What You Need to Register Your Car in North Carolina

Moving to another state can be overwhelming. You need to find a place to live, get settled in with your new job, and deal with you car. I moved from TN to NC in May of 2019, but I didn't switch over my registration and license plate until about a year later. (Shhh. Don't tell on me.)

Dealing with paperwork and the DMV stresses me out, and honestly the North Carolina DMV website wasn't much help with the questions I had about registering my car and getting a new plate. I had no idea where to go, what paper work I needed, and how much it would even cost. In TN, I would simply go to the local courthouse. In NC, there seemed to be no straight answers on what I needed to do. So, after making countless calls to DMV offices and searching the website I still wound up with a whopping zero answers. So you don't have to be as confused as I was, I wrote out everything you need to know about registering your car in NC. Let's get started.

What Should You Do Before Getting a License Plate in NC

Before you get a license plate, you will need to:

  • Get state car insurance

  • Get a license (Make sure you go to the DMV, not a license plate agency. They are different!)

Where Do You Go to Register Your Car in NC?

You will go to a License Plate Agency. You will go here to register your car and to get your license plate.

What Should You Bring to Register Your Car in NC?

Here are the things you need to register your car:

  • Proof of Insurance

  • License

  • Vehicle Title

  • Cash or Card (and $5 cash for a "notary fee")

How Much Does it Cost to Register Your Car and Get a License Plate in NC?

To say I was shocked when I received how much it cost would be underplaying it. It cost a little over $400 to get my car registered and a license plate in NC. They charged my about $100 in property taxes and $200 for "HUT" or Highway Usage Tax. The rest was for the registration, plate, and notary fee. Be sure to bring some cash with you for the notary fee! You don't want to have to pay an ATM fee if you can avoid it. (Also, you can avoid the glares and eye rolls from the employees if you have cash on you to start with.)

All in all, I couldn't believe how much it cost. Owning a car in NC is not a very accessible option for everyone, and that makes me sad to think about other people who may not afford it because of the high costs associated with owning a car. For perspective, it only cost $25 to register my car in Tennessee.

How Long is the Wait to get into the License Plate Agency Office?

Allocate 2-3 hours if you are transferring your car information from another state.

Final Thoughts

But there it is. Everything you need to know about getting a license plate and registering your car in the state of North Carolina! I hope this article prepared you to waltz into that license plate agency with confidence.


Hi there!

My name is Melon, and I am oh so glad that you are here! Follow me along on my adventures and random bits of wisdom I learn along the way.

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