If you’ve recently bought an RV or any other motor vehicle, it is best to get them registered as soon as possible. Vehicle registration is a legal obligation and can save you from a lot of legal trouble.
You will have 30 days from the purchasing date to complete the registration process in many states. Moreover, you’ll need a signed title, bill of sale, and appropriate tax documents to begin the registration process.
Titling and registration rules have been created for authenticity, insurance, and road safety. Your vehicle must be in good condition while on the road without significant defects or problems that might cause accidents. These vehicles might not have annual inspections, but they would want to see proper documentation if the police stop you on the road.
While the exact registration requirements can vary from state to state, you must follow some essentials to successfully register your RV with your county office. This article provides you with a comprehensive guide for registering your RV.
Steps to Register an RV
You can purchase an RV from one of three scenarios. You can buy a new one from authorized dealers, buy a used one from authorized dealers, or buy one from unauthorized dealers.
Regardless of this, you must ensure that the dealer gives you proof of ownership because this establishes the buyer as the new legal owner of the vehicle. After getting it, you should contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to know the exact requirements for registration.
In general, you’ll be required to have the vehicle title, proof of ownership, proof of identity, appropriate tax documents, and specific forms that the DMV requires you to fill up.
If you purchase out of state, you’ll have to fill out some forms that exempt you from the sales tax as a non-resident. After the registration, you should have the RV inspected by state-certified inspection centers within ten days.
Registration fees vary widely between states because of the different structures and metrics used to establish the costs.
You can be charged only a flat fee in some states, while others can charge you based on the vehicle’s length and weight. You’re also required to renew your registration annually, and this time frame can also vary.
Registration fees include a title fee, which is a one-time fee that is assessed when the owner changes. Then you have your license plate fees, which vary from state to state, and some states offer optional and more expensive vanity plates.
Moreover, some states can charge extra in the form of an excise tax, personal property tax, privilege tax, or use fee.
The table below gives you an example of the registration cost in the state of Kansas. The cost of registering vehicles that weigh 4,500 lbs or less is $42.25. Then, you are charged based on the month of your registration and the first letter of your last name.
The state of Oregon charges you a flat fee based on the length of your vehicle. The table below lists some examples.
|Length (Feet)||Fees ($)|
|6 to 14||86|
The state of Iowa charges you a registration fee equal to the percent of the value as fixed by the department plus forty cents for every 100 lbs.
The Iowa DMV sets the percentage of value:
- 1% for models aged between 1 to 7 years
- 0.75% for models aged between 8 to 9 years
- 0.50% for models aged between 10 to 11 years
- $50 for models older than 12 years
Montana also charges you based on the age of your RV. If you’re a state resident, you can enjoy an exemption from sales tax.
|RV Age (Years)||Price ($)|
|0 to 2||360|
|2 to 5||264|
|5 to 8||175|
|8 to 11||230|
|Over 11||275 (Permanent License Plate)|
The Other States
The table summarizes what to expect for different states. For more information, contact your state’s DMV.
|State||Rules of Registration|
|Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming||These states allow RVs to be registered in the same way as cars. No special conditions are applied, but there might be some variations in the tax rate.|
|Alabama||An initial inspection is required, which costs around $75. If the vehicle weight exceeds 42,000 pounds, the registration cost will increase.|
|Alaska||Commercial trailers are registered permanently for $25. Non-commercial ones are registered similar to a car|
|Arizona||Cost varies based on the size and weight of the vehicle|
|Delaware||RVs must pass safety and emission checks. The fees are based on the weight of the vehicle.|
|Florida||Same registration process as cars. RVs that weigh less than 2,000 pounds do not need to be registered.|
|Georgia||RVs need to have a safety inspection|
|Idaho||RVs and motorhomes have varying registration fees depending on the weight.|
|Illinois||Fees are charged based on the weight of the RV. Their license plates differ from standard vehicles.|
|Kentucky||Fees depend on the weight of the RV|
|Maine||An excise tax needs to be paid|
|Maryland||Fees depend on the weight of the RV|
|Minnesota||Their RV registration fees are slightly higher|
|Mississippi||If your RV was manufactured after the year 2000, you must title and register it.|
|Nebraska||Registration fees are dependent on its use. Commercial RVs have different rates.|
|New Jersey||If your RV weighs less than 2,500 pounds, you don’t have to register it.|
|New York||RVs need to undergo a special inspection process before registration can take place.|
|North Dakota||RVs and motorhomes have special registration requirements.|
|Pennsylvania||Vehicles must have bed and kitchen facilities to be considered an RV. RVs do not have to be registered for an entire year after purchase.|
|Rhode Island||They have a different registration process from standard vehicles and require filling out a special application form.|
|Utah||RVs are taxed when you’re going to register them.|
|Vermont||Registration rate depends on the fuel type used.|
RVs are an expensive purchase. If you’re purchasing one, be sure to keep in mind that it’ll cost you extra to have it successfully registered. If you’re unable to show proof of registration when you’re asked for it, you may be penalized heavily.
It’s a good idea to register your RV as possible. You usually have 30 days after your purchase in most states, and the registration process can take a week or two. Of course, registering your RV comes with a lot of benefits.
But RV registration can feel like a daunting task. We hope this article has made the process easier for you.