What Are Car Registration Requirements in Pennsylvania?

If you have just moved to Pennsylvania or have recently purchased a new car there, registering your vehicle as soon as possible is a good idea. Your car registration should be up-to-date to avoid any trouble when you get pulled over on the road. Keep in mind that PennDOT (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) handles car registration in PA, not the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

I have written this guide to help you understand how to register a car in Pennsylvania. So let’s find out the process:

Why is Car Registration Necessary?

Why is Car Registration Necessary?

When a police officer pulls you over in Pennsylvania, they will ask for your license, registration, and insurance. You must present documents proving your ability to drive legally, ownership of the vehicle, and insurance. Without these documents, you cannot lawfully drive.

Registering your vehicle creates a link between you, your vehicle, and your state of residence. The state uses it to collect taxes and fees from motorists.

Process of Registering a Car in Pennsylvania?

When registering your car in Pennsylvania, you must determine if you are registering a new or used vehicle or have moved from another state. The following are the three scenarios and the registration requirements.

Registering a New Car:

  • Certificate of Origin (MCO) as proof of ownership
  • Certificate of Title Application (Form MV-1)
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Insurance proof

Renewing Car Registration:

  • Certificate of Title for Pennsylvania
  • Vehicle Sales and Use Tax Return/Application for Registration (Form MV-4ST)
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Insurance proof

Out-of-State Registration

  • Auto insurance proof of state-mandated coverage
  • VIN verification
  • Power of attorney
  • Obtain a Pennsylvania certificate of title by surrendering your out-of-state title
  • Clearance of all taxes and fees

You must acquire the driver’s license within 60 days of establishing residency and complete title registration within 20 days. Moreover, within ten days of registration, you must complete a safety inspection along with a possible emissions examination.

Can you renew your Car Registration online in PA?

Can you renew your Car Registration online in PA?

Yes, you can register your car or renew your current registration online in PA without hassle. PennDOT mails you a renewal notice prior to the expiry of your registration. Residents can complete renewals physically, by mail, or online.

You should know how to check my vehicle registration status PA before you go to renew your car registration. You can easily do that by contacting Driver and Vehicle Services department at 1-717-412-5300.

The following information is required for online registration:

  • Applications for renewal, notices, or registration requests sent by PennDOT.
  • Fees for renewing the PA registration.

If you are renewing your registration online, additional fees may apply.

What is The Car Registration Fee in PA?

What is The Car Registration Fee in PA

Pennsylvania charges a one-year registration fee of $38 for passenger vehicles. However, prices may increase according to the size and weight of the vehicle. You may also be required to pay an additional $5 property tax to your county when you register your vehicle.

There is an additional fee of $82 for a personalized registration plate. You can also purchase special license plates that contribute to a particular organization or feature a particular design by paying an extra amount.

Furthermore, the authority includes a 6% sales tax on vehicle price in the registration fee. It is 7% in Allegheny County and 8% in Philadelphia city.

Replacing Car Registration in PA

Replacing Car Registration in PA

To drive legally in Pennsylvania, you must possess a valid vehicle registration. There is no need to panic if your registration is lost, stolen, or destroyed. If you wish to replace your vehicle registration, PennDOT has a simple procedure.

PA requires that you provide basic personal information and pay a fee for registering your vehicle.

Difference between Replacement and Renewal of Registration

The process of renewing your registration is different from replacing it. You must renew your registration if it is due to expire shortly. Renewing online is easy, and the process takes just a few minutes.

On the other hand, you must replace your registration when it is lost, damaged, or stolen. You need to complete Form MV-44 to request a duplicate registration card or replacement plate by paying $6.


When you buy a new car or move to Pennsylvania, it’s time to ensure your Pennsylvania car registration is up-to-date. Get a new car registration or renew it as soon as possible if it is about to expire. Pennsylvania’s car registration and renewal are straightforward; just follow the instructions we have put together.

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