How Long Does It Take To Get Registration From Dealership In 2024


Purchasing a new or used car from a dealership involves more than just driving off the lot. An important step is making sure registration and license plates get transferred to you in a timely manner.

How long should this take? What steps are involved? This comprehensive guide examines everything you need to know about obtaining your vehicle registration from the dealership after purchase in 2024.

What is Vehicle Registration?

Vehicle registration is the official process of recording your ownership of a car with the DMV in your state. It involves paperwork that provides details like:

  • Your name and address
  • VIN of the vehicle
  • Make, model, year
  • Purchase date
  • Lienholder info if financed

Registration proves you legally own the car and can drive it on public roads. License plates are physically issued along with a registration card that serves as proof when renewing annually. Both used and new purchases require registration transfer. Many states also charge sales tax at the time of registration based on the purchase price.

Vehical Registration
What is Vehicle Registration?

Why Dealers Handle Registration

For convenience, most dealerships offer to handle all registration paperwork and submittal when you buy from them. This service saves you a trip to the DMV. The dealer has a vested interest in recording the sale properly with the state to avoid

any liability issues. They likely charge a documentation or processing fee for providing registration services. This is normally around $200-400 but is negotiable.

Importance of Vehicle Registration

All vehicles driven on public roadways in the United States must be legally registered with the state. This involves assigning the vehicle a license plate and transferring the title into the owner’s name. Registration must be completed within a certain timeframe after purchase. Driving without valid registration can result in hefty fines or impoundment of the vehicle.

Factors Influencing Time Taken

Several important factors impact how quickly a dealership can fully register a newly purchased vehicle:

  • Location – Registration requirements and processing times vary by state. More populous states may have longer delays. Local agencies are busier and have more registrations to handle.
  • Dealership Process – Larger dealers with high sales volumes typically have registration processes optimized for faster turnaround. Smaller dealers may take longer to submit documents and follow-up.
  • Completeness of Documentation – Having all required documents prepared accurately and completely speeds processing. Any missing or incorrect information causes delays.

Dealership Registration Process

When buying from a dealership, customers can usually opt for the dealer to handle vehicle registration using a step-by-step process.

Dealership Registration Process
Dealership Registration Process

Submission of Required Documents

To begin registration, the dealership will need certain key documents from the vehicle purchaser:

  • Proof of Ownership – Official bill of sale or buyer’s order from the dealership showing transfer of ownership.
  • Proof of Insurance – Valid insurance card or policy documents in the new owner’s name.
  • Identification Documents – Driver’s license, ID card, social security card or passport.
  • Emission Test Certificate – If required in your state, an approved emissions test result for the vehicle.

Completion of Application Forms

The dealership will assist in accurately completing all required application forms:

  • Vehicle Registration Form – Contains all vehicle and owner information required by the DMV for official registration.
  • Tax-Related Forms – Sales tax, vehicle property taxes, and other tax forms must be submitted.

Vehicle Inspection

If mandated in your state, a safety and/or emissions inspection of the vehicle may be performed:

  • Safety Inspection – Checks items like tires, lights, windshield, and other safety-related aspects of the car. Must pass inspection before registration approval.
  • Emissions Testing – Inspection of exhaust emissions to ensure they are within permissible limits in your area.
Vehicle Inspection
Vehicle Inspection

Administrative Processing

Once documents are submitted, the application goes through an administrative review process:

Verification of Documents

The dealership will first verify all documents are accurate and properly completed. This involves:

  • Reviewing Documents – Thorough check of information provided on all registration, tax, and inspection documents.
  • Ensuring Accuracy – Comparing vehicle identification numbers, owner details, and other data against sources like title and insurance documents.

Information Transmission

After internal verification, the paperwork gets transmitted to the governmental agency:

  • Forwarded to Agency – Dealership sends the entire approved application package to the DMV or other registration authority.
  • Agency Review – The agency reviews the application and supporting documents for completeness.

Government Processing

The application then goes through the registration approval process with the state or local agency:

Government Processing
Government Processing

Application Review

Agency clerks thoroughly review the application for compliance:

  • Document Check – Submitted registration form, taxes, and any inspection reports are checked for accuracy and validity.
  • Regulation Compliance – Application is verified to comply with state vehicle regulations.

Data Entry and Recording

  • System Data Entry – Vehicle details from the paperwork are entered into the DMV databases.
  • Record Update – Agency systems are updated with the new vehicle owner registration information.

Approval and Registration Generation

With approved applications, the registration is officially generated:

  • Successful Registration – The completed application results in generation of the new vehicle registration.
  • Documents Sent – The new registration card and/or plates are sent back to the originating dealership.

