How to Register a Motor Vehicle

The motor vehicles leased or owned by the Foreign Mission Community that will be operated in any U.S. jurisdiction must be registered with the Office of Foreign Missions and nowhere else.

Warning: Anyone in the Foreign Mission Community who, contrary to Department of State requirements, obtains a Motor Vehicle registration, decal, title, or a driver's license from a U.S. jurisdiction will be issued an OFM driver's license, registration, title, or decal only upon payment of a service fee of $100.00 for each service requested. Foreign Missions are advised that, as OFM becomes aware of Motor Vehicles Services provided to members of the Foreign Mission Community by a local jurisdiction, it notifies the local jurisdiction of the person's diplomatic or consular status and obtains an administrative block of the person's record.

Note: If the motor vehicle is actually owned by a bona fide dependent, the name of his/her sponsor will be shown as the registered owner and the dependent's name will be shown as the "co-owner".

Warning: Under U.S. law, motor vehicle registration and insurance cards must be carried in the motor vehicle at all times when it is operated in any U.S. jurisdiction. Motor vehicle operators must be able to present proof of liability insurance and registration upon request.

Note: If a seller or a financial institution has any questions regarding the obligation to register the Motor Vehicle with OFM, or the non-issuance of an OFM title, please refer them to this publication (//2009-2017.state.gov/ofm/dmv/index.htm) or ask them to contact OFM.

Specific Instructions:

The e-Gov system account holder must submit an application on the Department’s e-Gov system and send an e-mail attachment of the complete application, outlined below, to OFMRegApplication@state.gov, in the Washington Metropolitan Area, or to the appropriate OFM Regional Office e-mail address for the region in which the applicant resides. [1]

The subject line of each e-mail should include the mission name and the transaction number generated by the e-Gov system, e.g., Mission Name – 5000XXXXXX. E-mail submissions to the regional offices should include the type of application submitted (e.g., registration, replacement plate, etc.). Original ownership documents for registration applications will continue to be required and must be submitted to the OFM Customer Service Center (CSC) or to the OFM Regional Office which serves the applicant’s State of residence, accompanied by the OFM-approved Original Ownership Document cover sheet . If purchasing a vehicle from a dealership, the applicant is responsible for providing the dealer with the completed OFM-approved cover sheet, which must be attached to the original ownership documents mailed to the OFM Customer Service Center or to the OFM Regional Office, which serves the applicant’s State of residence.

Any applicable fees associated with registration applications must be submitted to the OFM CSC or to the OFM Regional Office, which serves the applicant’s state of residence, accompanied by the OFM-approved Payment cover sheet.

Note: Before registering a motor vehicle with the U.S. Department of State, please see the Office of Foreign Mission’s Driver’s License Requirement for Vehicle Registration below.

Guidelines for a Complete Application by Application Type

Registering a New Vehicle:

  • e-Gov Application Submission Receipt
  • Original Certificate of Origin with the completed OFM-approved Original Ownership Document cover sheet for the issuance of permanent tags
  • Original Retail Certificate of Sale or comparable document, if applicable
  • Purchase Order for the issuance of a temporary tag until the original Certificate of Origin is received by OFM; regional variances may apply
  • Odometer Statement/disclosure
  • Proof of Insurance – Insurance Policy Declarations Page (see Vehicle Insurance Coverage Limits)

• Reciprocity or service fee, if applicable
        o Acceptable forms of payment: Check or Money Order payable to the U.S. Department of State
        o Completed OFM-approved Payment cover sheet

Note: Always notify the dealership and the financial institution, if any, that the Motor Vehicle must be registered with the Department of State only. If the dealership or a financial institution sends these documents directly to OFM, submit a statement to that effect

Registering a Used Vehicle:

  • e-Gov Application Submission Receipt
  • Original State Title with the completed OFM-approved Original Ownership Document cover sheet for the issuance of permanent tags
  • Original Retail Certificate of Sale or comparable document, if applicable
  • Purchase Order for the issuance of a temporary tag until the original State Title is received by OFM; regional variances may apply
  • Original Complete Reassignment History Document (s), if applicable
  • DOS Lien Title complete with lienholder signature releasing lien, or lien release letter, if applicable
  • Odometer Statement/disclosure
  • Original Power of Attorney(s), if applicable
  • Proof of Insurance – Insurance Policy Declarations Page (see Vehicle Insurance Coverage Limits)
  • Reciprocity or service fee, if applicable
          o Acceptable forms of payment: Check or Money Order payable to the U.S. Department of State
          o Completed OFM-approved Payment cover sheet

