Vehicle Registration for Military Families

DMV. Getty Images
DMV. Getty Images

Military families have a long checklist of things to do when going through a PCS move. One of those tasks is vehicle registration.

Rules and fees for vehicle registration vary by state. Some states don’t require vehicle registration if you’re on military orders, in some states military members are exempt from registration fees, and some states offer special consideration to veterans, such as discounts on registration or license plates.

Alabama

Military members stationed in Alabama but who aren't residents of Alabama don't have to register their vehicles with the Alabama Motor Vehicles Division as long as they have a current registration in their home state and valid insurance. Military members who are Alabama residents have the same registration process as civilians.

Click here to learn more about the Alabama registration process.

Alaska

As a non-resident you are not required to transfer your title or registration to Alaska. You may retain the registration in the state you are a resident of, according to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

If you are an Alaskan resident military member stationed outside Alaska, you can renew your vehicle registration in Alaska by mail. Your LES must show Alaska as your home of record.

Click here for details.

Arizona

Active-duty military personnel stationed in Arizona who are not Arizona residents are exempt from paying the vehicle license tax portion of the annual vehicle registration.

When the nonresident service member is assigned overseas and the spouse or dependent must remain in Arizona, the exemption still applies if the nonresident service person was on military assignment in Arizona at the time the overseas orders were issued.

Arizona residents who are stationed out-of-state can renew their license online or by mail.

Residents can get a one year Special Military Exemption from the payment of vehicle license tax and registration fees. It is available one time per deployment and may be applied for during the time period between the date of deployment until one year after the deployment ends or the member is released from duty.  This exemption applies to no more than two vehicles, and each vehicle requires a separate form.

Click here to learn more about registration.

Arkansas

If Arkansas is not your home of record you are exempt from assessment and personal property taxes. You must provide a copy of your leave and earnings statement for verification of your home of record and, therefore, cannot renew by phone or internet.

For military personnel whose home of record is Arkansas, the requirements are the same as for an Arkansas resident, regardless of where you are stationed.

Click here for more details.

California

If you are a nonresident member of the military stationed in California, you can drive a vehicle as long as your out-of-state license remains valid and you're insured.

As a California resident, you're eligible for a waiver of the late fee if you're deployed and your registration expires. (Training doesn't count.)

Click here for more info.

Colorado

If you are stationed in Colorado but a resident of another state, you can register your vehicle without paying ownership tax by completing this Nonresidence and Military Service Exemption From Specific Ownership Tax Affidavit (Form DR 2667) and taking it to your county title and registration office. 

If you are a Colorado resident stationed out-of-state you may apply for an extension for up to three years by mail. If you have a CDL your license is automatically extended for up to 3 years per Colorado Revised Statute 42-2-118(2) as long as a military ID or military orders are presented with the license.

Delaware

To renew a vehicle registration when stationed outside of Delaware, you need to contact the state’s Registration Correspondence Section for an Out-of-State Inspection Packet to be mailed to you provided you are outside a 250 mile radius of a DMV location in Delaware. The packet consists of a safety inspection checklist and an emission test requirements. 

You can renew your license through the mail if stationed out-of-state.

Click here for more information. 

Florida

Military members who are both Florida residents and non-residents and are stationed in Florida on military orders are exempt from the $225 initial registration fee on a motor vehicle.

Click here for the exemption application. 

Georgia

To learn about vehicle registration in Georgia, click here.

Hawaii

You can either keep your home state’s registration or switch to Hawaii’s registration. If you choose to stay with your home state, you will be exempt from the annual weight tax and any excise taxes in Hawaii, but you’ll need to have a vehicle safety inspection.  

Click here for more information.

Idaho

There are no provisions in Idaho statute allowing the extension of vehicle registrations for military personnel, so check the expiration date of your vehicles before you deploy or move out of state. You can renew Idaho vehicle registrations from overseas or out of state online.

Click here for more information.

Illinois

Military members on active duty outside Illinois, as well as their spouses and children, may drive with an expired license for up to 120 days after their return to the state. A Military Deferral Certificate(s) must be carried with your expired Illinois driver's license. Certificates are available at no charge and may be mailed to your out-of-state address.  

Vehicle registrations can be renewed online.

Click here for more information.

