DC DMV Confusion
September 16, 2008 2:02 PM   Subscribe

When I switch my car registration from MD to DC, do I also have to get a new title? And can I get my driver's license and new registration at the same time?

I feel like these are silly and easily answered questions, yet I can't seem to find the answer (or I'm a really bad google-searcher). After 4 yrs living in the District, I finally live in a neighborhood with relatively easy street parking and decided it's prob cheaper to switch over to DC registration than pay $200ish a month for parking, but the instructions on how to do this confuse me (it's so much easier when you buy a new car and they take care of it for you). I'm going to get my car inspected Thursday morning, then am going straight to the Georgetown DMV. A couple questions:
- Will they let me get my driver's license at the same time as my registration or will I have to wait in line twice?
- Will I have to transfer my vehicle title over from Maryland to DC?
- Will I have to pay the excise tax?
- Will I want to hang myself after having waited in line for 3 hours?

(you don't have to answer that last one).

Thanks mefites, sorry for the ignorance.
posted by echo0720 to Law & Government (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I know you'll have to pay tax again.
posted by elle.jeezy at 2:24 PM on September 16, 2008

Yes, you can get your driver's license at the same time as your registration. It's a long wait (I've heard it's much shorter at the Brentwood DMV branch in NE, so that might be an option if you already have a car), but at least the main branch on C Street has ample seating. Bring a book.

I think you don't have to pay excise tax on your car if you bought it while you were an actual resident of another state and you registered your car there. Point 10 here (pdf) seems to confirm that; the excise tax is meant to let the District get a cut of the sales tax they're missing out on when a D.C. resident goes to Virginia or Maryland and buys a car, not to charge people who move in from out-of-state with a car.

One note of caution: if you have anyone else on your title (like a spouse or parent), you won't be allowed to register your car in D.C. without a notarized letter (or something to that effect, I don't quite remember the details) acknowledging that you're registering a co-owned car in a different state. I wasn't expecting that, and it meant a 2nd trip back to the DMV a few weeks later. Grr.
posted by iminurmefi at 2:38 PM on September 16, 2008

Don't forget to pay a the extra $15 or whatever it is to have the zone # on your registration so you can enjoy street parking privileges. You will need to bring substantiating documentation that you live where you claim (I think the website describes acceptable documents).

The one time I went to the Georgetown branch I found the wait to be the same as the main branch. There is a DMV branch on the east side of the Anacostia that is underused and has short waits.
posted by exogenous at 2:44 PM on September 16, 2008

Thank you! I live and work close to the Georgetown branch, so despite a potential longer wait, that's definitely the most convenient. The Residential Parking Permit thing confuses me, too. I live on a block without residential permit requirements, yet every other block around me has one. I saw my block on a list that says I could get a permit, yet when I called to ask, they said I couldn't. I'm taking the print out of the list with me to the DMV, bu t we'll see if they let me get one (cross your fingers).

Do I get a title at the same time as my registration or do I keep the Maryland title?
posted by echo0720 at 3:04 PM on September 16, 2008

The thing you should be preparing for next is getting the car inspected in DC. They are extremely picky and the process really, really sucks.
posted by meta_eli at 9:05 PM on September 16, 2008

Oh, and I went first thing Saturday morning to the one in Georgetown and only waited maybe half an hour.
posted by meta_eli at 9:06 PM on September 16, 2008

from this page DC auto registration and titling

"Vehicles must have a DC title and current DC insurance in order to register."

So yes, you'll have to get the title transferred. They will mail you the new title, they won't hand you a paper that day. I would photocopy the old title before you hand it over to them.

You should also call your insurance company and tell them you are registering the car in DC and want them to switch you over. If it's like my experience in other states, the insurance company needs to send you (they may be able to email or fax) you a document that gives proof of insurance in DC. (The company should know the rules, call them and ask) You'll need to take the proof of insurance with you to the DMV.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:08 PM on September 16, 2008

@iminurmefi: The C St location is now closed, the main office is now in SW. exogenous is talking about the Penn Branch location, which I always found to be the fastest.

And yes, you'll need to change your title, as well as change your insurance. but you'll want to change your license first of all, and point your car insurance to DC address and DC insurance minimums. (which i believe are higher)

I believe that if you live on a street without RPP, you can't get a RPP - which makes no sense, to be honest - since everyone with an out of state plate will park on your street.

3 hours? I found that I spent less than that, but had to go from 1 to 3 times (i've moved back and forth from DC a number of times)
posted by waylaid at 9:06 AM on September 17, 2008

« Older David J Filter   |   Help me smoke the smokers. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.