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Guide to the Ohio DMV

ohio BMV guide

If you’re a car owner moving to Ohio, or purchasing a car in Ohio, you will need to know the basics of vehicle registration.

New Auto Registration in Ohio

In Ohio, vehicles are registered in the county that the owner resides, through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). According to Ohio law, you will have thirty days to register your vehicle and obtain a Ohio license. Before applying for your registration, you will have to have a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection, get a vehicle emissions test done, and apply for a vehicle title at the county clerk’s title office.

In order to complete a new registration, you need to:

  • Present a Certificate of Title
  • Provide your driver’s license or photo id, or proof of your Social Security number
  • Present inspection documents
  • Pay applicable fees (beginning at $34.50, plus taxes and any county fees)

Ohio Vehicle Inspections

Ohio requires applicable vehicles in certain counties to undergo regular emissions inspections every two years. In addition, new residents are obligated to bring in their vehicles for vehicle identification number (VIN) inspections. You are reimbursed for the $18 fee when you pass your emissions test.

Ohio Auto Registration Renewal

Your county will likely send you a renewal notice to remind you that your registration is about to expire. You can renew by phone, mail, online, or in-person at a Deputy Registrar’s office. To renew, you will need your current vehicle registration, personal information, and your renewal fee ($34.50 for passenger vehicles). Your renewal fee will vary based on where you live.

Ohio Vehicle Title Process

If you purchase a vehicle from a dealer in Ohio, the dealer will complete the title application and submit it to the Ohio BMV. To complete the auto title transfer yourself, you will need:

  • Your original title
  • Your out-of-state inspection form
  • Your odometer reading
  • Payment for any applicable fees ($15 for the title fee)

Getting Your Ohio Driver’s License

An Ohio driver’s license must be obtained within thirty days of establishing residency. The Ohio BMV doesn’t require driving exams for new-to-state drivers, unless your out-of-state license is expired. However, you will need to relinquish your out of state license upon receipt of your Ohio license.

To apply, you will visit your nearest BMV location and:

  • Submit proof of your name, date of birth, Social Security number, legal presence in the U.S., and Ohio residency
  • Pay the applicable fees
  • Pass a vision screening test
  • Pass a driving knowledge test
  • Have your photo taken

Ohio Auto Insurance Requirements

Ohio is among the states that do not have mandatory car insurance laws. However, you are required to pay for costs of bodily injury or property damage from any car accident you caused.

If you do decide to purchase car insurance, 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