Help me navigate the Washington DC DMV
January 3, 2017 8:59 AM   Subscribe

I have several options for car registration in DC and none of them seem to work. Please help me navigate this process!

I am starting a job in Washington DC on January 9th. Until my wife can join me, I am subletting a studio in Glover Park. I will be staying there during the week and driving back to my current home in North Carolina to spend weekends with my wife. My sublet does not have off-street parking, so it looks like I need to register a car and get DC parking permits to avoid massive fines. I was hoping to do this on Thursday, January 5th, and Friday, January 6th - two days I set aside for bureaucratic paperwork.

My wife and I have two cars. Car One has a lienholder, and both our names are on the title. Car Two is owned by my wife outright. Only her name is on the title.

To register Car One, I need the lienholder to send the title to the DC DMV. I put in a request for this in mid-December, as soon as I heard that I got the job. However, the lienholder stated that it may take up to 60 days to send the title, and according to this website, the DMV has not received it yet. So I don't have a way to register Car One currently.

To register Car Two, according to this site, it seems that either my name would need to be on the title, or my wife would have to have a valid DC driver's license. Neither of these things are true. So I have no way to register Car Two. Getting my name on this title would seem to be a laborious process that could not be completed in the next couple of days.

So, a few questions:
1) What happens when I park my car in the city with out of state plates? It looks like I have 30 days to register the car, and hopefully the DMV will receive the title for Car One within that timeframe. In the meantime I just let notices pile up on my illegally parked car?
2) Where do I park my car until I get DC plates?
3) Is there any way to get a temporary registration for Car One until the lienholder actually sends the title to the DMV?
4) Is there an easy way to register Car Two without adding me to the title? My wife will not be able to go up to DC in person to do this, so it would have to be through me.
5) Am I eligible for a Temporary District Resident pass as described here? It looks like I am. It does not look like I am eligible to be a Part-Time District Resident because I don't own property in the city.
posted by kingoftonga86 to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (5 answers total)
Best answer: Best solution: Your wife should come down and register Car Two in person if possible. You can also go to the police station when you get here and get a temporary permit by showing your lease, I think it is good for 2 weeks?

I don't know much about the temporary resident pass, other than that it is expensive. Seems simpler to pay for garage parking for a month or two while you wait for the lienholder to send the title (if cost looks prohibitive in your neighborhood you might look at garage parking near a Kiss-and-Ride).

Other thoughts: Longshot, but see if the sublettor or any friends in DC could lend you a Visitor's Parking Pass. You could use that for up to 1 month, but don't park the car at a non-metered spot otherwise. You can only park it for 2 hours a day within a ZONE (so moving it every 2 hours within a zone will still result in tickets). And after 30 days, you'll get tickets every time they see the vehicle even if it is otherwise parked legally.
posted by veery at 10:14 AM on January 3, 2017

For parking, it's about the parking permit rather than the plates. For Glover Park (w00t! I lived there for 5 years and loved it) I believe that's parking zone 3.

Your question might be complicated by the fact that you don't have a permanent address yet. Will you keep living in the studio once your wife joins you?
posted by orrnyereg at 10:15 AM on January 3, 2017

Response by poster: I don't intend for my place in Glover Park to be my permanent residence once my wife joins me; it's not big enough for more than one person. However, I do have a lease for the sublet with my name and the address on it.
posted by kingoftonga86 at 10:26 AM on January 3, 2017

If Glover Park is not your residence, then you would not register your car there. What you need is a ROSA (Registration of Out-of-State Automobile) permit. Which you apply for online here.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:28 AM on January 3, 2017

Response by poster: So after all that I checked this morning and the DMV has received the vehicle title, 24 hours before I go to register it. Crisis averted!

For any future visitors to this question, I did the math and it would be cheapest to rent a monthly garage spot if I think it will be less than 60 days until I can get my documentation together; it would be cheapest to get a temporary resident pass if it would be more than 60 days until I could get the documentation.
posted by kingoftonga86 at 6:32 AM on January 4, 2017

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