Can You Register a Car Without a License? – 2022

One of the things that you have to grapple with, as a car buyer, is whether they can register a car without a driving license. While it is possible to purchase a vehicle using other identification documents, registering it is a different ball game. If you’re buying a car as a gift for your business, child, car collection, staff driver, or caregiver, you do not need to present a driver’s license.

Once you have paid for the vehicle, you’ll need to register the title in your name, requiring a driver’s license. That’s because you can only drive the car on public roads if it is registered in the same name appearing in the title. But can you register a car without a license? That’s the subject that this article hopes to canvas in-depth. Keep reading.

When Can You Register a Car Without a License?

There are several ways you can register a car without a license. In most of these cases, the car would belong to you but get driven by someone else. The following are the instances when you can become an unlicensed vehicle owner:

1) Purchasing a Car for Business Purposes

When buying a car for your business, you don’t need a license to register it. Instead of registering it under your name, you can use your business name. Most likely, your business has employees with driver’s licenses and insurance, allowing them to drive the vehicle on public roads. However, you and your business will remain the owner of the car.

2) Buying a Vehicle as a Gift

If you buy a car as a gift for someone else, you won’t have to struggle registering it in your name. Whether it is a family member or someone else, the person for who you’re getting the gift has to register it in their name. Since the other person is the titleholder, they are the legal owners of the vehicle even though you paid the total cost.

This approach to car ownership is best when you have absolute trust in the driver. Where you have doubt, be sure to consult a lawyer to draw a contract for protection when things go wrong. Alternatively, you can place a lien on the vehicle to prevent your friend or relative from selling it without your express permission. Check the requirements for a lien with your state government.

3) Purchasing a Car as a Collectible

Another great way to own a car without registering it is to purchase it as a collectible. Depending on where you live, the vehicle may need classification as a classic or historic car to fall into this category. So be sure to check the guidelines applicable in your locality to see if you meet the paid down criteria. The vehicle can stay unregistered until you need to drive it on a public road. At that time, it would be necessary for you to produce a driver’s license and insurance.

Why Does Vehicle Registration Require a License?

Before you start wondering whether you can register a vehicle without a driver’s license, it is essential to understand why that’s important. It is simple. In every state, the vehicle registry agency or DMV only allows registered vehicles to hit the road. In most states, registration of cars should happen within one month after purchase.

Registering a vehicle in most states requires you to have the car’s title, driver’s license or I.D., and proof of insurance. After presenting all the necessary documents and paying a registration fee, the state will legalize the registration and recognize you as the vehicle’s new owner.

Remember, the registration fee varies from state to state. Once your vehicle is registered, you can fix the license plates and drive them away. When you drive it on the road, everyone would know that your car has the appropriate registration.

Significantly, whether you’re required to submit proof of insurance immediately depends on your state government. In some states, buyers have a 30-day window after registration to provide proof of insurance. If you fail to produce evidence of insurance within the stipulated time, you can have your registration suspended by the DMV. To re-register the vehicle, you’ll have to pay reinstatement costs. Only then will you get legal sanction to drive the car again.

Can You Register a Car Without a License But Only an I.D.?

Can You Register a Car Without a License

Did you know that you can own a vehicle without necessarily having a driver’s license? The only thing you cannot do without a driver’s license is to drive legally on public roads. So, can you register a car without a license but only an I.D.? Yes. It would help if you had a driver’s license or a photo I.D. to register a vehicle. In some U.S. states, a photo I.D. is required to get a loan, vehicle registration, and auto insurance.

Thus, you may have to visit the local DMV office to obtain a photo I.D if you do not already possess one. The DMV may ask you certain documents, which vary from state to state, to get a photo I.D. However, mostly, you need identification, proof of residence, and a social security card. To know what you need, contact your local DMV. Once you get a photo I.D., go ahead and process the vehicle registration.

How to Get Car Insurance Without a License?

Did you know that you can act as an excluded driver when registering your vehicle? For that, you need to produce a bill of sale and proof of insurance. In some cases, it can be tricky for you to get insurance. Several insurance companies cannot provide a policy to you without being a primary driver. Before applying for insurance, ask around for insurance companies that can grant a policy without a license.

Why is it tricky to get insurance without a license? Insurance companies typically consider several factors to determine the premiums you can pay. Remember, you are not the vehicle’s driver in this case. However, that doesn’t stop the insurance company from requiring you to provide driver-specific information to determine the appropriate rate.

Some of the information the insurance company requires is the type of vehicle, driving record, the number of miles the licensed driver will clock annually, their credit score, or credit report. The primary driver might have a horrible driving history, exposing you to significantly high insurance premiums. In some cases, the insurance company might decline your application for coverage.