Indiana

Indiana law provides that the driver’s license of any Indiana resident in the military or their dependents remains valid for ninety days after discharge or post-deployment regardless of the expiration date of the license. You may renew your driver's license online if your name and residential address have remained the same since the last time you received a license and your last renewal was in a BMV license branch and you do not have a J restriction or any 2-9 restrictions.

If you are a member of the military from another state who is stationed in Indiana, you may renew your vehicle registrations in Indiana.

Click here for details. 

Iowa

Iowa residents in the military must pay the same registration fees that apply to other residents when registering a vehicle in this state.  A nonresident member of the military is not required to register a vehicle in Iowa, providing the vehicle is properly registered in the state of residency. A nonresident can register a vehicle in Iowa, if desired, in the same manner as any nonresident.

For more information, click here

Kansas

Service members stationed outside of Kansas can renew vehicle registration online. 

Click here for more information.

Kentucky

You can renew your vehicle registration through the mail with your resident County Clerk's office or online. 

Click here for more information. 

Louisiana

Service members registering vehicles in Louisiana, follow the same registration process as permanent residents.

Click here to register.

Maine

You can renew your registration and license online. You may be eligible for a waiver of the state excise tax if you are a non-resident stationed in Maine.

Click here for more information. 

Maryland

If you’re a service member not establishing residency because you are only temporarily stationed in Maryland, you do not need to register your vehicle if it is currently registered in your state of residence If you are establishing residency in Maryland you must title and register your vehicle within one year of moving to Maryland.

Maryland residents who buy a used vehicle while stationed outside of Maryland can complete a form to temporarily register their vehicle in Maryland without the safety Inspection.  The vehicle must be immediately inspected upon return to Maryland.  The military personnel inspection waiver is valid for two years and may be renewed if necessary (if still stationed out-of-state). 

Click here for more information.

Massachusetts

If your vehicle was purchased, titled, and registered in your home state, you may retain your home state registration indefinitely, regardless of where you are stationed in the country. The only requirement is that you carry insurance at least equal to Massachusetts minimum levels.

Click here for details.

Michigan

To apply for a vehicle title and registration in Michigan, an Application for Certificate of Title and Registration must be completed and submitted to the state with payment via mail.  

Click here for the information you’ll need. 

Minnesota

If you’re a non-resident student or member of the military located in Minnesota but claim residency in another state, you do not have to register your car as long as your registration remains current with your home state.

Minnesota residents who are active duty military members stationed out-of-state or overseas are exempt from registration tax during your duration of military service, and for 1 year after you complete your military obligation. You must be the vehicle’s owner or co-owner, and your car must remain registered in Minnesota during your active service.

Click here for details. 

Mississippi

Military personnel who are stationed in Mississippi, but claim another state as their home, are not required to obtain a Mississippi registration or tag. Military personnel who are residents of Mississippi are required to register their vehicle in Mississippi.

Click here to learn more. 

Missouri

For military personnel stationed out of state, you must submit certain documents to register your vehicle, including the Certificate of Title, signed Application for Missouri Title and License (Form 108), your LES and more.

Click here for full instructions. 

Montana

A Montana resident who entered active military duty from Montana, including a National Guard or Reserve member, and who is stationed outside Montana, may register a motor vehicle that he or she owns and operates without paying certain light vehicle registration fees. 

Click here for the application. 

Nebraska

Military personnel stationed at a military base or any one of the various recruiting services in Nebraska and who have not established legal residence in Nebraska, may continue to operate their vehicles with current out-of-state license plates or may obtain current Nebraska license plates.

Click here to learn more.

Nevada

Out-of-state residents on active duty are not required to register their vehicles in Nevada. Spouses are also exempt if the spouse lives in Nevada solely to be with the service member. Service members and spouses who choose to obtain a Nevada registration are eligible for an exemption from the Nevada Governmental Services Taxes on vehicles.

The DMV will waive registration late fees for active duty military members assigned to combat or combat support positions. 

Click here for more information and required documents.

New Hampshire

Regardless of where you’re stationed, residents of New Hampshire need to register vehicles every year.

Click here to find out how to register your vehicle. 

New Jersey

If you are on active military duty and have been deployed, including New Jersey National Guard and Reserve, you and your immediate family are entitled to automatic extensions for your driver license, registration and inspection requirements. If you enter or are an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces and have a valid New Jersey registration, you can get a refund for the remainder of the registration period.

Click here for details. 

New Mexico

Nonresident service members stationed in New Mexico can drive vehicles with the plates of your home state or switch registration to New Mexico. 