Dealership Notification

The dealership will contact the new owner once registration is complete:

Receipt of Registration

  1. Registration Documents Arrive – Dealership receives the new plates, stickers, and registration card from the agency.

Owner Communication

  • Registration Update – Dealership contacts the owner to provide registration completion details.
  • Next Steps – Owner informed of when and how to pick up plates, registration, etc.

How Quickly You Get License Plates and Registration

  • Same day – Some dealers provide temporary permits then supply plates/registration when they close. This is ideal but rare.
  • Within 1 week – Many states require issuance of permanent plates within several days of vehicle purchase. The dealer follows up as soon as they arrive. 1-2 weeks – More commonly it takes 7-14 days to receive mailed plates and registration from the dealer, depending on state processing times.
  • 1 month or longer – Some states allow 30 days or more for dealers to supply plates and registration. This can delay getting hard copies. Special cases – Custom plates, out of state purchases, title issues, or financing can delay registration beyond the standard time frame for some buyers.
How Quickly You Get License Plates And Registration
How Quickly You Get License Plates and Registration

Getting Temporary Plates Immediately

While permanent plates take time to arrive, dealers issue temporary registration known as transit permits or temporary tags when you purchase a vehicle. These temporary plates allow you to legally drive while waiting for the official registration.

Features of temporary plates:

  • Printed paperwork usually placed in rear window or plate holder. Valid for 30 days or less in most states – expiration date will be shown
  • Provides temporary vehicle identification number until permanent plates assigned
  • Allows for driving while waiting on licensing and registration. Dealer submits paperwork simultaneously to get permanent plates.

What to Do if No Registration After 30 Days

If you still have not received license plates or registration from the dealership after 30 days or more, take action by:

  • Speaking to dealership management for answers. Filing a complaint with consumer protection agencies
  • Contacting your state DMV office for registration status. Reporting the dealer’s negligence to the automaker
  • Consulting an attorney if negligence or fraud is evident. Refusing payment if financing until documentation provided
  • Using the state “lost title” process if not received in 45+ days


How much is it to register a car in Florida 2023?

The cost to register a car in Florida for 2023 is around $225 on average, which includes the initial registration fee, title fee, and plate fee. Additional costs include sales tax and any specialty plate fees. The total cost can vary based on your county tax rate and the vehicle’s value.

How do I check the status of my car registration in Colorado?

You can check the status of your car registration in Colorado online at Enter your license plate or VIN number to see expiration date, renewals status, plate type, and any outstanding registration fees or taxes owed. You can also call 303-205-5600 for registration status details.

How much does it cost to register a car in MA 2023?

The cost to register a car in Massachusetts for 2023 is typically $60 for the basic registration fee, plus sales tax on the vehicle’s value, which varies by city/county. Additional fees also apply for new registration ($25), title ($75), plates ($40), and any specialty or vanity plates. Total registration costs average $150-300 depending on taxes.

How do I check the status of my vehicle registration in Arizona?

To check your vehicle registration status in Arizona, you can visit and enter your VIN, plate number, or driver’s license info. It will show expiration date, fees owed, status, violations, and renewal eligibility. You can also call 602-712-2700 for registration details from the Motor Vehicle Division.

Q: How long does dealership registration typically take?

A: The timeframe can vary widely by location and specific dealer processes, but expect anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks in most cases.

Q: What documents do I need to provide the dealer for registration?

A: Proof of sale, valid insurance, driver’s license, social security card, prior vehicle title if trading in, and any required inspection certificates for your state.

Q: Does the dealership handle all aspects of registration?

A: Dealers complete the application paperwork and submit it, but the DMV must still officially approve and issue the new registration.

Q: Do I have to get emissions testing before dealership registration?

A: If your state requires an emissions test prior to registration, yes. This must be completed in advance.


Getting your license plates and registration in a timely manner is an important part of finalizing your new vehicle purchase from a dealership. While most buyers receive their permanent registration within 1-2 weeks, delays of 4 weeks or more are not

unheard of depending on your state’s processes and any special circumstances with your vehicle or paperwork. Be sure to get a realistic estimate upfront from the dealership on how long registration will take to avoid surprises. If not received within

the initial timeframe provided, follow up persistently with the dealer and your local DMV to expedite the process or determine any issues. Extensions on temporary permits may be needed if there are significant hold ups. With some diligence and

patience during the occasionally slow bureaucratic process, you can ensure the dealer handles your new registration properly so you have legal proof of ownership for insurance and peace of mind. Just be aware that in some states obtaining

license plates and your registration card from start to finish can exceed 30 days. Maintain contact with the dealership and be proactive if your paperwork seems to be stuck in processing limbo.

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