Note: Always notify the dealership and the financial institution, if any, that the Motor Vehicle must be registered with the Department of State only. If the dealership or a financial institution sends these documents directly to OFM, submit a statement to that effect

Registering a Leased Vehicle:

  • e-Gov Application Submission Receipt
  • Original Certificate of Origin or State Title with the completed OFM-approved Original Ownership Document cover sheet for the issuance of permanent tag
  • Lease Agreement signed by lessor and lessee for the issuance of a temporary tag until the original Certificate of Origin or State Title is received by OFM
  • Original Complete Reassignment History Document (s), if applicable
  • Odometer Statement/disclosure
  • Original Power of Attorney(s), if applicable
  • Proof of Insurance – Insurance Policy Declarations Page (see Vehicle Insurance Coverage Limits)
  • Reciprocity or service fee, if applicable
          o Acceptable forms of payment: Check or Money Order payable to the U.S. Department of State
          o Completed OFM-approved Payment cover sheet

Note: Always notify the dealership that the Motor Vehicle must be registered with the Department of State only. If the dealership or financial institution has sent these documents separately to OFM, submit a statement to that effect.

Registering an Imported Vehicle:

  • e-Gov Application Submission Receipt
  • Original Foreign Ownership Document(s) with the completed OFM-approved Original Ownership Document cover sheet for the issuance of permanent tags (foreign ownership documents will be returned upon registration)
  • Copy of Foreign Ownership Document(s) may be used for the issuance of temporary tags
  • If Original Foreign Ownership Document(s) is not available (e.g., surrendered to the previous jurisdiction), a written certification from the Mission is required along with a copy of the Foreign Ownership Document(s)
  • Proof of Insurance – Insurance Policy Declarations Page (see Vehicle Insurance Coverage Limits)
  • Reciprocity or service fee, if applicable
          o Acceptable forms of payment: Check or Money Order payable to the U.S. Department of State
          o Completed OFM-approved Payment cover sheet

Note: Registration applications for Motor Vehicles that do not meet the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) safety and pollution standards must include DOT Form HS-7* and EPA Form EPA-3520-1* which can be obtained at the Motor Vehicle's U.S. port of entry.

Note: Please see your mission’s or organization’s Administrative Officer for assistance with this process.

Processing Initial Registration

If the Application for Registration is complete and all necessary supporting documents have been submitted, the registration package will be ready within 5 business days. The registration package will include the following:

1. Two distinctive license plates (motorcycles receive one license plate for display at the rear of the vehicle)

2. A validation decal showing the month and year of expiration

3. A registration card

Note: Vehicle Registrations are valid for one year and expire on the last calendar day of the month in which the motor vehicle was initially registered.

Annual Registration Renewal

The Office of Foreign Missions will automatically issue a new registration card and validation decal if the motor vehicle's mandatory and required insurance liability coverage is currentand proof of payment for all unpaid parking tickets has been received. Once insurance coverage and the payment of parking ticket fines are verified for each motor vehicle, a new registration card and validation decal will be issued. If the new registration card and validation decal have not been received by the middle of the expiration month, please contact OFM.

Refusal of Registration Renewal

Registrations will not be renewed if any motor vehicle owned by a Foreign Mission or its members

1. is not in full compliance with the liability insurance requirements contained herein

2. has any unpaid parking fines

Note: OFM will inform a Foreign Mission if conditions exist that will result in a refusal of registration renewal for a Foreign Mission or its members.

Driver License Requirement for Vehicle Registration

Applicant has intent to drive but does not yet hold a Department of State Driver License:

If the vehicle registration application is received within the first 30 days of the applicant’s arrival:
      o Photocopy of the e-Gov driver license application
      o Photocopy of non-U.S. driver license (front and back) with a translation, if not in English

If the vehicle registration application is received after the first 30 days of the applicant’s arrival:
      o Photocopy of the e-Gov driver license application
      o Diplomatic note from the mission stating that the individual will not operate the vehicle until the applicant acquires a Department of State driver license
      o Photocopy of a valid driver license of the person who will be operating the vehicle in the interim

Applicant does not have intent to drive and does not hold a Department of State driver license:
      • Diplomatic note from the mission attesting that the individual will not operate the vehicle being registered or any other vehicle during his/her tenure in the United States
      • Full name (and PID, if applicable) of the chauffer who will be operating the vehicle
      • Photocopy of a valid driver license of the chauffer who will be operating the vehicle

Note: Please see your mission’s or organization’s Administrative Officer for assistance with this process.


[1] TECRO and TECO members are to submit all applications to the American Institute in Taiwan at AIT/WGeneralInquiries@state.gov.