Click here to renew registration online.

New York

If you are not able to visit the DMV to register a vehicle, another person can come for you with certain forms. The state of New York also offers a sales tax exemption for vehicles purchased out-of-state by service members. Click here for details and necessary forms. 

If your New York registration expires while on active duty, registrations can be extended for up to 60 days from return to New York State. Liability insurance coverage must be maintained at all times, including the period of extension. Click here for more information. 

North Carolina

When registering your vehicle in the state of North Carolina, you must have certain documents and completed forms.

Click here for everything you’ll need. 

North Dakota

If you’re in the military assigned to North Dakota, you must complete certain forms and out-of-state title must be submitted with completed application.

Click here to learn more. 

Ohio

Ohio military residents who are currently in state should follow the normal in-state vehicle registration. Non-resident military service members stationed in Ohio are not required to register their vehicles in the state.

Click here to learn how to register your vehicle. 

Oklahoma

Active duty military personnel who are either residents of, or stationed in, Oklahoma are entitled to a discounted annual registration fee.

Click here for information and necessary paperwork. 

Oregon

If you’re a resident of Oregon, register your vehicle in the state of Oregon.  If you are in the military, you may provide a copy of your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) showing Oregon as your home of record. You must still provide your actual residence address, even if it is in another state.

Click here to learn more. 

Pennsylvania

A service member can maintain Pennsylvania vehicle registration or can title and register the vehicle in the jurisdiction in which he/she is stationed. If your vehicle is registered in Pennsylvania, you must renew the registration annually. 

Click here for more information. 

Rhode Island

If you are in the military in Rhode Island, you are required to renew your registration before it expires, even if you are out-of-state at the time.

Click here to learn how to renew registration. 

South Carolina

If you’re a service member stationed in South Carolina, register your vehicle or renew your registration as normal.

Click here for details and learn how to renew your registration. 

South Dakota

Service member stationed out of state can renew vehicle registration online or by mail.

Click here for information on registration.

Tennessee

You can title, register, and transfer and renew registrations of their vehicles in the county where they are based. All transactions are done through the local county clerk. If Tennessee is listed as your home of record but you have no physical presence in the state, you can submit your application to any county clerk office.

Click here for complete instructions. 

Texas

If you are in the military on active duty outside of the state, your Texas driver's license will remain valid unless your license has been suspended, canceled, or revoked. Once you are honorably discharged you will be given an extension of 90 days from the date of your discharge or your return to the state. Your driver's license will be expired after the extension.

If you wish to avoid having to renew your driver's license when you return, you may renew by mail.

Click here for more information.

Utah

Active-duty military personnel whose legal residence is in another state are permitted to register their motor vehicles in their state of legal residence.  Non-resident military personnel who purchase a vehicle in Utah must pay the sales/use tax on the vehicle if they plan to operate the vehicle in Utah; sales tax is due even if they choose to register the vehicle in their home state.

Utah residents who are members of the U.S. Armed Services and are stationed out of state may obtain property tax exemption, emissions inspection exemption and safety inspection exemption. 

Click here for details. 

Vermont

For information on renewing registration in Vermont, click here

Virginia

While stationed in Virginia, if you purchase a vehicle, you can register that vehicle in your home state or in Virginia. Vehicles titled and registered in your name may be driven with valid out-of-state license plates.

Members of the military may request an extension of their Virginia driver’s license. Note: Commercial driver’s licenses are not eligible for extensions.

Click here for more information. 

Washington

Nonresident military personnel on duty in Washington may keep their current state registration or get Washington plates.

Washington residents stationed out-of-state can renew their registration online.

Click here for more information. 

Washington DC

District law requires that all vehicles housed and operated in the District of Columbia must be registered in the District unless the owner displays a reciprocity sticker issued by DC DMV.

For more information on how to get this sticker click here

West Virginia

To renew your registration while you're stationed out of state, you can renew online with all required information on your insurance, personal property taxes, and a valid credit card for payment.

Click here for details.  

Wisconsin

Vehicle registration renewals may be completed by the military member, a relative or a friend. Options for renewing include on-line, mail and in-person.

Upon entering the military, a member may request a refund of the unused portion of a registration fee. A military member on active duty may receive credit for periods of non-operation of less than twelve months. 

Click here to learn more. 

Wyoming

Click here for information on Wyoming licensing and vehicle registration.

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