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Vehicle Registration

All vehicles operated on public roads must be registered and tagged within 30 days after you move to Georgia or within 30 days after you purchase the vehicle. For all vehicles except certain heavy trailers, registration is done annually.

A metal license plate is issued for each vehicle when it is first registered, and all plates are generally replaced every five years. In renewal years, as opposed to tag replacement years, an adhesive decal is issued to renew the registration. The month of expiration is in the lower left corner. The year of expiration decal is placed in the lower right hand corner of the tag, on top of any decal that is being replaced. A single decal that displays the month and year is now being issued. Place the single decal in the lower right hand corner of the tag, on top of any year of expiration decal that is being replaced.

Keep Your Tag

In Georgia, your tag belongs to you, not the car. If you trade the car in or sell it, remove your tag so you will be able to transfer the tag to a subsequently-acquired vehicle (of the same tax class.) The tag transfer fee is $5 if the expiration decal year does not change.

Registering a Leased Vehicle

The title to a leased vehicle is issued in the name of the bank or leasing company. If you lease a vehicle, your name will be on the registration. You will need to bring your lease agreement with you when you register a leased vehicle.

Deadline for renewing the registration on a leased vehicle is based on the birthday of the lessee, if the lessee is a person (rather than a business). When the lessee is a business (rather than a person), the business often wants to show the name of the designated driver on the registration. This makes the registration a little confusing because it will show the lessee company followed by the driver's name. The lease agreement specifies who is liable for the lease. It will be the lessee business, not the designated driver, in almost all cases. The first letter of the lessee business name, as shown on the registration, establishes the deadline for renewal.

Detailed Registration Requirements

The following links will provide detailed information about requirements for registering your vehicle under different situations.

Vehicle Registered in Another State

State law requires that newcomers register their vehicles and obtain a Georgia driver's license within 30 days after moving to the state. Georgia liability insurance is also required.

All vehicles entering Georgia, model years 1986 and newer, are required to transfer title to Georgia in order to register and purchase a Georgia license plate. You must apply for a Georgia title before you can register and tag the vehicle. All persons applying for the title must be present to sign the application or provide notarized power of attorney.

If your vehicle is model year 1985 or older, a bill of sale made out to you with a complete description of the vehicle, will be accepted in lieu of a title. If using a bill of sale please include the vehicle identification number, date of sale, year, make, model and seller's signature.

You must register your vehicle in person the first time. Bring your bill of sale or title. If your title is held by your lender, bring the last registration for your vehicle as well as the complete mailing address including zip code for your lender. Leased vehicles must have street address for the leasing company (in addition to any P.O. Box) and a copy of the lease agreement along with a notarized power of attorney from the leasing company. The following things will also be needed when you come to the tag office:

  • Odometer reading
  • Proof of insurance in Georgia
  • Proof of your Habersham County address. Please bring a Georgia Driver's license with your address, a piece of mail with a current Habersham address or a copy of your residency lease or purchase agreement. If you are moving to Georgia from one of the following states you must have in your possession the original title even if you have a lienholder. Those states are: Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Certificates of title from these states with a lien shown on the front of the title that is no longer in effect need a lien release with a full description of the vehicle as well as the vehicle identification number. Documents must be originals; no fax or photocopies accepted.

Vehicle Registered in Another Georgia County

You will need the following items to register your vehicle in Habersham County:

  • With few exceptions, you will need a valid Georgia Driver's License
  • Current tag receipt (Owner's Certificate of Registration)
  • Proof of current Habersham County address such as a Georgia's drivers license with your address, a piece of mail with a current Habersham address, or a copy of your residency lease or purchase agreement
  • Proof of insurance in Georgia

You cannot sign registration and title forms for anyone else except with an original notarized power of attorney. A power of attorney form is available at the tag office.

Transfer of Ownership of A Vehicle

If you purchased your vehicle from a dealer, you need to speak to the dealership to determine what part, if any, of the titling and registration is being done for you. Typically, dealers submit the title application and leave vehicle registration up to the buyer. Title applications can be done prior to or at the same time as registration.

To transfer ownership, you will need the following things:

  • With few exceptions, you will need a valid Georgia Driver's License
  • Proof of ownership. For model years 1986 and newer the title provides proof of ownership. If the dealership applied for the title for you, they will give you a validated receipt showing the title fee has been paid. If a title has not been applied for, bring the Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO) or properly assigned certificate of title. If you purchased from an individual, you will need the Certificate of Title properly assigned showing a complete and correct chain of ownership. Note that if you purchase from an individual who still has a loan for the vehicle he must pay the loan off in order to provide you with a clear title before you can apply for a title in your name. PHOTOCOPIES OR FAXES ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE and any lien or security interest shown on the MSO, title, or other supporting document must be shown on the title application or properly released.

    For model years 1985 and older or vehicles such as homemade, boat or utility trailers weighing less than 2,000 pounds, for which a title is not required, a Bill of Sale is used to transfer ownership and is proof of ownership. Travel trailer or campers model year 1986 or newer are titled

  • If the vehicle is previously owned, bring a copy of the registration, also called the tag receipt
  • Proof of insurance in Georgia

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