In the United States, vehicle registration is the process of applying for a) ownership of a vehicle and b) the right to drive the vehicle on public roads.
Unlike most other countries, in the US, vehicle ownership and the right to drive on public roads are split: a vehicle's title (ownership) and its registration document / license plates (the right drive on public roads).
Vehicle registration is the process of submitting the vehicle's prior title and applying for a) a new title and b) a registration document and license plates.
Vehicle registration is done at the state, not the national level. You can only register a vehicle in a state where you have a presence. In the first section of this series, we explained how visitor.us generates a presence for you in Montana, the best US state to own a vehicle.
Now, we'll explain how visitor.us registers your vehicle in Montana for you.
visitor.us generates and emails you Montana temp tags
The registration process can take a few days or weeks, depending on the vehicle's paperwork. Yet, vehicle buyers often need to drive their new vehicle right away?
So how can vehicle buyers drive while their registration is in process? With temp tags.
A temp tag (also known as a temporary registration, drive-away permit or one-trip permit) is a paper license plate and registration document that allows vehicle buyers to drive on public roads while their registration is in process.
Rules vary by state, but generally, only licensed auto dealers and state agencies can generate temp tags.
When you use visitor.us, we generate and email you a 40-day Montana Temp Tag so you can hit the road while your registration is in process.
Generating Montana temp tags is a manual process, so it may take us up to one business day to email them to you.
visitor.us visits the DMV for you
Every time a vehicle changes ownership, its new owner (or an agent of the new owner) must visit the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to register the vehicle.
The new owner must visit the DMV in the state where the vehicle will be registered. (Depending on the state, the new owner must visit the DMV in the county where the vehicle will be registered.) New registrations cannot be done virtually.
When you use visitor.us, we visit the DMV in Gallatin County, Montana. We wait in line and register your vehicle in person - so you don't have to.
In order to register your vehicle to your Montana LLC, we just need your vehicle's title, properly signed by its prior owner. Only the original document is valid - the DMV will not accept photocopies or pictures of your vehicle's prior title.
visitor.us receives your license plates and registration
In the US, a vehicle's license plates often change when ownership changes. The new owner is responsible for obtaining and displaying license plates on the vehicle.
When visitor.us registers your vehicle, we walk out of the DMV with two metal license plates and a paper registration document.
Tell us where to send your plates and registration
After registration, you will receive an email notification that your license plates and registration are ready to view in your Dashboard.
Let us know where you want to receive your plates and registration by entering your delivery address in the Dashboard.
We understand that you may be on the road when by the time your registration is complete.
That's why we give you the option to enter a Fedex Office location. When this option is selected, your shipment will be held for pickup for up to five business days at your desired Fedex Office location. Simply show a photo ID whose name matches the name on the shipment, and pick up your plates.
Secure the plate with the decal on the rear of the vehicle, the plate without the decal on the front of your vehicle, and keep the registration document in your vehicle's glovebox.
visitor.us receives your Montana title
After registering your vehicle, the Gallatin County DMV submits your registration to the State of Montana, which generates a Montana title, and mails it to the registration address (which is the same as visitor.us' address).
The State of Montana can take as long as six to eight weeks to issue a Montana title, and visitor.us has no control over this timeline.
When visitor.us receives your vehicle's Montana title, you will receive an email notification that it is ready to view in your Dashboard.
Let us know where you want to receive your Montana title by entering your desired delivery address in the Dashboard. As with plates and registration, we can send your Montana title to a Fedex location to be held for pickup.
When you use visitor.us, we generate Montana temporary tags so you can hit the road (nearly) right away.
Once we have your vehicle's signed prior title, we physically visit the DMV on your behalf, and walk out of the building with two metal license plates and a registration document. Tell us where you want to receive them, and we'll Fedex your plates and registration to you, even if you're on the road.
Your Montana title will arrive a few weeks after registration, and we'll Fedex that to you as well.
You're on Step 3 of 5: Register your vehicle.
Read on to learn Step 4 of 5: Insure your vehicle.
Can I bring my US-registered vehicle into Mexico? Central America? South America?
US-registered vehicles can cross into the Baja and Sonora Free Zones in Mexico, and remain indefinitely (as long as registration remains current).
If you want to bring a vehicle registered to an LLC into Mexico (beyond the Free Zones) or any country further south, you must provide a permission letter to the border authorities. This permission letter extends authority from you as the CEO of your LLC to you as an individual to cross the border with your vehicle.
For best results, we recommend visiting a notary public in the US, who will witness your signature and stamp your document (border guards love stamps).
A border crossing permission letter template is available from visitor.us upon request.
Can I bring my US-registered vehicle into Canada?
Absolutely. Vehicles with valid and current US registrations (even temporary registrations) can pass freely into Canada.
Buy a vehicle in America, even if you're just visiting.
How it works
Five easy steps
1. Create your Montana presence
Your Montana LLC is the presence that allows you to own a vehicle in the US.
Tax-free vehicle registration.
US driver's license not required. Vehicle never has to come to Montana.