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Are you new to Arizona? Do you need to transfer your car?

If you just moved to Arizona and need to register a vehicle that was registered in another state, you must register it as soon as you become an Arizona resident. To do this, you will need a few things depending on the year of the vehicle.

Emissions Test

Before you register, your vehicle may need an emissions test. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for the emission testing program and laws. All residents of the greater Phoenix and Tucson areas and those who regularly commute into the areas for work or school are required to have their 1967 or newer vehicles pass an emissions test. However, vehicles newer than 6 years old are exempt from testing and DO NOT require emissions.

The Motor Vehicle Division exempts most vehicles registered outside the vehicle emissions control area based on the residence zip code.

Vehicle Insurance

Arizona requires that every motor vehicle operated on roads in the state be covered by liability insurance through a company that is authorized to do business in Arizona. This includes golf carts, motorcycles and mopeds.

Minimum levels of financial responsibility are:

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability for one person and $30,000 for two or more persons

  • $10,000 property damage liability

Insurance companies notify MVD of all policy cancellations, non-renewals and new policies. If your insurance company sends a notice that your policy is no longer active, MVD will send you an inquiry notice to verify insurance status. Failure to maintain proper insurance could lead to the suspension of your vehicle registration and/or driver license.

Proof of Ownership

Your out-of-state title and registration must be surrendered at the time of application for Arizona title and registration. When a loan has been recorded against the vehicle and the title is being held by a lender in another state, the registration is still needed, although the title may not be required.

All liens on your existing title will be recorded on the new Arizona title unless you provide an original lien clearance from the lender (or a letter on the lender’s letterhead) that contains the vehicle identification number (VIN), year, make and body style of the vehicle, the original loan amount, the date of the contract, and the lender’s complete name and mailing address.


All applicants listed on the application for Arizona title must sign the application. An original, notarized power of attorney is acceptable to allow an appointed person to sign on behalf of one or more of the owners.

Ninety Day Registration

An Arizona resident who does not have complete documentation for issuance of a title or registration may apply for a 90-day registration. This registration allows you to operate the vehicle while obtaining additional documentation. It may be purchased at any MVD or Authorized Third Party provider. The fee is $15. When complete documentation is submitted, vehicle license taxes will be calculated, for the full year, back to the date of issuance of the 90-day registration.

Plates/Special Plates

Out-of-state license plates must be surrendered when you obtain Arizona plates. Special plates are available for most vehicles.

Fees and Taxes

In addition to other fees, vehicle owners in Arizona pay a Vehicle License Tax (VLT), assessed in place of a personal property tax charged by some other states. The VLT is distributed to the State Highway User Revenue Fund, State Highway Fund, State General Fund (for school financial assistance), County General Fund, to the counties for the same use as the State Highway User Revenue Fund and to the incorporated cities and towns for transportation, maintenance and improvements.

The VLT is based on an assessed value of 60% of the manufacturer's base retail price reduced by 16.25% for each year since the vehicle was first registered (15% before 8/1/98). Then, as of the Dec 1, 2000 reduction, the rate is calculated as $2.80 (new vehicles)/$2.89 (used vehicles) for each $100 of the assessed value.

For example, for a new vehicle that costs $25,000, and is registered for two years, the first year assessed value would be $15,000 and the VLT would be $420.00. The second year the assessed value would be $12,562.50 and the VLT would be $363.06. Other fees may apply when a vehicle is registered commercially.

A vehicle eligible for 2-Year or 5-year registration will only be assessed a one year registration fee and a one year air quality compliance fee that covers the entire registration period.

Note: Fees may vary based upon exemption qualifications

Vehicle registration fees include a $4.50, $8.00, or $9.00 registration fee (depending on the type of vehicle)

An air quality fee of $1.50

An air quality compliance fee of .25 (depending on the location the vehicle is being operated in)

A vehicle license tax (VLT) assessed in place of a personal property tax charged by other states.

Plate and Fee to Owner

Arizona law provides that a license plate is assigned to the vehicle owner, not the vehicle.

  • Keep the plate with the owner when the vehicle is sold.

  • Get credit for remaining fees.

  • Transfer the plate and fees to another vehicle (with an expired registration).

  • Credit reduces each month not used.

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