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Vehicles on a public roadway in Alberta must have valid insurance and a Vehicle Registration Certificate. The vehicle you’re registering must be in Alberta.
A vehicle can be either a motor vehicle, such as a car or truck, or a non-motor vehicle such as a trailer.
If you have any outstanding fines, you won’t be able to register a vehicle. If you choose to pay your fines online first, you must wait a couple days for the payment to process before you can renew online.
Vehicle Registration Certificate details
A Vehicle Registration Certificate has:
- the name of the registered owner
- a description of the vehicle
- the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- licence plate type
- licence plate number
A person age 18 or older can register a vehicle by themselves. A person under age 18 who is not self-supporting or married must have consent from their parent or guardian to register a vehicle for the first time. The person providing consent will sign the consent at the registry agent office.
If you are temporarily staying in Alberta for less than 183 days, and your vehicle is registered in another jurisdiction, you don’t have to register your vehicle.
If you are a new resident of Alberta, you must change your registration to an Alberta registration within 90 days of moving to Alberta.
Registering a vehicle on behalf of someone else
If you can’t go to a registry office, another person can apply for a vehicle registration, renewal, cancellation or transfer on your behalf. The person requesting the service on your behalf must bring:
- your proof of ownership document, proof of valid insurance, and their ID
- a completed Authorization for Vehicle Services form, signed by you
Register your vehicle
To register a vehicle, you must go to a registry agent with the following:
- proof of ownership document, such as a lease, bill of sale, probated will or letters of administration.
- proof of valid insurance for the vehicle that includes the name(s) of the person(s) requesting the registration.
- acceptable identification.
- an out-of-province, salvage or commercial inspection (if applicable)
- if you are registering a used vehicle in Alberta for the first time, you may require an inspection if the vehicle was purchased outside of Alberta
Passenger, motorcycle and off-highway vehicle registrations are issued for a minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 2 years.
Registering a commercial vehicle
There are additional registration requirements for commercial vehicles.
A commercial vehicle transports people or goods and is not used only as a private passenger vehicle.
There are 3 classes of licence plates that apply to commercial carriers in Alberta. These plates are different from the ones used on personal vehicles. Each commercial licence plate allows a carrier to perform a particular type of work.
Class 1 plates
- Transporting goods owned by the owner or another person for compensation
- Passenger transportation, including school bus, charter bus and taxi operations
Class 2 plates
- Transporting goods within 10 km of the registered address
- Operating provincially while conducting specific industry services
Class 3 plates
- Commercial vehicles registered to and operated by governments, municipalities, hospitals, school boards or First Nations bands
A Class 3 plate can’t be used to transport another person’s goods for compensation.
Commercial vehicle registration is issued for a minimum of 3 months to a maximum of 1 year.
Registering a commercial vehicle
For more information on how to register a commercial vehicle, as well as additional requirements, read the Commercial vehicle registration requirements.
Some vehicles don't have to be registered in Alberta.
Vehicles that can’t be driven on public roads
Miniature vehicles that are less than standard size can’t be issued a vehicle registration certificate and cannot be driven on public roads. These vehicles may be used on privately owned land only.
- electric scooters
- small mopeds
- 3 or 4 wheeled miniature all-terrain vehicles
- golf carts
This also includes a vehicle bought for parts.
Vehicles that can be driven on public roads
Some vehicles can be operated on public roads but are exempt from the requirement to hold valid registration. Examples include:
- heavy industrial equipment such as a tractor, backhoe, grader or street sweeper
- trailers with permanently attached equipment such as air compressors, welders, tar buckets, concrete mixers, converter dollies, crushing equipment and jeeps and boosters when they don’t carry a load
- farming equipment used for agricultural uses or livestock
- mobile homes
Vehicles purchased outside of Alberta
Registering a vehicle purchased within Canada
If you bought the vehicle outside of Alberta, but within Canada, you’ll need to complete one of the following:
- out-of-province inspection
- a salvage inspection
- commercial inspection
Which inspection you complete depends on the type and status of your vehicle.
Before you go to an inspection station, you must get an Inspection Request from a registry agent.
Out of province inspections
A vehicle purchased outside of Alberta, but within Canada, must pass an Alberta Out of Province Vehicle Inspection before it can be registered.
A new vehicle may be exempt from the out of province inspection requirement depending on the date of sale, mileage and where it was purchased. Check with a registry agent to see if your new vehicle qualifies.
Off-highway vehicles such as ATVs and snowmobiles, prorate commercial vehicles, and trailers do not need an out of province inspection.
Registering a vehicle purchased outside of Canada
If you bought the vehicle outside Canada, you must get the proper inspection completed and provide import documentation.
Bring your proof of ownership and the Transport Canada Vehicle Import Form – Form 1 to a registry agent and get an Inspection Request.
To register an imported vehicle, you must provide the following:
- proof of ownership for the vehicle
- your out of province, salvage or commercial inspection
- for new vehicles: a New Vehicle Information Statement (NVIS or E-NVIS) or Certificate of Origin
- a completed Transport Canada Vehicle Import form – Form 1, Vehicle Import form – RIV, Vehicle Import form – RIV exempt, or letter from an authorized pre-clearance importer
You will also have to provide the standard registration documents such as:
- proof of ownership or previous registration for the vehicle
- proof of Alberta insurance
- an Alberta address
- personal identification
Exported Alberta vehicles
If you are moving out of Alberta and intend to register your vehicle in your name in another jurisdiction, you can request a vehicle registration confirmation letter from the Registrar of Motor Vehicles confirming the history of vehicle registration under your name.
Find the history of a vehicle’s registration in Alberta.
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