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Vehicle registration

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Register a vehicle in B.C.

Before you can get licence plates and insurance for a vehicle in British Columbia, the vehicle must be registered with ICBC. Registering serves as the official record of your vehicle. It also identifies you as its owner.

How do I register a vehicle?

The steps you take and documents you need vary, depending in part on where the vehicle is currently registered.

30-day time limit to register, license and insure

Most vehicles must be registered, licensed and insured within 30 days of purchase. Vehicles intended for commercial use must be registered, licensed and insured immediately.

For more information about vehicle registration, please speak to your Autoplan broker.

​If … ​Then…
​you buy a vehicle that's already registered to another person or company in B.C.  go to your local Autoplan broker to complete the transfer of ownership and update the registration, then license and insure it.
​you're bringing a vehicle to B.C. from another province or territorybefore the vehicle can be registered in B.C., in most cases you'll need:
  • the vehicle's current registration
  • the Certificate of Title if your vehicle is from Nova Scotia
  • a signed and dated bill of sale, if the vehicle is not registered in your name. (Sometimes a vehicle registration document, signed by the registered owner of the vehicle and naming you as the new owner, is acceptable instead.)

To register, license and insure the vehicle, bring these documents to an Autoplan broker. For more details, please refer to the Checklist for Out-of-Province Vehicle Registration

​you're bringing a vehicle to B.C. from Alberta or Saskatchewan


under the New West Partnership Trade Agreement, qualified private vehicles imported from Alberta or Saskatchewan may be exempt from the BC pre-registration safety inspection.

The vehicle owner must be:

  • a new or returning to B.C. resident, and
  • the same owner(s) in the previous jurisdiction making the application for registration in B.C.

The vehicle must have:

  • been registered in Alberta or Saskatchewan immediately prior to being imported to B.C. and
  • privately owned or leased by an individual(s) and not a company.

Any of the following vehicle must be 3,500 kg or less:

  • passenger vehicle
  • commercial vehicle  or
  • motorhome 

The model year of the vehicle must be either:

  • four years old (current year inclusive) or less; for example in 2016, vehicle model released in 2016 (year 1), 2015 (year 2), 2014 (year 3), 2013 (year 4), or
  • five years old or more and must have passed a provincial vehicle safety inspection in the previous jurisdiction within the last 90 days.

Please ask your Autoplan broker for details.

you are bringing a vehicle to B.C. from outside of Canada you can register, license and insure it at an Autoplan broker, after you've imported the vehicle.

When is vehicle registration not needed?

The B.C. Motor Vehicle Act allows for the following exemptions.

​When…
​Then registration isn't required…
motor vehicles and utility trailers are used for touring purposes for up to six months.
motor vehicles and utility trailers (except for commercial vehicles) are used for non-touring purposes.for 30 days.
you are a student or member of the armed forcesbut you must obtain an exemption permit.

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