Many states require drivers in the United States to have a driver’s license and to register their cars in the same state they live in.

There are exceptions.

You may be able to register your car in another state depending on your personal circumstances. If you have a vacation home, or are in the military, it might be logical to register multiple vehicles in different states.

You can register a car in another state than the one you have a license for.

Many states prohibit vehicle registrations without a driver’s license. Many states have laws that require new residents to obtain a state driver’s license within 30 to 90 day. You may be required to show your driver’s license or proof of residency in order to register your vehicle in the state.

Some states do not require that your license match your registration. This means that you might be able register your car in these states as a nonresident. Below is a list of states that do not require matching licenses.

What states don’t need your license to match the registration of yours?

These are the few states that don’t require you to have a license in order to match your registration.

  • CaliforniaAllows non-residents to register vehicles in the state, if the vehicle is located in California or is primarily used on California highways.
  • Colorado doesn’t require an In-State license to register a car, but you will need proof of Colorado insurance.
  • Delaware does not require an in-state licence to register your vehicle. Instead, you will need to provide two documents that prove your Delaware residency. Your vehicle must pass inspection.
  • Floridaallows temporary registration of vehicles by non-residents in certain situations. A 90-day license plate is available for temporary employees who are temporarily employed in Florida. Non-resident military personnel deployed in Florida may also be eligible for a Florida license plate.
  • Indiana doesn’t require an Indiana license to register a car. However, you will need to present two documents that include your name and address.
  • Kentucky does not require an in-state vehicle registration license, but you will need a photo ID. Kentucky requires proof that you have Kentucky car insurance, unless your active-duty military personnel are stationed in Kentucky.
  • Maine does not require an in-state driver’s license. If you are transferring from another state, your out-of–state title and registration and your Maine insurance card must be brought.
  • Massachusettsonly asks you to show lawful presence in the U.S. in order to register a vehicle. You can present an unexpired license from another country or state, or a Social Security card, or any other document that proves your legal presence in the country.
  • New York permits non-residents to register vehicles out of state by sending an application along with the required documents to a New York DMV Office.
  • North Dakota permits non-residents to obtain temporary vehicle registration. Temporary registrations are valid for six months or twelve months. It is mandatory to keep current registration in your home country.
  • South Dakotaallows residents to register vehicles within the state. Your original out-of state title, a copy your driver’s licence, Social Security number, and a registration form are required.

To register a vehicle in other states, you will need to show your current driver’s licence.

How to register your vehicle in the U.S. resident

Certain states permit non-U.S. residents to register vehicles. Residents can register their vehicles in some states. Each state has its own rules so it is a good idea for residents to register their vehicles.

To register a vehicle in Massachusetts, you don’t have to present a U.S. driver’s license. You just need to prove that you are legally present in the United States.

You may be eligible to show lawful presence in the U.S. if you don’t possess a valid U.S. driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate.

  • The Department of Homeland Security issues a Permanent Resident Card. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Temporary I-551 stamp for a Foreign Passport
  • DHS issues Employment Authorization Documents

Special circumstances for car registration

Many states recognize that some people may need a vehicle to be registered in another state than their legal residence. If you fall within one of these gray zones, you may be eligible to register your car in another state.

  • Deployed military — Some States allow military personnel to register nonresident vehicles.
  • Students at College — Students from out-of-state colleges don’t usually need to register their car in their home state unless they wish to establish residency.

Each state has its own rules regarding when and how non-residents can register vehicles within the state. Some states will not issue temporary registrations in certain circumstances. Make sure you do your research before visiting DMV.

How do I register my car in another state

After you have confirmed your eligibility to register a vehicle in the state, most states require that you visit a DMV office in person. To ensure your vehicle is registered upon arrival, check online or phone ahead. All paperwork must be completed.

FAQs regarding non-resident car registration

Which state is the easiest to register a car?

South Dakota is one the easiest states in which to register a vehicle. If you hold a South Dakota driver’s license, you can register online. You can also register in person.

If I live in two states, where should I register my vehicle?

You should generally register your car in the state you are a legal resident. This means that you have to file tax returns, have a driver’s license, and can vote. If you have a vehicle that you keep in another state, you might need to register it as a nonresident.

Is it a good idea to register my vehicle in another state?

If your car is being garaged or driven in another state, it might be a good idea to register it there. If you are a military member or if your home state is not one of them, it might make sense to register your car in another state. This is insurance fraud.