I am sure you have answered this question somewhere along the line but I am having a hard time finding an answer! I recently shipped my car from New Jersey to Seattle for an assignment. What is the deal with having to switch over your car’s registration/license, etc if you’re only in a location for 13 weeks? Any info is greatly appreciated! Thanks David!
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
Good question and it’s actually the first time anyone has asked it.
You mentioned shipping your vehicle to Seattle, so I am going to assume that somewhere in that process, someone mentioned registration to you. For most of us, it’s not something we really think about since as you mentioned, we are only going to be there for 13 weeks. It’s also not something we think about because we often see automobiles from many other states as we drive. However, each state has their specific mandates and those should be followed. You should contact the state where you will be traveling and find out from their Division of Motor Vehicles what they require. That is my official answer to your question, now let me explain how it is often handled.
Many travelers that I know of do not register their vehicles when on assignment. However, I would not want to advise you to do anything that technically speaking, is illegal. I’m just stating what “other” travelers might have done in the past. Get my drift?
Most of this rarely comes into play since the only time it is usually questioned is with a traffic stop. As long as you don’t get pulled over while on assignment, you might never need to explain yourself. But if you do, many times you can explain yourself and if you are polite and courteous, you will not be cited for any registration offense (but if you were pulled over for doing 65 in a 35, don’t expect them to overlook the citation for that).
You can also check out the DMV site for the state where you will be working. Some only require you to register if you are becoming a resident (they will often define what actions they view as establishing residency). Others will have an out-of-state vehicle fee (which is often WAY less than they charge their state residents for tags). This route is obviously the safest and conforms with state laws. However, I have “a friend” who is a traveler and he has been pulled over in a few states with out-of-state plates. He simply explains himself and should he know of any requirement by the state to register (like say, you must register any vehicle within thirty days of entering the state), he responds to any question about how long he has been there with a standard “two weeks”. Remember, lying is bad and never condoned by this writer.
I hope this helps and by the way, the Washington state DMV can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org so that you can find out firsthand what fees might be required for out-of-state vehicles.