How to Register a Vehicle in Pennsylvania

how to register a vehicle in pennsylvania

Whether you’ve just moved to Pennsylvania or you currently live in Pennsylvania and are simply adding a vehicle to your fleet, you’re going to have to register it with the state. In this short guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to register a vehicle in Pennsylvania.

What is the Process of Registering a Vehicle in Pennsylvania?

Just like in most states, if you get pulled over in Pennsylvania you’ll need to show your driver’s license, insurance, and registration. Why? Because these are the documents that prove you can:

  • Legally drive in the US
  • You’re insured (as required) if anything happens
  • That you’re the legal owner of the vehicle
Essentially, your vehicle registration shows proof of ownership. It’s also a way for states ensure that you’ve paid your taxes and fees associated with your vehicle registration.
Law office with men signing paperwork and gavel

Of course, Pennsylvania has its own set of rules surrounding vehicle registration. For example, you have up to 60 days to obtain a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license and up to 20 days after establishing your residency to obtain the vehicle registration.

What Documentation Will I Need?

red car with pen and men shaking hands behind paperwork

The vehicle registration process in Pennsylvania is pretty straightforward. You’ll need to make sure to have the proper documentation on hand, which will differ based on the scenario.

If you’re registering a new vehicle in PA, you’ll need:

If you’re buying a used car, you’ll need:

If you are registering a vehicle that you already own, but was previously registered in another state, you’ll need:

building with pennsylvania etched in it

What Fees Are Associated with Registering a Vehicle in PA?

money and calculator with notepad

Aside from the state sales tax fee (if you’re buying a new or used car in the state), there are also certain title registration fees you’ll have to pay in Pennsylvania. 

Also referred to as DMV fees, what you’ll be expected to pay to register your vehicle depends on what type of vehicle it is:

  • Passenger vehicles: $39
  • Motorcycles: $21
  • Trucks: Fees are based on weight
  • Annual county fees

As a Pennsylvania resident, you’ll also be expected to pay the following title fees:

  • Standard vehicle title: $58
  • Vehicle title with a lien attached: $86

If you buy a vehicle from a dealer, the sales tax is usually added into your total costs. However,
if you’re buying a used car from a private seller, the sales tax must be paid directly to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the time of title transfer and registration.

The car sales tax fees are as follows:

  • 8% for residents living in the City of Philadelphia
  • 7% for residents living in Allegheny County
  • 6% for residents living elsewhere in the state

It should also be noted that PennDOT agents will charge a transaction fee and some counties charge an annual $5 fee per vehicle registered for one address.

sales tax paperwork

Vehicle Registration in PA FAQs

Can I register my vehicle online in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania residents must register their vehicles in person at a PennDOT office or registered Tag Agent. However, registration renewals may be completed online. 

Can I register my vehicle without a title in Pennsylvania?

In the state of Pennsylvania, you are required to have a vehicle title for registration. If you cannot locate your vehicle title, you must apply for a duplicate as proof of ownership.

Do I have to get my car inspected before registering it in Pennsylvania?

All newly registered vehicles in Pennsylvania are required to have a safety inspection within 10 days of the registration date.

Looking to buy or sell a used car? Look no further than Motobyo! Get in touch today to find out exactly how our online marketplace works!