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Tennessee Vehicle Registration

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Tennessee Vehicle Registration Summary

Read our Tennessee Vehicle Registration page to learn about how to register a vehicle with the Tennessee Department of Revenue (DOR), applying for car registration as a new resident, TN registration renewals, vehicle inspections, duplicate registration, address changes, Tennessee car insurance requirements, and military member registration.

Registering a Vehicle in Tennessee

You must register your vehicle in person at your local Tennessee county clerk’s office.

In Tennessee, drivers will process both registration and titling applications at the same time.

What to bring to the Tennessee DOR:

  • Proof of vehicle ownership (e.g., vehicle title).
  • A valid driver’s license or ID and proof of residency.
  • An odometer disclosure statement.
  • Proof of emissions inspection, if applicable.
  • Acceptable form of payment for TN car registration fees and taxes.

Continue reading below for more specific details about how to register a vehicle in Tennessee.

Registering Vehicles Purchased from a Dealership

When you purchase either a new or used vehicle from a licensed Tennessee car dealer, the dealer may submit the title paperwork for you to the TN county clerk’s office for processing. If the dealer does not offer this service, you must register and title your vehicle on your own.

Visit your local TN county clerk’s office and present the following:

  • Proof of identification (e.g., a valid TN driver’s license).
  • The Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO).
  • A Bill of Sale.
  • Proof of residency (e.g., lease agreement, utility bill, bank statement, etc.).
  • A copy of your current vehicle registration (if you are transferring your license plate).
    • In order to transfer your current license plate to your new vehicle, your new vehicle must be in the same class as your old vehicle.
  • Payment for TN car registration fees and taxes.

Vehicles Purchased from a Private Party

The Tennessee DOR requires you to apply for a title and vehicle registration within 30 days of your vehicle purchase.

Notably, the Tennessee DOR does not require you to provide proof of insurance when you register your vehicle. However, you must carry car insurance to operate a vehicle in Tennessee.

To register your vehicle in Tennessee, please visit your local TN county clerk’s office and present:

  • Proof of identification (e.g., a valid TN driver’s license).
  • A completed Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form RV-F1317001), if applicable.
  • A copy of the Bill of Sale.
  • Proof of residency (e.g., lease agreement, utility bill, bank statement, etc.).
  • A properly assigned Tennessee title.
  • Payment for TN title and registration fees, and the applicable sales tax.

Tennessee Temporary Operation Permits

If you recently purchased a new vehicle but cannot obtain a new registration for the vehicle, you can apply online for a Temporary Operation Permit. It allows you to legally operate an unregistered vehicle for 30 days.

To apply for a TN trip permit, you must provide:

  • Proof you are taking action to clear the title or registration.
  • A copy of a dealer’s invoice.
  • A notarized bill of sale OR assigned title from previous owner.
  • Proof of residency if you are a non-resident transporting the vehicle out of Tennessee.
  • A completed Temporary Operation Permit (Form RV-F1314401).
  • Payment for the $10 TOP permit fee.

TN Vehicle Registration for New Residents

New to Tennessee?

Before you register a vehicle in Tennessee, you must have a passing vehicle emissions test if your county requires one.

To register your vehicle, visit your local TN county clerk’s office and present:

  • A valid TN driver’s license or ID.
  • Proof of Tennessee residency (e.g., lease agreement, utility bill, bank statement, etc.).
  • Proof of ownership (e.g., your vehicle title).
    • If there is a lien on your vehicle, you must provide the complete name and mailing
      address of the lien holder.
  • Your current out-of-state registration.
  • A passing vehicle safety and emissions inspection, if applicable.
  • Payment for TN car registration, fees, and taxes.

TN Registration for Military Drivers

Registration for Non-Residents

The Tennessee DOR does NOT require service members stationed in Tennessee (but reside out of state) to register their vehicles in Tennessee. However, military drivers must maintain current registration and car insurance in their home state.

If you choose to register your vehicle in Tennessee, please visit the nearest TN county clerk’s office and follow the same process for new resident vehicle registrations.

Read more about Vehicle Registration for New Residents.

TN Military Residents

Active duty Tennessee military residents must follow the steps outlined in our Registering a Vehicle in Tennessee section.