Before using another driver to register your car, check that you’ll get the insurance cover. As accidents are normal, working with someone with a horrible driving history would mean paying higher insurance premiums. Avoid designating a driver just because it is a friend or family member.

How to Register a Car Without a License?

You can only register a car with the DMV if you have a driver’s license and proof of insurance. But remember, you have no license. So, you cannot secure auto insurance. Therefore, you can only register the vehicle in another person’s or entity’s name. in that case, you have to share the car’s ownership with them.

Therefore, you should be sure to choose a close friend, family member, or relative to sign the registration documents as a co-owner of the vehicle. Whoever you choose will have equal rights to the car. So, pick someone you can trust to prevent getting dispossessed of your car.

Have a lawyer prepare a contract. You’ll write either ‘and’ or ‘or’ between your two names in it. If you choose ‘and,’ no one can sell the vehicle without consulting the other. With ‘or,’ either party can sell the car without the other’s consent. Regardless of how you frame it, the co-ownership agreement is fraught with many risks. However, if the other party is a family member or friend, they won’t object if you decide to sell the vehicle.

Accepted Identification Documents for Registering a Vehicle

For you to register a car you’ve just purchased, you need to present yourself at your local DMV. You’ll fill out a registration application form, and if it has only one party, produce a Power of Attorney. All parties on the registration form have to produce identification documents.

The identification documents required depend on whether or not you’re a resident of the state. Depending on your state government, the following identification documents are adequate:

  • Driver’s License
  • Drive-Only License
  • Learner’s Permit
  • Drive-Only Learner’s Permit
  • Non-Driver ID Card
  • Tribal Photo Identification Card from a Federally Recognized Tribe
  • U.S. Passport

If you have an out-of-state (or Canadian) license, Photo ID card, or U.S. military card, you can still register the vehicle so long as it remains within the state. With these documents, you can prove that you reside elsewhere and not the state where you wish to register the vehicle.

You might be lacking all the documentation required for identification. Be sure to fill a Request for Administrative Review, which can help determine whether you reside in the state and are eligible to register a vehicle, your need to register the car, and the person with a license to operate the car.

Can You Get an Auto Loan Without a License?

Without a license, it can be impossible for you to get approved for an auto loan. Here is how it works. You need a license to get car insurance. Insurance is a pre-condition for qualifying for an auto loan, depending on the lender. Now that you have no license, you cannot get auto insurance. Lenders that do not consider a driver’s license may only be concerned about your ability to pay.

Why do lenders require a license? An unlicensed driver can get arrested and default on the loan repayments. Therefore, you’ll need to explain that you won’t be driving the vehicle but give it to someone else.

The big commercial lenders might not provide you with the best deals, given how strict their requirements tend to be. If they grant the loan, it will come at an excessive rate. If you’re buying a used car, a more prominent bank will likely refuse to lend you any money. So, be sure to approach your credit union for a deal. A credit will probably work with you a loan without a license. However, they might want to listen to you and the primary driver.

When You Have to Get a License?

Instead of going against the grain, why don’t you get a driver’s license before trying to register a car? It doesn’t matter if you’re never going to drive the vehicle. You can save time and effort with a license, preventing unnecessary stress.

Without a driver’s license, it can be impossible for you to get a loan, find auto insurance, register a vehicle, and shop for the right car. If you’re lucky to get insurance, you’ll end up paying more in premiums. While you can overcome these hurdles, it will take time and research.

The best option is to wait until you have a license before buying a car. With that, you wouldn’t have to transfer ownership to a friend or relative. Before purchasing the vehicle, you’ll get an auto loan on better terms and secure auto insurance afterwards.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you own a car without a driver’s license?

Yes. You can own a car without a driver’s license, especially if you buy it through your business or co-own with family or friends.

Can I buy a car and register it in someone else’s name?

Yes. You can purchase a car and register it in someone else’s name, especially if you co-sign the ownership documents. If you do not have a driver’s license and other documentation needed to register the vehicle, that is necessary.

Can I insure a car that isn’t in my name?

No. You cannot get auto insurance on a vehicle you do not own. That’s because you need to prove that you are interested in the car through its title.

The Bottom Line

Can you register a car without a license? Yes, but the vehicle’s title won’t be in your name. If it does, then it will only be partial since you’ll be co-owning the car with someone else. It is an uphill task securing auto insurance without a license, and most lenders won’t advance financing. If you want a smooth car registration process, an opportunity to get a car loan, and insurance, be sure to get a driver’s license.