What do I need to register my car in Michigan?

Michigan Vehicle Registration: Complete GuideIf you are buying a used car, it is important to research the vehicles history to find out how the vehicle has been used, its title inf

What do I need to register my car in Michigan?

Michigan Vehicle Registration: Complete Guide

Michigan Vehicle Registration

If you are buying a used car, it is important to research the vehicles history to find out how the vehicle has been used, its title information, repair history and if its involved in any recall.Run a Free Vehicle Report:

All residents are required to register their motor vehicles and display valid license plates before it can be used on Michigan roads.

Check out all the information you need here at VINCheck.info if you want to:

  • register your car as a new resident
  • register an out-of-state vehicle
  • re-register a salvage vehicle
  • change your address or name on your car registration documents
  • renew or replace your registration

How to Register your Vehicle as a New Michigan Resident

The State of Michigan requires all new residents to immediately register and obtain a title for their vehicles upon establishing residency in the state. There is no grace period provided in Michigan law. Both the registration and titling of the vehicle are processed at the same time. If ever there is an existing lien on your vehicle, you can bring your vehicles registration documents from your previous state to the nearest Secretary of State office.

Bring the following for processing your Michigan vehicle registration:

  • Proof of your Michigan no-fault auto insurance
  • The current out-of-state title of your vehicle
  • All owners of the vehicle should be present (if applicable). If one of the owners are not able to appear, an Appointment of Agent/Power of Attorney form must be completed and submitted instead.
  • The absent owner should also provide a photocopy of their valid drivers license or ID card.
  • The out-of-state registration of your vehicle (only if the title is being held by a lienholder)
  • A completed Application for Michigan Vehicle Title
  • Proof of identification (drivers license, ID card with photo, birth certificate)

NOTE: Your Michigan car registration will expire on your birthday.

How to Register an Out-of-State Vehicle in Michigan

The process for registering a vehicle that was previously registered out-of-state is basically the same as registering a new vehicle. In order to convert your vehicles out-of-state title to a Michigan title, bring the following to your local SOS office:

  • The current out-of-state title of your vehicle
  • Proof of your Michigan no-fault auto insurance
  • Proof of identification (drivers license, ID card with photo, birth certificate)
  • The out-of-state registration of your vehicle (only if the title is being held by a lienholder)

How to Re-register a Salvaged Vehicle in Michigan

The State of Michigan considers a vehicle as a distressed vehicle (salvage or scrap-worthy) if it was damaged to the point that repairing it would cost at least 75% but under 91% of its cash value. Whoever retains ownership of the salvaged vehicle is required to immediately apply for a salvage title. Your car insurance provider will generally be the one to assess and provide an estimate of the costs to repair your vehicle.

You must first apply for a salvage title for your vehicle before repairing it. To apply, bring the following to your local SOS office:

  • A completed Application for an Original Michigan Title
  • You should provide an estimate of the vehicles value before it was damaged and the repair costs listed on the invoice from your insurance provider.
  • The original title of your vehicle

If you prefer to submit these by mail, you can send it to:

Michigan Department of State
Special Services Branch
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, MI 48918

After obtaining a salvage title for your damaged vehicle, you can apply for a rebuilt title after it has been repaired. The vehicle must first be inspected by a certified law enforcement officer to verify your ownership of all the parts and components used in the repairs. Obtain an Application for Salvage Vehicle Inspection while repairs are being made to your vehicle, since you or the mechanic will need to complete some sections.

Bring the following to the inspection:

  • Your completed Application for Salvage Vehicle Inspection
  • All bills of sale/receipts for all major components that you purchased to repair the vehicle

Once your vehicle passes inspection, the inspector will provide you with a Salvage Recertification form, which you will need to apply for a rebuilt title (together with your application).

When applying for a rebuilt title, bring the following to your local SOS office:

  • The salvage title of your vehicle
  • The completed Application for Salvage Vehicle Inspection
  • The completed Salvage Recertification form given to you by the inspector
  • Proof of no-fault auto insurance

NOTE: You can also apply for a temporary registration permit that will be valid for 30 days or 60 days as an interim replacement for your license plates. Talk to your local SOS representative about this.

After your application has been processed and there are no issues with it, you will be given a Rebuilt Salvage title and you can now legally drive your vehicle on the road.

How Do I Change My Address with Michigan DMV?

You are required to provide notification to your local SOS office when moving to a new address within the State of Michigan. You can update your address by mail, in person, or online.

Changing your address by mail requires you to complete a Michigan Change of Address/Voter Registration form and send it to the address printed on the form. The SOS will send a verification letter to your old address after they have processed your change of address. If you would prefer not to receive this verification letter, you should change your address in person instead.

