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BMV New Resident's Guide
Road sign that says Ohio Welcomes You!
BMV New Resident's Guide
Guide for new residents to obtaining an Ohio driver license, vehicle title, and license plates.

Welcome to Ohio! You are considered an Ohio resident once you: take a job, sign a lease, buy a home or enroll children in school. Within 30 days of establishing residency, you will need an Ohio driver license for yourself, and an Ohio title and license plates for your vehicle. For detailed information, please visit the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles online at bmv.ohio.gov.

You will need to bring the following...

  • Your vehicle's original title or memorandum of title
    • Please note: If your vehicle has two owners and one cannot be present, you will also need two signed powers of attorney (one for the title and one for the registration). The power of attorney for title will need to be notarized. For registration purposes, you may use a signed, notarized power of attorney form, or an Authorization to Register (form BMV 5736 ) which does not require notarization.
  • Your vehicle loan contract (if applicable)
  • Your current out-of-state driver license
  • Proof of your full legal name*
  • Proof of your Social Security number
  • Proof of Ohio residency (e.g., bank statement, utility bill or pay stub listing your Ohio address)
  • Proof of citizenship or legal presence (e.g., birth certificate, U.S. passport, or see list of other acceptable documents)
  • If under 18 years of age, proof of driver education and a cosigner (parent or legal guardian)

* If your full legal name is inconsistent on the documents presented, you must provide additional documents to establish your full legal name. The following documents are acceptable:

  • Marriage certificate or license
  • Certified copy of a decree of divorce, dissolution or annulment of marriage
  • Certified copy of a court-ordered name change.

Get an Ohio Driver License

The Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws will help you learn Ohio's laws. You can get a copy:

To convert your out-of-state driver license to an Ohio driver license, you will need to visit a deputy registrar license agency.

You will need to bring proof of the following...

  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Legal presence in the United States (e.g., birth certificate, U.S. passport, or see list of other acceptable documents)
  • Social Security number
  • Ohio street address

Under Age 18?

Before you can become licensed in Ohio, you must:

  • Provide proof of six months of driving experience (with at least 50 hours of driving, including 10 hours at night)
  • Provide proof you've completed a driver education course that meet s Ohio's driver education requirements
  • Have a co-signer (parent or legal guardian) with you

To see if your driver education course qualifies in Ohio, visit any driver examination station with your current license and your driver training certificate of completion. If you meet Ohio requirements, you can begin testing.

After you have successfully completed the testing, proceed to a deputy registrar license agency with:

  • Your valid out-of-state driver license
  • Proof of Ohio residency
  • Proof of citizenship or legal presence (e.g., birth certificate, U.S. passport, or see list of other acceptable documents)

First-Time Driver or Expired Driver License

You will be required to pass a vision screening and a knowledge test at a driver examination station before you can purchase a Temporary Instructional Permit Identification Cord (TIPIC).

You will be required to provide proof of your:

  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Citizenship or legal presence in the United States (e.g., birth certificate, U.S. passport, or list of other acceptable documents)
  • Social Security number
  • Residential street address

How to Title Your Vehicle

Before you can register your vehicle and obtain license plates in Ohio, you need to convert your out-of-state title to an Ohio title.

Please note: if your vehicle has two owners and one cannot be present, you must bring a signed, notarized power of attorney with you.

  • Social Security numbers are required for all parties.
  • Photocopies of a title are not accepted.
  • If your lienholder has your title, you first must complete a transfer request form (available from a County Clerk of Courts Title Office) and send it to your lienholder.
  • For out-of-state leasing dealers, a leasing permit number and a valid Ohio use tax account number (99-XXXXXX) are required.

Prior to completing the title transfer, you must verify the accuracy of the odometer listing and all other information on the certificate of title.

What Do I Need to Bring to the Title Office?

