Can I register my car (and renew my license) in New York before I move there?
March 7, 2010 7:43 PM   Subscribe

Can I register my car (and renew my license) in New York before I move there?

I’m moving to New York State in August for graduate school. My car registration expires in April, and my license will expire in June. I’d just renew them normally, but I’m no longer residing in the state where they were issued, and it doesn’t seem worth driving 2,000 miles to get my car inspected.

I’ve looked at the NYS DMV website, and downloaded a few forms. It seems clear that it’s possible to register the car from elsewhere if I’m already a resident, but I can’t quite tell if it’s going to be possible without already having an address in the state, or insurance specific to what the state requires. Help!

If it matters, my current registration and license are from Oregon, and I’m in Illinois now. I can drive to New York to do this in person, if necessary.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (4 answers total)
 
For the driver's license: I'm pretty sure you won't be able to take care of this until you are residing in New York. The way they verify your New York address is by mailing the license to you at that address rather than giving it to you at the DMV. So, I don't think that will work until you are established in the state.

For the car registration: you will need to have NY insurance before the car can be registered, and will need to get the car inspected in-state within something like 10 days of registering it. I don't know if there is an actual residence requirement like there is with the license, though. I've registered a couple of cars from out of state and it is a huge production (LOTS of paperwork) so if you do come to NY just to do the registration, make sure you have all the documentation before you get to the DMV!

Another thing to keep in mind is that insurance rates in NY are among the highest in the country, so you're liable to see a big increase (my husband did when he moved here from IL, although I'm not sure how Oregon compares). You may save some money if you stick with your current registration and insurance as long as you can.
posted by Jemstar at 8:07 PM on March 7, 2010


Jemstar's information about registration is accurate, but I want to dispute the last paragraph:

Another thing to keep in mind is that insurance rates in NY are among the highest in the country, so you're liable to see a big increase (my husband did when he moved here from IL, although I'm not sure how Oregon compares). You may save some money if you stick with your current registration and insurance as long as you can.

If you're moving to NY on a permanent basis, this violates NY law, and will also violate your contract with your insurance carrier. Admittedly, the chances of getting caught are low, but there is the possibility of your insurer refusing to cover you if you're in an accident and they discover this.

As someone who pays the price for a lot of people gaming the system, this is also a sore point with me. It deprives NY city and state of much-needed registration revenue, it distorts the accurate statistics of just how many cars exist in the region, and it distorts the true cost of insurance.

One other note - if you're going to graduate school in Manhattan, or denser parts of the outer boroughs, you may want to think about getting rid of your car entirely. You won't need it, parking and ownership is a massive hassle, and Zipcar will solve whatever immediate short-term car needs you might have.
posted by swngnmonk at 9:09 PM on March 7, 2010


Sorry if this wasn't clear--I didn't mean that the OP should keep his or her home insurance and registration for an extended period after moving to NY--not at all. I meant that they should think twice before switching over in April, four months before they'll even be living here. If they are coming here for grad school, there's a good chance they will have to change everything over in order to establish residency soon anyway. I know that I had to within my first semester at a state school--my program funding would only cover me at the resident tuition rate after the first semester.
posted by Jemstar at 9:22 PM on March 7, 2010


When I moved to NY for grad school, I *think* this is the order I did all my car stuff in (each step required that the previous step be completed, as far as I can remember):

(1) Get a NY address.
(2) Get a NY license (I'm almost positive I needed the address to do this).
(3) Get a NY car insurance policy (I needed the license for this).
(4) Register car. I needed to get two inspections - one for the insurance company, and one for emissions and so forth. This had to be done relatively quickly after getting the insurance policy and the registration, so I think it's best if you're already in the state when you register.

I could be wrong, but this is my memory of the process. Mine was complicated by the fact that the car technically belonged to my parents, so I was dealing with paperwork to transfer ownership to me at the same time. It should be easier if you don't have to do that as well.
posted by pemberkins at 3:59 AM on March 8, 2010


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