How To Register a Car in Ohio

To register your car in Ohio, you’ll need ID, a Social Security Number, proof of legal presence, and an Ohio address. Click here for the step-by-step process.
Written by Matt Nightingale
Reviewed by Brittni Brinn
If you’re new to
, you have 30 days to transfer your out-of-state license or ID card, your vehicle title, and your vehicle registration. And depending on what county you’re settling in, you may also need to pass a vehicle emissions test.
You can easily register your vehicle in Ohio online, in person, by mail, by phone, or by using a Bureau of Motor Vehicles Express kiosk. In this article
shows you how to register a car in Ohio from out of state and how to renew your Ohio vehicle registration.
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How to register a car in Ohio

To register a vehicle in the Buckeye State, you’ll need to provide proof of ownership,
proof of insurance
, and an emissions certificate if necessary, and pay a registration fee of $31. There will also be a $5 service fee and local fees and taxes which can add up to $20

If you just moved to Ohio

Newcomers to Ohio have 30 days in which to get their vehicle registration, Ohio driver’s license, and vehicle title sorted. Just visit a deputy registrar with proof of the following:
  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Legal presence in the U.S.
  • Social Security Number
  • Ohio street address
Here is a
list of acceptable documents
that you can use when registering your vehicle in Ohio.  
There is no mandatory safety inspection for Ohio vehicle owners, so you won’t necessarily need to provide proof of safety inspection. However, an officer can demand that your vehicle be inspected for safety, at which point you will need to provide proof that it has passed such an inspection.
If you live in one of the seven Ohio counties that require a vehicle emissions test, you’ll need to take your vehicle to a certified testing facility. Emission tests are free up until the third failure. After that, each emissions test costs $18. Once you pass your emissions test, a certificate number is automatically forwarded to the Ohio BMV on your behalf. 
You will need to provide proof of car ownership and proof of insurance, as well. You can prove ownership by showing a
certificate of title
, and your insurance company should issue an ID card that will indicate that your financial responsibilities have been met.
All out-of-state vehicles must undergo a VIN inspection to ensure that the vehicle is not stolen. You’ll also need to fill out an
Application for Certificate of Title to a Motor Vehicle form
, which comes with a $5 fee.
The annual vehicle registration fee for passenger cars in Ohio is $31. There is an additional $5 service fee, local fees, and taxes. All told, you’re looking at a bill of about $56 in total.
And that’s it! Submit your forms and fees to the BMV, and you’re good to go.

If you just bought a car

If you buy a car in Ohio, you’ll need to provide your ID and a notarized certificate of title. You’ll have to fill out a BMV
title transfer
form and submit it along with your registration papers.

How much insurance coverage do you need in Ohio? 

Like most states, Ohio requires drivers registered in that state to carry a minimum amount of car insurance in the following amounts: 
You’ll need to prove you meet these minimums in order to legally register your vehicle in Ohio. Keep in mind, however, that third-party liability insurance only pays for damage you cause to other people. If you want to protect yourself, you might want to consider getting additional coverage such as
comprehensive coverage

How to renew your Ohio vehicle registration 

Ohio drivers must renew their car registration annually. When it’s time to renew your Ohio vehicle registration, you’ll get a notice in the mail 45 days before your registration expires, although you can renew your registration up to 90 days before the expiration date. 
Your registration expiry date is your birthday, so it shouldn’t be too hard to remember. If you do forget, there is a $10 late fee if you’re over 30 days late renewing your registration. You cannot renew a registration that is more than six months overdue.
There is no safety inspection required, but cars over four years old must pass a bi-annual emissions test. Cars over 25 years old are exempt from emissions tests.
If you live in a county that requires vehicles to pass a smog test, you’ll have to get that completed before your registration expires. Ohio residents are allowed up to three free emissions tests per year or until they pass, whichever comes first. If you fail your first three tests, subsequent tests will set you back $18.
Here is a list of Ohio counties that require vehicles to pass emissions tests:
  • Cuyahoga
  • Geauga
  • Lake
  • Lorain
  • Medina
  • Portage
  • Summit
Once you’ve passed your smog test, an emissions certificate number will be sent to the BMV, and you can complete your registration in person at a deputy registrar’s office or by one of the following methods:
The Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Vehicle Information Services
Registration Support Services
P.O. Box 16521
Columbus, Ohio 43216-6521
Don’t forget to provide proof of insurance, a signed and dated renewal notice, and proof of insurance. You must also provide a check or money order for the $31 registration fee, the $5 Deputy Registrar fee, as well as any local fees or taxes. Registrations done online are subject to a $1.75 transaction fee.

How to replace a lost registration sticker or license plate

Need to replace your registration sticker or lost license plate? You can do that by filling out a BMV-4809 form either in person or online. A registration card and new registration sticker cost $4.50, while a single replacement license plate costs $10.50, while two plates cost $11.75.
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Yes! You can register your vehicle on the Ohio BMV Online Services
The cost of vehicle registration can vary in Ohio. The base cost of registration is $31, and there is a $5 Deputy Registrar’s fee. If you register online, you’ll have to pay a $1.75 processing fee.
Local fees and taxes are added to your registration costs, which can come out to an additional $20. Finally, if you failed your first three emissions tests you’ll have to pay $18 for your fourth and every subsequent test. Altogether—assuming you pass your fourth emissions test—you could be looking at a total fee of $75.75 for a regular passenger car.
In order to register your out-of-state car in Ohio, you’ll need to provide proof of your full legal name, proof of your date of birth, proof of legal presence in the U.S., proof of Social Security number, and proof of Ohio residency. You’ll also need to undergo a VIN test to ensure that your vehicle isn’t stolen, and you may have to pass an emissions test as well. Once you’ve got all of that in order, you’ll need to pay the $31 registration fee, a $5 Deputy Registrar’s fee, and any other taxes and fees.
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