Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I get a copy of my driving record?
A. Driving records are processed through the Operator Control division. A driving record includes any special license classifications (CDL), restrictions, and a list of any tickets, accidents and/or suspensions you may have incurred in the last 3 years. You can request a copy of your driving record online, in person, or by mail at the Division of Motor Vehicles, Operator Control, 600 New London Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920. For more information, call the Operator Control section at (401) 462-0800.
Q. Do I need insurance?
A. All cars driven in the state of RI must be insured. The insurance company must be licensed to do business in the state of RI. When the DMV asks for your 'insurance information'on a form, what you need to provide is the name of your insurance company, the policy number, and the effective dates of the policy. The policy must be in the name(s) in which the vehicle is being registered.
Q. I renewed my license at a DMV branch, and have not yet received it in the mail. What should I do?
A. Your temporary license is valid for 90 days. If your license does not arrive in this period of time, you should contact the DMV at (401) 462-4368 for assistance.
Q. How do I order a vanity plate?
A. As long as the plate is available and not currently registered to another passenger vehicle, motorcycle, or commercial vehicle (under 9001 lbs), you may place the order. Costs are listed in the DMV Fee Table.
Q. Can I order a vanity plate for my motorcycle?
A. Yes. As long as the plate is available and not currently registered to a passenger vehicle or another motorcycle, you may place the order. Costs are listed in the DMV Fee Table.
Q. What forms of payment do you accept?
A. Acceptable forms of payment are: cash, money orders, personal checks, bank checks, and credit card (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express). All credit cards have a minimum fee of $1.50 per transaction. Transactions of $64.00 and over have a service fee of 2.35%. This fee goes to the third party provider, Forte Payment Systems.
Q. I need to title and register my boat/recreational vehicle. Where do I go?
A. The DMV does not provide this service. In order to register a boat, personal watercraft, or snowmobile please contact the Department of Environmental Management at (401) 222-3070. Registration renewals for your boat or personal watercraft can be done online.
Q. What should I do if I did not receive a license renewal form in the mail?
A. You most likely did not receive the renewal form because your address has changed. To renew your license bring your old license, proof of residency and the Application for License (LI-1) form to any DMV branch location.
Q. What do I need to do if I am moving out of RI?
A. You must cancel your plates by bringing them to any DMV branch location or mail your plates and registration to the DMV Cranston headquarters. You must also notify the town in which you are taxed of your new address. Make sure to obtain a receipt for the plate cancellation.
Q. I've moved and need to change my address with the DMV. What forms do I need?
A. You can change your address online. Or complete the change of address form available at any DMV branch location. You can also request that the forms be mailed to you by writing to the DMV Cranston headquarters. List both your plate number AND license number on the form. Upon reciept of the request, the DMV will change your address information in its computer system.
Q. What do I need to do if I have changed my name?
A. You must change your name on your license, registration, and title.
- On your license, you must first have your name changed with the Social Security Administration. Please note: there is a 24 hour waiting period for the Social Security information to be updated. You should then go to one of the DMV locations with your new Social Security card and legal document showing the new name and the DMV will present you with a new license. Costs are listed in the DMV Fee Table.
- On your registration, you must go to one of the DMV locations with your new license, (the temporary license with your new name will suffice) your title, your legal document, and proof of insurance. You will be asked to fill out the TR-1 form. Costs are listed in the DMV Fee Table.
- On your title, if the title is in your possession, sign the title over to yourself by signing your former name on the back of the title as "seller". Then sign your new name as "buyer". If the title is not in your possession, call the title office.
Q. I've changed the color of my car. Is there anything I need to do?
A. Yes. You must update the information on your registration. You may do this at any DMV branch location.
Q. What do I need to do if I am selling my car?
A. If your car is 2001 or newer, you must give the new owner your title, signed over on the back of the document. You should sign as "seller" and have the person you are selling it to sign as "buyer". Make sure you include the vehicle's current mileage reading.
If you do not have the title, you must apply for a duplicate title at the Cranston DMV location. This process can take up to 90 days, so you should do this as soon as possible. Costs are listed in the DMV Fee Table.
You must also give the new owner a bill of sale. The bill of sale should include all the basic information about the car, such as year, make, model, VIN number, color; it must also include the purchase price. You need to sign the bill of sale and furnish your address, as the new owner will have to supply that information on the registration application when he registers the car.
Q. What do I need to do if I am buying a used car?
A. If you are buying the car from a dealership, they may offer a service to register and title the car for you.
If you are buying the car from a private party, keep your plates and go to any DMV branch location with proof of insurance, your bill of sale, the title (which must be signed over to you by the previous owner), and the car's previous registration. You will need to fill out forms to register and title the car and transfer your plates to your recently purchased vehicle.
If the vehicle is 2001 or newer and the title is from another state, the vehicle must have a VIN inspection at your local police department. Call the local police department for days and hours of operation.
To obtain a 5 day temporary plate to bring your vehicle to the police department for a VIN check you would need to bring your bill of sales, title, and proof of insurance, to any DMV office, and a temporary plate will be issued, the fee is $11.50.
Q. I just purchased a vehicle. Do you issue temporary plates?
A. Five-day temporary plates are issued to Rhode Island residents who have purchased a 2001 vehicle or newer from a private party or an out-of-state dealer, provided the vehicle has an out-of-state title and requires a VIN inspection. You must present a bill of sale, the out-of-state title, your current Rhode Island license or current out-of-state license with proof of residency and insurance information.
