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What are the prerequisites for registering a vehicle in Alabama?

  1. Title - For any motor vehicle requiring a certificate of title, the vehicle owner must first apply for an Alabama certificate of title through a designated agent of the Alabama Department of Revenue.
  2. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)/ Ownership Documentation Inspection - When a certificate of title is not required, only a registration is issued. The licensing official or their appointed deputy is required to inspect the vehicle prior to issuing a registration each time there is a change in ownership of the vehicle along with the ownership documentation (bill of sale, court order, properly assigned certificate of origin, or any other documentation as specified by the Department). An inspection is not required for a registration renewal.
  3. Mandatory Liability Insurance - The motor vehicle must be covered by a an Alabama liability insurance policy prior to registration. Beginning January 1, 2013, license plate issuing officials will attempt to verify liability insurance utilizing the State of Alabama Online Insurance Verification System (OIVS) when issuing or renewing vehicle registrations. If insurance cannot be verified through OIVS, vehicle owners must provide evidence of insurance to the license plate issuing official. The insurance card is the most common evidence of current insurance.
  4. Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (FHVUT) if applicable – When registering trucks and truck tractors with gross vehicle weight of 55,000 lbs or more, the registrant must provide proof of payment of the federal heavy vehicle use tax before the registration can be issued.  This tax is paid to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a Form 2290 is received as receipt of payment.

After the prerequisites are met, the licensing official will collect the necessary registration fees and ad valorem taxes and issue a license plate.  Click here to view registration fees for the various Alabama license plates. Images of Alabama license plates may be viewed by selecting a license plate category under the "License Plate Information" menu item on the Motor Vehicle Division web page.