How to register a vehicle in

Washington State

as a non-US resident

Washington State

at a glance

Major cities
Seattle
Major ports of arrival
Sea-Tac International Airport (SEA)
Registration challenges
In-state address required
In-state driver's license required
Average sales tax rate
9.23%

State Overview and Advice

In order to  register a vehicle in Washington State, you need a Washington State driver's license and a Washington State address.

Getting a Washington State driver's license is not an easy process. We recommend starting your visit in another state, or using visitor.us' services to register a vehicle that you buy in Washington State.

The Registration Process

The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) handles vehicle registrations in Washington State.

If you buy your vehicle from a Washington dealer, it will issue you a 3-day Temporary License Permit. Two more three-day extensions are available. If you plan to register your vehicle in Washington, the dealer will apply for your title and registration on your behalf.

If you buy your vehicle from a private party and plan to register it in Washington, bring the required items (below) to a DOL office or one of their outsourced service locations to register your vehicle. Washington's 3-day Temporary License Permits are available for private party purchases.

For vehicles being registered in Washington State, Washington State sales taxes are payable to the dealer upon sale, or the MVC upon registration (if purchased from a private party).

Taxes and Fees

Sales Tax

State sales tax

6.50%

Average local sales tax

2.73%

Average combined sales tax

9.23%

Registration fees

Light Vehicle

Fees: $98

Regional Transit Authority Tax: 1.1% for a new vehicle, reduced to 0.1% in the vehicle's 13th year (only for counties in the Seattle area)

RV

Fees: $98

Regional Transit Authority Tax: 1.1% for a new vehicle, reduced to 0.1% in the vehicle's 13th year (only for counties in the Seattle area)

Motorcycle

Fees: $82

Regional Transit Authority Tax: 1.1% for a new vehicle, reduced to 0.1% in the vehicle's 13th year (only for counties in the Seattle area)

$15,000 car

$1,632

$50,000 RV

$5,263

$5,000 motorcycle

$615

Total taxes and fees

Registration Requirements

Prior owner's title

The vehicle's title must be signed by the owner(s) printed on the title, its odometer reading recorded (if less than 10 years in age), and be free of all liens in order for the prior owner's interest to be released.

Identification

A Washington State driver's license is required to register a vehicle in Washington State.

Bill of sale

A bill of sale is required to register a vehicle in Washington State.

Application

TD-420-001 - Vehicle Title Application

Inspection

Emissions (smog)

An annual emissions inspection is required if the vehicle is registered in the following counties: Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish, Spokane.

Safety

VIN

DMV personnel must check the vehicle's VIN if it was not previously registered in Washington State.

Insurance

Washington State's minimum liability insurance limits are 25/50/10.

Residency

Washington State does not require proof of residency to register a vehicle.

Local Address

Vehicles registered in Washington State must be registered to a Washington State address.

The Alternative

When you sign up with visitor.us, this is what you get:

Company Formation

visitor.us forms a Limited Liability Company for you in Montana, the best state for international visitors to register vehicles.

Vehicle Purchase

Complete paperwork and funds transfer with the seller.
The seller will list your LLC and its address as the buyer on the vehicle's title, and visitor.us will arrange for it to be couriered to us for processing.

Insurance

Insurance from a top-rated insurance company that covers you, your vehicle, and your LLC.

Vehicle Registration

You buy a vehicle, we register it in MT. Why?
- MT sales tax: 0%
- Inspections not required in MT

Annual Actions

visitor.us will keep your registration current, and courier your annual decal and registration document to you ('hold at courier location for pick-up' available, if you're on the move).
Ready to get started?
Take the visitor.us quiz and learn how to buy, register, and insure a vehicle in the States relevant to your visit.

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