All vehicles and vessels that will be used within the State of Washington must be licensed. If you purchased your car, truck, boat, camper, or other vehicle or vessel from a dealer, the dealer may have already taken care of the licensing for you. Ask your dealer if this is so.
If the dealer did not do the licensing for you, or if you purchased your vehicle from a private party, you will need to license the vehicle yourself.
Washington-titled vehicles must be registered within fifteen (15) days after purchase to avoid penalty fees. A $50 penalty is charged on the 16th day with an additional $2.00 charge each day thereafter until a maximum amount of $125 penalty is reached (RCW 46.17.140).
You can register your vehicle by going to the main Auto Licensing center in downtown Vancouver, or better yet, you can license your vehicle at any of the county's 9 vehicle licensing agencies. See Listing of Locations for addresses and hours of operation.
Some items you will need
When you go to either the main office or to any of the agencies:
- The Washington title - properly released
- Current registration
- Notarized signatures
- Documentation of the purchase price
- Federal odometer statement on vehicles less than 10 years old
- Emission test may be required
- Unexpired Washington state driver's license as required by RCW 46.16A.050 unless exempt under RCW 46.20.025
- Cash, check or money order, debit or credit card (except VISA credit cards) (There is a convenience fee for debit and credit cards).
What about special or personalized license
You can get information about special or personalized license plates from the Washington State Department of Licensing, including the ability to find out whether a certain personalized license plate may be available.