Making Sure Your Car Is Properly Registered In Connecticut

October 5, 2010

Vehicle registration stickers became a thing of the past in Connecticut on August 1st. Understandably, some drivers are concerned about what this change in procedure means when it comes to ensuring that their vehicles are legally registered.

Even though the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will continue to issue paper registration certificates – which must be carried in vehicles at all times – drivers may be concerned when they do not receive new registration stickers in the mail. Under the old system, drivers knew their vehicles were properly registered as soon as they got their stickers in the mail and affixed them to their windshields or, going back far enough, to their license plates. Now, they just get the paper registration certificate. Not surprisingly, I have gotten a lot of questions from constituents about the new system. Some have asked me how the police can tell anymore whether the cars they see on the road are legally registered without stopping them and asking to see the paper work.

Fortunately, the state Department of Motor Vehicles recently launched a new website that drivers can visit to find answers to their questions, and use to find out for themselves if their vehicles are legally registered. Drivers can go to, select the class code from the choices offered and enter the license plate number to see if the DMV has processed the registration payment and paperwork. However, it may take 10 days for newly submitted information to be updated on the website and drivers are urged to call the phone numbers provided it takes longer than that to verify their vehicle registrations online. You should know that this online verification service does not reveal personal information, such as names and addresses of those to whom vehicles are registered.

In addition to verifying registration information, Connecticut drivers can follow the “New Registration Renewal Process” link on the website to learn about the new system. There, drivers will find links to a video, a podcast, and answers to frequently asked questions. For example, according to information on this website, new technology makes it possible for police to check the validity of license plates from computers in their patrol cars, thus eliminating the need for registration stickers. Boats will still have registration stickers.

The DMV began allowing Connecticut drivers to renew passenger registrations online in 2007 if they do not have delinquent property taxes or parking tickets, and do have the state-required insurance coverage and emissions tests for their vehicles. Those with suspended registrations are not renewed. So far, about 400,000 persons have used this service. According to State DMV Commissioner Robert Ward, this latest change in the system – eliminating registration stickers – will save the state about $400,000 a year.

As always, I urge constituents to contact me with their questions and concerns, or to discuss issues that are important to Connecticut. I can be reached at my legislative office in Hartford at 1-800-842-1421 or via e-mail to [email protected].