WA residents stationed outside the state: Vehicles & boats
Washington as home of record
If you’re a WA resident temporarily stationed in another state for military duty, you may continue to license your vehicles in Washington State. Military personnel include:
- Active-duty members of the United States armed forces:
- Coast Guard
- Air Force
- Members of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA).
- Commissioned officers of the public health service.
The spouse of an active-duty military member with Washington as home of record may also license a vehicle in Washington if both the military member and spouse are registered co-owners of the vehicle.
How to get WA plates when you’re stationed in another state
- Submit a Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application.
- Include scale weight – See vehicle title.
- For trucks include Gross Weight – See owner’s manual, NADA, Kelly Blue Book, or manufacturer’s website.
- All registered owners must sign and have their signatures notarized. You may use a notary public or an active-duty commissioned officer. If the commissioned officer’s signature, rank, and service branch appear on the document as a notary, no other proof is needed.
- Include all of the following:
- The title. The military person’s name must be on the title or the vehicle record.
- If you’re making vehicle payments, submit a copy of the title (front and back).
- If the vehicle is less than 10 years old, write the odometer reading on the title. If you don’t have the title, complete an Odometer Disclosure Form. You can get a one from any vehicle licensing office or car dealership, or by sending an email to email@example.com include a mailing address.
- A copy of the military person’s orders showing he or she is stationed outside of Washington for at least 90 days.
- A copy of a Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) showing Washington as the home of record.
- Fees – fees depend on vehicle weight, where you live, and the license plate type. To get an exact cost, contact a vehicle licensing office or call: 360.902.3770.
- If the vehicle has been registered in another state and owned for less than 90 days, submit the:
- If the vehicle is new (never licensed before) or was licensed in a foreign country while you were on active duty, submit the Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO) or Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO) with your application. For more information about importing a vehicle, see Customs inspections.
- Complete a Certificate of Fact for Address Verification — Exception form.
- Mail your forms, supporting documents, and fees to any vehicle licensing office.
All local emissions requirements apply to your vehicle. You won’t need to get a WA state emissions test as long as:
- You’re stationed outside of WA.
- The vehicle is operated outside of WA.
|If your vehicle was licensed…
|At your last duty station.
||You may continue to operate it with the current registration until it expires. Then you may license the vehicle in WA or the state where you’re currently stationed.|
|In a foreign country, and you’re returning to the United States.
||You must license your vehicle in Washington or the state where you’re stationed within 30 days of returning.|
Washington sales tax
You may be exempt from paying WA sales or use tax if you buy a vehicle while you’re stationed in another state. For details, see Tax exemptions.
Tab expiration dates
If you were stationed outside of Washington when your vehicle tabs expired, you may get a new tab expiration date. The expiration date will be 1 year from the day you apply, so the registration is valid for a full 12-month period. To get this new expiration date:
- You must provide a copy of your military orders showing the dates you were stationed outside of Washington.
- The tab expiration date must fall within the dates shown on your military orders.
How to apply
You may apply for a new tab expiration date in person or by mail. It isn’t available online.
- Apply in person at a vehicle licensing office. Bring along a copy of your military orders so we can verify your deployment dates, and a check or money order for the fees. (An additional service fee may apply.)
- Apply by mail. Please include all of the following:
- Your tab renewal notice.
- A copy of your military orders.
- A check or money order for the tab renewal fees.
Related laws and rules
Explanation of abbreviations
- RCW—Revised Code of Washington (Washington State laws)
- WAC—Washington Administrative Code (Washington State agency regulations)
- WA (Washington)