Q. What do I need to do if I am buying a new car?
A. If you are buying the car from a dealership, they may offer a service to register and title the vehicle for you. The dealer must provide you with the MSO (Manufactuturers' Statement of Origin), bill of sale and RI Dealer Tax Form. If the vehicle was purchased from an out-of-state dealer, a RI Sales Tax form must be used.
If you are buying a car from out of state, bring the title (signed over to you by the previous owner), proof of insurance, and a bill of sale to any DMV location. You will have to buy a temporary plate ($10.00) as well.
Q. I just moved to Rhode Island from another state - how do I register my vehicle?
A. If the vehicle is 2001 or newer, you need to title the vehicle. If the title is held by your leinholder you need a faxed copy of the title or certified copy of the title. The DMV does not request titles from lien holders. You must also contact your local police department for a VIN inspection prior to registering. You need a current Rhode Island drivers license or current out-of-state license with proof of residency. You must also supply your insurance information. You must have insurance with a company that is licensed to insure Rhode Island residents. Within five business days of registering, a safety inspection must be performed.
Q. I lost one of my plates - what do I do?
A. If the vehicle is registered in your name you must return the one remaining plate and obtain a new set of two plates with a different number. If you wish, you may order the original set to be remade. These will be re-issued to you after the mandatory 90-day waiting period, or about three months. You also need to bring your current Rhode Island drivers license and insurance information. If the vehicle is registered to a leasing company you will have to show a Power of Attorney form from the leasing company authorizing you to change the plate.
Q. My husband/wife recently passed away. How do I register the vehicle in my name?
A. You will need your current RI drivers license, insurance information, a copy of the death certificate and proof or ownership of the vehicle - title if the vehicle is 2001 or newer, or registration certificate if the vehicle is a 2000 or older. There is NO FEE for this transaction.
Q. My family member gave me his/her vehicle – how do I register it?
A. Your family member needs to give you a gift letter stating both your names and addresses, the relationship between you, and the vehicle’s information (year, make, model, and VIN). If you are also keeping the vehicle’s current plates, he/she must give permission for you to do so in the letter. If the vehicle is 2001 or newer, you must have the title to the vehicle, signed over to you by your family member in the ‘transfer of owner’ section on the back of the title. Otherwise, you will need the previous registration.
If the title is from out of state, you will also need a VIN check at your local police department. Your current RI license and insurance information will be needed at the time of registration. Gifts from immediate family members are considered sales tax exempt. Immediate family members are limited to mother, father, sister, brother, son, or daughter, including step family relationships. If you have received a gift from a family member who is not considered immediate family, the gift letter will need to be notarized and you will be required to sign a Gift Affidavit.
Q. Both of my plates were stolen. How do I get a new set?
A. First, you must obtain a police report stating that both plates were stolen. Bring that report to the DMV along with your RI drivers license and insurance information. If the vehicle is leased, then you must also provide a Power of Attorney from the leasing company authorizing you to change the plates. If you wish, you may request that the original set be remade. These will be reissued to you after the mandatory 90-day waiting period, or about three months.
Q. How do I obtain a duplicate registration?
A. You can go to any DMV branch location and you must bring identification (RI license or RI ID card) and proof of insurance. The DMV will have you fill out the TR-1 form. Costs are listed in the DMV Fee Table.
Q. What do I need to do if my registration has expired?
A. You should call the DMV for a renewal form to be mailed to you or report to any DMV branch location to fill out a registration renewal form. This form, complete with your insurance information and together with a check for the correct amount made out to Division of Motor Vehicles or DMV, should then be placed in the renewal drop box. If the registration is expired by more than 90 days, you may have to re-register the car: bring your identification as well as your old registration and insurance information to the branch to fill out the necessary forms.
Q. How do I register a vehicle if it's a 2000 or older?
A. Go to any DMV branch location and present your title and your registration. If you do not have the title, the registration alone will suffice. A copy of the previous owner's registration is acceptable. If you do not have proof of the previous owner's registration, proof can be obtained at any DMV providing the last registered owner is the person's name on your bill of sales. The fee for this document is $11.50 along with the bill of sale and personal identification such as a license or Social Security card. Proof of residency should accompany these documents.
Q. How do I apply for a disability parking permit?
A. Disability parking permits are issued to any individual who for a medical reason has limited mobility. A permit is issued to an individual, not to a vehicle. This allows the disabled person to be transported in any vehicle and to use disabled parking, as long as the person has the permit and the blue placard in their possession.
You may obtain an application by calling the Disability Parking Permit office at the Cranston DMV at (401) 462-5840. An application will be sent to you. You may also pick one up in person, or download the form on the Documents and Forms page of this website. Once the form has been completed and signed by you and your physician, the application will be reviewed. If your application is approved , DMV will notify you by mail.
Q. I don't drive but need to have identification. What do I need to get a Rhode Island ID card?
A. To get a Rhode Island ID card, you must, by law, provide the DMV with three pieces of documentation. First, you must show one identity document, such as a birth certificate, valid U.S. passport or foreign passport, or other valid document from this list. In addition, you must provide a Social Security card. Last, you must be able to prove residency - that you are a resident of the State of Rhode Island.
You may not have a valid drivers license in Rhode Island or in any other state in order to be eligible for an ID card. Costs are listed in the DMV Fee Table.
Please note: Rhode Island does NOT, under any circumstances, accept an ITIN number or card for proof of identity or signature.
Q. I want to be released from carrying an SR-22. What do I need to do?
A. Contact Operator Control at (401) 462-0800
Q. How do I apply for a Federal DOT number?
A. Apply on line at the US Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)