Tennessee military residents stationed out-of-state can register their vehicle by submitting their documents by mail to any TN county clerk’s office. The requirements differ slightly depending on whether you register a new vehicle or a used vehicle.

To register a new vehicle, gather the following documents to send to a TN county clerk’s office:

  • Manufacturer’s statement of origin, properly assigned on the reverse side including the odometer disclosure statement.
  • An itemized Bill of Sale.
  • A lien holder agreement, if applicable.
  • A copy of your current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES).
  • A copy of current stationing orders indicating you are living out of state.
  • Current mailing address and telephone number.
  • Payment for TN car registration, fees, and taxes.
    • Contact the county clerk’s office to find out the exact fees and taxes. Fees vary from county to county.
  • To register a used vehicle, gather the following documents to send to a TN county clerk’s office:

  • Previous owner’s title properly assigned on reverse side, including the odometer disclosure statement.
    • If the title doesn’t have space for the odometer disclosure, you must complete a
      separate Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form RV-F1317001).
    • You will need a Title Extension Form (if the back of title is full and the vehicle was bought from a dealer).
  • A copy of your current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES).
  • A copy of current stationing orders indicating you are out of state.
  • Current mailing address and telephone number.
  • Payment for TN car registration, fees, and taxes.

Renewing Your Registration in Tennessee

Before renewing your car registration, you must bring your vehicle to an official inspection station to complete an emissions test. Contact the TN DOR to see if your county requires annual emissions testing.

In Tennessee, you can renew your vehicle registration in person at your local TN DOR county clerk’s office, by mail, or online. Some counties also allow registration renewal at a self service kiosk.

The Tennessee DOR sends out renewal notices as a courtesy, approximately 6 weeks before your plate expiration. If you do not receive it, Tennessee still requires you to renew your registration by your vehicle’s expiration date.

Notably, you may renew up to 90 days before your expiration date.

To learn more about renewing your Tennessee vehicle registration, see Tennessee Renewals.

Replace a Lost or Damaged Registration

If your TN registration card is lost, stolen, or damaged, you may apply for a duplicate by mail, or in person at your nearest TN county clerk’s office.

Registration Replacements By Mail or In Person

To replace your Tennessee registration card in person, you’ll need to visit your local TN county clerk’s office and bring the following:

  • Your vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Your license plate number.
  • Payment for the $3 replacement fee. (If you require a certified copy, the fee is $3.50).

To replace your registration by mail, simply mail your payment with the above details to any county clerk’s office.

Changes to Your Tennessee Car Registration

In Tennessee, you can update your name and address on your vehicle registration.

Name Changes

The Tennessee DOR allows you to make changes to your name on your Tennessee vehicle
registration in person at your local county clerk’s office.

However, you must first file your new name with the Social Security office.

Once complete,visit your local county clerk’s office. and bring your:

  • Tennessee driver license.
  • Original vehicle title.
  • Completed Multi Purpose Application (Form RV-F1315201).
  • Legal documents supporting your name change, such as a:
    • Marriage license if the name change is due to marriage.
    • Divorce decree.
    • Court-ordered name change document.
  • Payment for the duplicate title and registration fee.

Address Changes on Tennessee Vehicle Registration

To change your address with the Tennessee DOR, contact the county clerk’s office in your county of residence.

You have 10 days from the time of your move to change your address with the TN DOR.

Vehicle Registration Fees in TN

The Tennessee DOR has standard vehicle registration fees. In addition to those fees, you must also pay your local county fees.

TN Vehicle Registration Fees

Below you will find some of the current Tennessee registration fees:

  • Passenger vehicles: $26.50
  • Electric vehicles: $100 (in addition to the basic registration fee)
  • Duplicate title fee: $11
  • Title fee: $95 (includes plate fee).
  • Lien fee: $11
  • Replacement registration card fee: $3 or $3.50 for certified copies.
  • Plate transfer fee: $14.50
  • Temporary Operating Permit: $10
  • Vehicle sales use/tax: 7% of vehicle sales price. (Local sales tax also applies).

For a list of basic registration fees in Tennessee, you may visit the TN DOR website.

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Last Verified:
Sep 9, 2022