If you have purchased a motorcycle in North Carolina, you will need to obtain motorcycle registration in order to legally ride it on roads. The process of registering a motorcycle is the same as registering a car. Follow these steps and you will be given a motorcycle registration certificate that you will need to ride your motorcycle on public roads.

If you are a new resident in North Carolina with an out-of-state motorcycle, you must register your motorcycle within 30 days of establishing residency.

Registration Process

To get your motorcycle registration and title, you must complete a title application at any local vehicle and license plate renewal office. You must sign your application in the presence of a notary. If you bought your cycle from a dealership, you will also need to present the bill of sale and a damage disclosure statement.

Below is a summary of steps you can follow when registering and titling your motorcycle:

  1. Obtain North Carolina driver’s license.
  2. Purchase liability insurance for your motorcycle.
  3. Obtain the certificate of title, NC registration or out-of-state registration card.
  4. Obtain a lien release from a lienholder, if applicable.
  5. Go in person to any local vehicle and license plate renewal office.
  6. Complete the Title Application form and make sure you have signed it in the presence of a public notary.
  7. Pay $40 registration fee.
  8. If your motorcycle is less than 10 years old, you will need to present odometer statement.
  9. If the motorcycle was purchased from a dealership, you will need to obtain a Damage Disclosure statement from the dealer.

Once you submit your application and applicable fee, you will receive license plates for your motorcycle. You will need to mount these plates on your motorcycle. You will also receive your title in mail. If you are financing your bike, the title will be mailed to lien holder. If you are registering an out-of-state motorcycle, you must take it for inspection first.

The Raleigh and Charlotte state offices issue instant titles over the counter. You can request this type of title at an extra fee of $75.

If you live in Durham, Wake, and Orange Counties, you may be charged $5 Regional Transportation Authority Registration Tax when applying for your motorcycle registration. The additional $5 charges is when you own the following types of vehicles.

  • Private passenger vehicles.
  • Private motorcycle
  • U-drive it passenger vehicles.
  • Limousine vehicles.
  • Contract carriers, common carriers.
  • Property hauling.
  • Manufacturer and motor vehicle dealers.

If you are transferring registration or title into your name, the state will collect 3% Highway Use Tax from you.