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How to Obtain a New Car Registration in Nebraska

Nebraska motor vehicle registration is necessary to legally operate a car on state roads. Registration of vehicle information is a function of the County Treasurer, which is part of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, NE car registration cannot be obtained through a DMV office. Motorists must get car registration for their vehicle in a timely manner. Out-of-state residents must also complete vehicle registration to legally operate their cars. Drivers cannot obtain car registration online when doing so for the first time. Residents wondering, "How do I register my car?" may review the following details.

Getting Car Registration in Nebraska for the First Time

You must complete the Nebraska vehicle registration procedure in person or by mail the first time you register your car. Your vehicle will be registered in the county where you reside. After you purchase a vehicle, you must get a car registration and pay the sales tax within 30 days of your purchase. This applies to new and used cars, trailers and other vehicles. Many motor vehicle registration requirements do not apply to agricultural and off-road vehicles. Examples of such vehicles include ATVs, mopeds, golf carts, farm tractors and other similar motorized vehicles. Drivers who own multiple vehicles may inquire about DMV car registration for their new cars so that it expires on the same schedule as their other vehicles. In order to obtain car registrations in Nebraska, you must provide several documents to the County Treasurer, which include the following:

  • Proof of insurance with original documentation, as copies are not acceptable
  • Proof that you have paid the sales tax or excise tax for the vehicle
  • A signed copy of the lease agreement if your vehicle is being leased

Applicants wondering, "How does registering my car in person work?" are informed that they must bring the aforementioned documents to their local County Treasurer’s office. Office hours and policies vary by county when it comes to vehicle registration services, so it is best to contact the County Treasurer’s office before visiting. Nebraska drivers who wish to obtain new car registration through the mail will need to provide the same documentation listed above. Before sending auto registration documents, contact the local County Treasurer’s office to learn the correct mailing address.

Nebraska New Car Registration Certificates

When you register your car in person, the County Treasurer will verify your documents, charge a registration fee and issue your vehicle registration certificate on the same day. You will also receive your license plate and validation tabs. Drivers who submit their documents and payment through the mail will get car registration certificates, license plates and validation tabs sent back to them in the mail.

After you receive your DMV vehicle registration certificate, you must carry it in your vehicle at all times. You are not required to display your motor vehicle registration anywhere visible in the car. However, you will want to keep your certificate in a safe place that is easy to access in the event that law enforcement asks for your drivers license, car registration and proof of insurance.

How to Get Car Registration in Nebraska for Non-Residents or New Residents

A Nebraska car registration will be needed for drivers who are moving to the state. As a new resident, motorists can operate their out-of-state vehicle for 30 days before they need to get vehicle registration in Nebraska. First, they must complete the necessary steps to obtain a Nebraska vehicle title. After receiving a vehicle title, new residents will need to submit the following items to their local NE DMV County Treasurer:

  • The most recently issued registration or pink slip
  • A signed copy of the lease agreement if the vehicle is leased
  • An original document showing proof of insurance (copies are not acceptable)
  • Payment for the auto registration fees and taxes

Temporary car registration credentials are an option for non-residents who bought a vehicle in Nebraska and need to transport it back to their out-of-state home. The County Treasurer’s office issues temporary license plates and automobile registration credentials for drivers who fall into this category. The temporary car registration is valid for 30 days and should be used solely for the purpose of driving the vehicle on Nebraska roads in order to return home.

Note: Out-of-state registration of vehicles from states with reciprocity will remain valid in the state of Nebraska until the time of its expiration. States with reciprocity include North Carolina and Wyoming.

Military Personnel

New car registration plates for non-resident military personnel are available in the state of Nebraska. Motorists are considered military nonresidents if they are stationed at a military base in the state and they have not established residency during their stay. To qualify for NE motor vehicle registration for non-resident military personnel, drivers must submit a current leave and earnings statement (LES), evidence showing legal ownership of the vehicle, a certificate of title, a manufacturer’s statement of origin and license registration certificates.


Auto registration for nonresidents is not necessary if they are students attending an education institute in the state. However, such status is limited to students who are enrolled on a full-time basis, which consists of at least 12 credit hours for undergraduate or a full-time schedule for a graduate program. While car registration is not necessary for nonresidents who are students, motorists who fall into this category should carry their student ID with them at all times in case they are pulled over by law enforcement.

Nebraska Car Registration Fees and Taxes

When obtaining Nebraska motor vehicle registration, all drivers will need to pay a motor vehicle tax, a motor vehicle fee and a registration fee. Vehicle registration taxes and fees vary based on the age, class, gross weight and Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the car. The County Treasurer will calculate the motor vehicle tax on an annual basis until the vehicle is 14 years of age or more. The taxes and fees collected by the County Treasurer for DMV car registrations are distributed to various government resources, including highway maintenance.

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