  • Your out-of-state title certificate
  • Acceptable identification documents and payment for t itle fees (please contact your County Clerk of Courts Title Office for details)
  • An out-of-state vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection form; inspections can be done at Ohio deputy registrar license agencies and many car dealerships (fees apply)
  • A lien release from yourlienholder (if you don't have the paper title showing the lien discharge signed by your lien holder)
  • For lease t ransactions only, two original powers of attorney from the lessor (one to obtain an Ohio title and one to obtain the vehicle registration and license plates)
  • Odometer statement
  • Application(s) for Certificate of Title to a Motor Vehicle (form BMV 3774 )

How to Register Your Vehicle

To register your vehicle in Ohio, go to a deputy registrar license agency and present your:

  • Ohio Certificate of Title or Memorandum of Title
  • Ohio driver license, state ID or Social Security number
  • Tax ID number (if the vehicle is titled in a business name)
  • Lease agreement and power of attorney documents (if applicable)
  • E-Check certificate (affected counties: Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, Summit; call 1-800-CAR-TEST for more information)

Please note: If your vehicle has two owners and one cannot be present, you must bring a signed, notarized power of attorney form or an Authorization to Register (form BMV 5736 ) with you.

Pertinent Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws

Safety Belts

Drivers and front-seat occupants of most passenger vehicles must wear safety belts. For drivers under 18 years of age, all vehicle occupants must wear safety belts.

Exemptions:

  • Children covered by the child restraint law
  • People operating vehicles to deliver mail or newspapers for home delivery
  • People who carry an affidavit from their physician describing any medical condition(s) t hat preclude safety belt use
  • People in vehicles manufactured before 1966

Child Restraint Law

Any child less than four years of age or weighing less than 40 pounds is required to use a child safety restra int t hat meets federal motor vehicle standards while being transported in a motor vehicle.

Children ages 4-8 must be properly restra ined in a booster seat while being transported in a motor vehicle.

Children ages 8-15 must be properly restrained with a safety belt while being t ransported in a motor vehicle.

Driver License

Driver licenses are valid for four years and expire on your birthday. There is no grace period. Commercial driver licenses are required for operators of a commercial motor vehicle.

Financial Responsibility Law

No one can operate a motor vehicle without proof of insurance. Liability coverage of $25,000 - $50,000 for personal injury or death and $25,000 for property damage is required.

If you are involved in a crash that causes inj uries or more t han $400 in damage and the other party is uninsured, you may file a Crash Report (form BMV 3303) to suspend t he driving privileges of the other party.

Non-Residents

A non-resident may operate a motor vehicle without Ohio regist ration as long as the state or country he or she is from provides reciprocal privileges. Non-resident military personnel may use their home state driver license. Family members must obtain an Ohio driver license.

Alcoholic Beverages

An open alcoholic beverage container in a vehicle is prohibited.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

All drivers can be charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent or higher.

Drivers under age 21 with a BAC of .02 percent or more, but less than .08 percent, can face penalties under a charge called Operating a Vehicle after Underage Alcohol Consumption (OVUAC).

Commercial drivers can be charged for a BAC of .04 percent or higher.

License Plates

Front and rear license plates are required for all cars, trucks and motor homes unless the vehicle has been registered as a historical vehicle.

Studded Tires

Studded tires are permitted from November 1 to April 15.

Window Tinting

For vehicle windshields, tinting must allow for 70 percent light transmission. For side windows, t inting must allow for 50 percent light transmission, plus or minus 3 percent.

Open Cargo Law

For children under age 16, riding in the back of an open cargo storage area of a truck or trailer traveling over 25 miles per hour is illegal.

Motorcycles

Riding without a valid motorcycle license, endorsement, or temporary permit is against the law. Cab-enclosed motorcycles do not require an endorsement.

Helmets are required for ride1rs under age 18 and those who have held a motorcycle license or endorsement for less than one year. Helmets are not required for cab-enclosed motorcycles. Protective goggles/glasses or wind screens are required.

Earphones

The use of earphones while driving a motor vehicle is illegal, except for motorcycle operators using them for communication purposes.

Motorized Bicycle License

A motorized bicycle license may be issued to anyone age 14 and older who passes prescribed vision, written and skill tests.

Radar

State law does not require t he posting of radar enforcement. Except in commercial vehicles, radar detectors are legal but not recommended.

Camping

Camping in rest areas is prohibited.

Disabled Parking Areas

Persons with disabilities can obtain license plates or a window placard allowing them to park in disabled parking areas