Registering a New or Used Car

Information on the paperwork and process involved whether buying a car from a dealership or a secondhand car through a classified advertisement. The documents required and where they must be sent...

A vehicle must be registered in the province in which the owner is resident. The process varies between provinces with each one having its own regulations concerning the registration of motor vehicles. Contact the local vehicle registration office or Department of Motor Vehicles.

Most car dealerships will complete the entire registration process for the buyer for a fee; in a private sale, it is usually the buyer's responsibility to register the car in their name.

As a rule, the following are required:

  • Driver's licence
  • Certificate/bill of sale
  • Certificate of title - or 'pink slip' - signed by both the buyer and seller
  • Proof of motor insurance
  • Licence plate number
  • Safety inspection number/certificate
  • Other documents such as proof of an admissions test may apply in some provinces
  • In many provinces at least two forms of ID are required before a vehicle can be registered
  • The buyer should provide proof that they are a resident of the jurisdiction where they want to register the vehicle

A fee is paid to the relevant authorities for vehicle registration; this varies between the provinces and includes the relevant taxes. In most provinces, vehicle registration is renewed annually.

Registration documents should be kept in the vehicle.

Vehicle registration plates

Generally, licence plate numbers are registered to the driver rather than the vehicle and may be transferred from a previous vehicle to the new one. However new licence plate numbers are given to the buyer when the vehicle is registered.

In some states, after registering the car and paying the fee, the buyer is given a registration sticker marked 'temporary' which must be placed on the licence plate.

Department of Motor Vehicles

For provincial/territorial information about the documents required to buy or sell a vehicle, registering a vehicle, how to transfer vehicle ownership and costs involved, including taxes, see the relevant link below: