer the registration and car numbers to another vehicle you own.

Is there a difference in the order of registration if it is a new car, bought on a lease, or used for cash?

There is no difference in the list of documents or terms of registration. You can also try the interactive BMV vehicle transaction guide to check the list of documents for your case.

What do I need to register my car in Indiana from another state?

To register a vehicle from another state, you will need your current out-of-state driver’s license or your official driving record. You must also provide documents confirming your identity, Social Security number, lawful status, and Indiana residency. Check also the full checklist for transferring the out-of-state title to Indiana here .

How Much Does Car Registration Cost?

Depending on your state, you will have to pay between $0 and $274 to obtain a vehicle registration certificate. In Indiana state, car registration will cost you $21.50 .

Sales tax is not included in the original sale price of the vehicle. You will pay it when registering the vehicle. The amount of the tax may also vary from state to state.

How Long Does It Take to Register a Car after Purchase?

how long it takes to register a car after purchase

You can register a car the very next day after purchase. The main thing is to comply with the period allotted by law for registration in your state. So, every Indiana resident, regardless of whether the car is new or used, is required to register it no later than 45 days after the purchase and sale transaction.

According to US law, until you register a car, including within the allotted days in each state, you cannot drive it without additional permission. This could be Temporary Registration if you buy a new or used auto from a dealership. Such a temporary certificate will be issued to you by representatives of the car dealership on the day you purchase the car. Or you must obtain a Delivery Permit . This document gives the right to move a vehicle from one storage location to another for repairs or to confirm registration.

When you buy a used vehicle at Indy Auto Man, you can leave the paperwork headache behind. Our experienced sales assistants will accompany you throughout the way to make your car buying experience in Indiana smooth and pleasant.