Motor vehicles are registered through License Plate Issuing Offices in the county in which the owner resides. If the owner is a firm, corporation, or an association, the motor vehicle is registered in the county in which the motor vehicle is used or operated. Note: in Jefferson County, several cities process motor vehicle registration renewals (Clay, Hoover, Irondale, and Vestavia Hills).
International Registration Plan (IRP) trucks and truck tractors, operating to points outside the state of Alabama, are registered through Motor Vehicle’s Motor Carrier Services Unit.
Motor vehicles owned by the state, a county, a municipality, a public utility department, or a volunteer fire department are registered through Motor Vehicle’s Registration Section.
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 (ALDOR).
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 ALDOR). An inspection is not required for a registration renewal.
Mandatory Liability Insurance – The motor vehicle must be covered by an Alabama liability insurance policy prior to registration. 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.
Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (FHVUT), if applicable – When registering trucks and truck tractors with gross vehicle weight of 55,000 pounds 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 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. Visit the License Plates web page to view the registration fees and plate designs for the various Alabama license plates.
The vehicle owner has 20 calendar days from the date of vehicle purchase or acquisition to register the vehicle without penalty or interest charges applying. If the 20th day falls on a Sunday, a legal holiday, or a day on which the licensing official’s office is closed, the next succeeding working day shall be counted as the last day.