If you’re a car owner moving to Alabama, or purchasing a car in Alabama, you will need to know the basics of vehicle registration.
New Alabama Vehicle Registration
In Alabama, vehicles are registered in the county that the owner resides, through the county title and registration office. According to Alabama law, anyone acquiring a new vehicle must register and obtain a license plate within 20 calendar days of the acquisition. A title application must be completed before your registration is processed. Additionally, your vehicle is required to undergo inspection prior to receipt of the registration. If you have a valid registration from another jurisdiction, you have 30 days after entering the state to register your vehicle. You will have to pay a title transfer fee.
In order to complete a new registration, you need to:
- Have the seller complete the title assignment on the title certificate
- Obtain a bill of sale from the seller of the vehicle
- Complete a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection
- Bring those documents, as well as payments for the title fees, to your county title and registration office
Vehicle Inspections in Alabama
Your vehicle must be inspected at the title and registration office. Once your vehicle passes inspection, you will be issued an inspection certification. You can bring your inspection certification with you when you register your car.
Alabama Vehicle Registration Renewal
Your county will likely send you a renewal notice to remind you that your registration is about to expire. To renew, you will need:
- Vehicle information
- PIN for online renewal, if applicable
- Renewal fee
- Name and address under which your vehicle is registered
Titling in Alabama
Basic titling fees in Alabama are as follows:
- Title application: $15
- Duplicate title: $15
- Processing fee: $1.50
You may be charged additional fees, depending on the county in which you reside. You can find your local issuing office for more information.
If you purchase your car from a licensed dealer in Alabama, they are authorized to process your car title transfer. You will simply have to sign some papers and you will get your Alabama title.
Alabama Driver’s License
An Alabama driver’s license must be obtained within 30 days of establishing residency. The Alabama DMV doesn’t require driver testing for new-to-state drivers, unless your out-of-state license has been expired for more than a year. However, you will need to relinquish your out of state license upon receipt of your Alabama license.
To apply, you will visit your nearest DPS location with:
- 2 documents that prove your identity (i.e., passport, birth certificate, or resident alien card)
- Proof of your Social Security Number (a Social Security card or W-2 tax form)
- A $5 testing fee, which covers your vision and written exams
Alabama Auto Insurance Requirements
In accordance with Alabama car insurance law, you must have liability insurance to cover the following minimums:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person
- $50,000 for total bodily injury or death per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
Additional Alabama car insurance is optional, but recommended.