Licensing Your Used Vehicle

Licensing your newly acquired used vehicle or vessel

All vehicles and vessels that will be used within Washington State must be licensed. If you purchased your car, truck, boat, camper or other vehicle or vessel from a dealer, the dealer may have already taken care of the licensing for you. Ask your dealer if that is the case.

If the dealer did not do the licensing for you, or if you purchased your vehicle from a private party, you will need to license the vehicle yourself.

Washington title vehicles must be registered within 15 days after purchase to avoid penalty fees. A $25 penalty is charged on the 16th day, with an additional $2 charged each day thereafter until a maximum amount of $100 penalty is reached.

You can register your vehicle by going to the County Auditor's Licensing Division, Courthouse Room 117, Monday through Friday, 9 p.m. - 4 p.m., or you can license your vehicle at the nearest vehicle licensing sub-agencies.

Items You Will Need
  • Washington State title - properly released, or affidavit in lieu of title with proper signatures
  • Current registration
  • Notarized signatures of every registered name to be shown on the title
  • Documentation of the purchase price - bill of sale or invoice from out of state dealer
  • Federal odometer statement on vehicles less than 10 years old
  • Emission test may be required
  • Picture ID
  • Cash, check or money order (credit and debit cards are not accepted)
Special or Personalized License Plates
You can get information about special or personalized license plates from the Washington State Department of Licensing, including the ability to find out whether a certain personalized plate may be available.