Motor vehicle registration is the registration of a motor vehicle with a government authority, either compulsory or otherwise. The purpose of motor vehicle registration is to establish a link between a vehicle and an owner or user of the vehicle. This link might be used for taxation or crime detection purposes. While almost all motor vehicles are uniquely identified by a vehicle identification number, only registered vehicles display a vehicle registration plate and carry a vehicle registration certificate. Motor vehicle registration is different from motor vehicle licensing and roadworthiness certification.
Motor vehicles may also be registered with property owners or managers to gain benefits. For example, organisations with parking facilities may require registration of a vehicle with them to allow authorised users to park there.
In Australia, all motor vehicles are required to be registered before being driven on public roads. Registration can be with one of the registration authorities set up by each state or territory. These authorities also issue registration plates (commonly known as number plates), which are affixed to the vehicle when it is first registered, and registration certificates for the vehicle. Registration must be renewed annually, with the payment of a fee. A compulsory third party insurance policy is required to renew the vehicle, as well as inspections for older or commercial vehicles. Increasingly, many registration functions can be performed online. Some vehicles are registered with the federal government, e.g. military vehicles or through the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) via state or territory agencies.
Registration certificates record the registered owner of a vehicle, as well as the vehicle model, make, year, shape, VIN Chasis number and engine number, weights, engine capacity and number of passengers. Most states and territories no longer issue registration stickers for the vehicle, and registration details are available electronically by police in most states. or online by individuals
Vehicles can be registered to companies or individuals. The registration certificate often also acts as proof of ownership, though technically this is not the case. Ownership is governed by common law. Ownership of the vehicle (if a secured financial asset) may be checked through the Personal Property Securities Register of the federal government, though this is not a mandatory register. Often some proof of entitlement by the state or territory agency, this document can be used as a secondary identity document of the operator. Along with the certificate, the agency also issues vehicle registration number plates.
Generally, privately built cars registered in any of the European Union country must demonstrate compliance with a range of National regulations and EU directives, including, for example, that they have adequate seat-belt arrangement and a calculation of frontal/side impact resistance likely to protect passengers and pedestrians in certain types of accidents. Kit cars supplied as bare chassis without bodywork and with unguarded wheels do not meet EU safety criteria for registration.
Vehicle registration for England, Scotland and Wales is the responsibility of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
Registration of new vehicles
The United Kingdom operates a four-track type approval system that can lead to a Certificate of Conformity (CoC). The first two tracks are regular schemes for production vehicles that can be registered anywhere in the EC; the other schemes, known as National Small Series Type Approval (which consists of the SVA/ESVA) and the Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA), are intended for vehicles that are to be registered in the UK.
- European Community Whole Vehicle Approval (ECWVA) is a single EC-wide Certificate of Conformity for volume manufacturers producing any number of similar vehicle types or products each year, who can then sell their wares via authorized agents in any EC country without further testing. The ECWVTA is integrated with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe agreement of 1998 concerning the establishing of global technical regulations for wheeled vehicles, equipment and parts which can be fitted and/or be used on wheeled vehicles in diverse non-EC countries including, for instance, Russia and South Africa.
- European Union Small Series Type Approval (ECSSTA) is for manufacturers selling up to 1,000 passenger cars each year of any one type. Although ECSSTA allows sales anywhere in the EU, there may be some technical and administrative requirements in some countries to ensure to ongoing adherence to the certificate of compliance, notably where small and medium enterprises act as sales agents or may offer customization services without the clear and verifiable imposition of international training and quality control standards.
- Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) is for small vehicles such as ambulances and hearses which are often highly customized production automobiles and for vehicles manufactured to unrecognized standards which are imported to Britain from outside the EC.
- Enhanced Single Vehicle Approval (ESVA) is for small batches of special vehicles.
- Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) is for kit cars and home-built vehicles.
Of necessity—since EC registered vehicles may circulate freely in any EC country—these are broadly similar to registration requirements and procedures in other EC countries, although some authorities may be reluctant to admit prototypes or low-volume vehicles without very stringent testing.
Registration of motorised road vehicles in India is done by local Regional Transport Offices of the states. Commercial vehicles registered in one state cannot enter another state without a permit, which usually incurs a significant cost. Passenger vehicles registered in one state are allowed to pass through another state, but are not allowed to stay in another state for longer than a fixed number of months unless the road-tax being paid depending on Transport Rules of the States.
A latest move by the Government of India may centralise the registration procedure in order to curb the corruption which prevails with all the regional transport offices. This is expected to make the registration of a vehicle valid in all states, unlike now, when many vehicle owners need to have separate registration certificates for each separate state, which is very hectic now.
Vehicle registration in the United States is managed by each state's department of motor vehicles (DMV), which goes by different names such as the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) in Indiana and Ohio, the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) in Maryland, the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) in Arizona, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) in Massachusetts, etc. In some states another agency manages the same or similar functions such as the Secretary of State in Michigan or the Tennessee Department of Safety.
Passenger and commercial vehicles must be registered as a condition of use on a public road. Vehicles not used on public roads, such as tractors or vehicles whose use is limited to private property, are not always required to be registered.
Vehicle registration laws vary from state-to-state.
There are different types of vehicle registration including: Antique, Combo, Apportioned, Commercial, and SUB.
Registration is handled by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It is the responsibility of the automobile dealerships to register new and used vehicles sold by their dealership. Dealerships employ registration specialists to accumulate and complete the paperwork necessary to title and register the vehicle. Although many dealerships are run, technologically, by large Dealership Management System's (DMS), the vast majority of work performed at the registration desk is manual. Registration clerks, up until 2006, had to track each deal using paper calendars and logbooks, a relatively inefficient process that resulted in millions of dollars in DMV fines and penalties incurred by dealerships. Technology was introduced with the introduction of the Business Partner Automation program (BPA), which allowed participating dealerships to file registrations electronically.
The vast majority of vehicles registered in California are via third party transactions, where the vehicle is sold from one entity to another, without the use of a dealership. The registration of vehicles sold in this manner is done through local DMV branches or through the use of independent "Registration Service Providers". Anyone who has applied for or received a vehicle registration must notify DMV of a new residence within 10 days or face a typical fine of $178.
- Road and road transport authorities
- "Text of the 1998 Agreement". Retrieved 16 September 2015.
- "The Individual Vehicle Approval Scheme - A guide to the approval of light passenger & light goods vehicles buses & coaches, large goods vehicles & trailers v7.3" (PDF). January 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
- California Vehicle Code § 4159
- Sacramento County Grand Jury 2009-2010 Final Report, pg. 173