Buying a car in state 1, registering in new state 2
November 16, 2021 6:21 PM   Subscribe

For reasons, I'm thinking of trying to buy a car in my current state (NY) before I move to my new one (DC) in the next 30 days. I'd like to go through the process of only registering it once. Can I do that?

I only have a NY ID. I do have a DC address, but no ID. I would only do this if I only had to pay tax once. Is this doable?
posted by sandmanwv to Shopping (4 answers total)
It looks like based on looking at the dmv websites for registering a new vehicle, you have 180 days to do so in NY NYC DMV and 60 days to do so in DC DC DMV. Of course it will need to be insured the entire time. In DC you will need to have gotten your licence converted to a DC licence before they will register your vehicle. Either way it looks like you will be within the allowable timeframe to register your vehicle. I would absolutely call to confirm because fines are expensive.
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:09 PM on November 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

When my daughter moved to California, she was able to get appointments for both her new driver's license and then car registration at the same time. It did take an on-line chat to get it scheduled but it was easy to do on the day. Check what documentation you need to get the driver's license in terms of proof of residency. Once she had the temporary driver's license, there was no problem getting the car registered and she drove off with her new license plates.
posted by metahawk at 10:36 PM on November 16, 2021

I think based on what AlexiaSky is saying, you can do this but you will need to have the car registered in order to get it from NY to DC. So I think your steps look like this:

- buy car in NY, take it home and park it (or leave it where it is as metahawk outlines until it's registered)
- go to DC, get driver's license and register car
- bring registration back to NY, drive car to DC

To the best of my knowledge, as someone who has lived in multiple states and moved a car around between them a lot, you are not legally able to drive a car that is not registered, period. Sometimes people fudge this when they have bought a car in a private sale and drive the car home and then register it but I wouldn't chance it driving all the way to DC. I do not believe you can insure a car that doesn't have a valid registration. If you're buying a car from a dealer in NY, I do not believe you can register it in DC in order to drive it home but they might let you park it there while you got DC plates.
posted by jessamyn at 3:08 PM on November 17, 2021

I bought a car in NY once and registered it in PA. You can get an intrastate in-transit permit.
posted by PSB34me at 8:40 PM on November 20, 2021

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