Illinois Car Registration for New Cars: A How to Guide

January 27, 2012

Applying for new Illinois car registration is an easy process, as the dealership will take care of much of the paperwork for you. However, if you purchase a vehicle outside of Illinois or the dealership makes a mistake on the paperwork, you may need to take things into your own hands to get your car registered. This guide will help you navigate the necessary paperwork at the Illinois DMV to get your vehicle registered and on the road legally. You can find information on Illinois Secretary of State requirements online at CyberDriveIllinois, the official website of the Illinois Department of State. Be sure to contact a branch office directly if you have any questions about registering your vehicle.

The Dealership's Obligation
If you purchase your vehicle in the state of Illinois, the dealership will complete most of the Secretary of State paperwork after finalizing the vehicle transaction. The forms that are submitted to the Secretary of State include a sales tax transaction form (form ST-556), a tax check to the Illinois Department of Revenue for use tax, application for title and registration, a surrender document, such as the manufacturer's statement of origin, and all applicable title and registration fees. Therefore, purchasing a vehicle in-state should be an easy process unless the dealership accidentally makes a paperwork mistake. If you purchase a vehicle outside of Illinois, you will be responsible for completing the following paperwork to turn your out-of-state title into an Illinois title and registration.

Application for Vehicle Transaction (Form VSD 190)
The application for vehicle transaction is necessary for any transaction that involves a license plate. If you were issued an erroneous Illinois title and registration, you must also use form VSD 190 to request corrections.

Sales Tax Forms (Forms RUT-25 and RUT-50)
When purchasing a vehicle outside of Illinois, you must also file form RUT-25, which is exclusively for dealership transactions. If you paid Illinois sales tax when you purchased the vehicle, you must furnish proof of this to the Illinois Department of Revenue. If sales tax has been not been paid for any reason, form RUT-25 must be accompanied by a payment to the Department of Revenue when you apply for vehicle title and registration.

Odometer Statement
The odometer statement certifies the mileage on a vehicle at the time of the transaction. If you do not have an odometer statement from the dealership, the Secretary of State will likely ask you about the mileage on the vehicle.

Application for Title
After you have all necessary paperwork, you may submit your application for title and registration via mail or in person at a Secretary of State office. If you submit your application via mail, send your application and $95 fee to:

Secretary of State
Vehicle Services Department
501 S. 2nd St. Room 014
Springfield, IL 62756

For faster service, you can submit your application and pertinent information at any Illinois Secretary of State facility. If you're missing any documentation required to register your vehicle, contact your selling dealership. If you submit your application via the mail, give the Secretary of State a few weeks to process your paperwork.

How to Renew Your Car Registration in Illinois

Renewing your Illinois car registration is very easy. In fact, the Illinois DMV has many different channels to choose from.

Renewal with Notice
If you received a car registration expiration notice from the Illinois Vehicle Services Department (VSD) and all the information on the notice is correct (i.e. you don't have any changes to your registration, home address, etc.) you have several ways to renew.

You may find a Renewal Code and PIN (Personal Identification Number) printed on your renewal notice. In this case, you are eligible to renew online, and may pay via credit card or personal check. Note that there is a $1.75 convenience fee added if you use a credit card to pay for the registration.

In case you prefer not paying online, you can pay using a touch tone telephone. Dial 1-866-545-9609 and follow the prompts. Make sure you have your PIN and your Renewal Code, as they will be needed during the transaction. You may pay using a credit card, but a $1.75 convenience fee will be added.

You can also send a personal check payable to the Illinois Secretary of State together with the signed bottom portion of the renewal notice through the mail. Your renewal sticker should arrive in about 30 days.

You may also visit the nearest Secretary of State facility, or any participating bank, and pay using cash, check, or a Discover credit card. Make sure you bring your Renewal Notice. If you're paying by Discover credit card, a $2 convenience fee will be added.

Renewal with Address Change
If you need to update your address in your registration, payment channels are largely the same as without any changes (except for phone, which may only be used if you have no changes to any of your information). However, if you need to request for a corrected ID card (so your ID reflects the changed address) a $3 fee may be charged.

Renewal with Name Change
Before you can change the name on the registration, you have to change the name on the car title. Along with the original title, you must also bring in an application for a corrected title, a $95 fee, and documentation such as a driver's license (with the correct name), a copy of a marriage certificate, or any other court document attesting to a name change. You cannot renew your registration online or by phone if there is a name change.

Renewal without Notice
The Illinois DMV is not required to send out renewal notices, and only sends them out as a courtesy reminder. It is your responsibility to ensure that your car registration is current and will pass any Illinois car inspection. If your notice got lost (either in the mail or after you received it) you may still visit any Secretary of State facilities and participating banks, or send through via mail a letter with your name, license plate number, address, car information (make, model, year, VIN) to the Secretary of State.

Renewal with Vehicle Information Change
If you need to change your vehicle information, you can only renew your car registration via mail or in person. For example, if you just bought a vehicle, you have to attach a copy of the transfer ID sent by the dealer. Make sure the check is payable to the Secretary of State, and wait for about 30 days for the sticker.

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