You can also choose to process your change of address online, via the Michigan ExpressSOS website. The SOS will then send a verification letter to your previous address after you finish the online process. Again, if you would rather not receive this letter, you should process the change of address in person instead.

NOTE: If you have previously ordered a duplicate drivers license or ID card, or a title certificate or handicap parking placard on that day, you will not be able to process your change of address through the online system.

You can visit your local SOS office to change your address in person. Bring your valid drivers license or ID card with you. After your address has been successfully updated, you will be provided with a new sticker (your new address will be printed on it) to attach to the back of your drivers license or ID card.

NOTE: Changing your drivers license address will also change the address on your voter registration records.

How to Transfer a Vehicle Between Family Members

If you are gifting or selling your vehicle to a qualifying family member, the process is similar to that of transferring the title when purchasing/selling a vehicle through a private party. The family member receiving/buying the vehicle will be exempt from paying the sales tax or use tax on that vehicle. Qualifying family members include:

  • Spouses
  • Parents (including stepparents and in-laws)
  • Siblings (including stepsiblings and in-laws)
  • Children (including stepchildren and in-laws)
  • Grandparents (including in-laws)
  • Grandchildren (including in-laws)

Generally, applying for the auto title transfer does not require you nor the recipient to provide proof of your relationship. However, there may be instances where the Michigan Department of Treasury will need to see proof of relationship at any point.

The family member receiving/buying the vehicle will be the one responsible for processing the new title, registration, and license plates. They should make sure that:

  • They have the original title of the vehicle. Copies are not acceptable.
  • The family member giving or selling the vehicle must complete the seller section of the title as well as the odometer disclosure statement, and sign it.
  • There are no outstanding loans on the vehicle.
  • The VIN number and odometer reading on the vehicle match the VIN number and odometer reading stated on the title.

It is recommended that you and your family member visit the SOS office in person to process the transfer of title. You do not immediately need to have new license plates if you are there and driving the vehicle directly home. In case you and your family member are unable to process the title transfer in person, you will have 15 days from the date of sale to complete the transfer to your name.

Bring the following:

  • Proof of identification
  • The title of the vehicle
  • Proof of Michigan no-fault insurance

Military Vehicle Registration in Michigan

Active military personnel who are residents of Michigan but are stationed out-of-state may apply for a vehicle title and registration in Michigan. To apply for a Michigan title and registration, you must complete the following:

  • Signed Application for Certificate of Title and Registration
  • Signed Special Mailer of Certificate for Title (if the title is to be mailed to an address other than that shown on the title application)
  • Payment for registration fees (Check or money order payable to the State of Michigan)

Mail it to:

Michigan Department of State
The Special Services Branch
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, MI 48918
517-636-5872

Vehicle Registration Renewal in Michigan

You will receive a renewal notice from the Secretary of State 45 days before your registration expires. You may use these methods of renewing your registration: Online, Mail, Self-Service Station and Secretary of State offices.

How to Renew Your Michigan Vehicle Registration in Person

Renewals can be processed in person at your local Secretary of State branch office. Bring the following:

  • Renewal notice or old registration for each registration (or plate configuration)
  • Proof of Michigan no-fault insurance for each registration
  • Drivers license
  • Cash, check, money order, credit or debit card (MasterCard, Discover and Visa)

You can also renew at any Self-Service stations across the state as long as:

  • Your information is current
  • You received a PIN on your renewal notice, and
  • You have a valid credit card

How to Renew Your Michigan Vehicle Registration Online

To renew your registration online, visit the ExpressSOS link. If you have a PIN on your notice you can use the online renewal system, just follow the instructions provided on the website.

How to Renew Your Michigan Vehicle Registration By Mail

Using the enclosed envelope in your renewal notice, submit the following:

  • Renewal notice
  • Proof of auto insurance
  • Payment (check or money order payable to the State of Michigan)
  • Renewal worksheet (if purchasing a new plate)

Mail to:

Michigan Department of State
Renewal by Mail
7064 Crowner Dr.
Lansing, MI 48980-0001

NOTE: Check to make sure that the owner vehicle information is correct on each renewal notice. (If not, you will need to renew at a Secretary of State branch office.)

Michigan Vehicle Registration Fees

Registration fee for vehicles in Michigan depends on the following factors:

  • The vehicles Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
  • Type of vehicle
  • Model year
  • Title history (whether the vehicle was previously owned)

To get an estimate on how much the registration fees for your vehicle will be, calculate the amount here.

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