Title Application

The purchaser of a motor vehicle shall make an application for a new certificate of title immediately following the purchase and no later than 30 days after the purchase of the vehicle.

Every application for an original certificate of title shall be made upon the application form furnished or approved by the DOT and shall contain a full description of the motor vehicle including the name of the maker, the vehicle serial number, any distinguishing marks, whether the vehicle is new or used, and a statement of any liens or encumbrances upon the vehicle.

Title Transfer of Ownership

Upon transfer of ownership, the buyer must surrender to the DMV the seller’s endorsed certificate of ownership.  Also, an owner is able to have their motor vehicle title issued in a transfer-on-death form by including in the certificate of title a designation of a beneficiary or beneficiaries so that, upon the owner’s death, the motor vehicle will be a non-probate asset that will pass to the beneficiary or beneficiaries named in the title.

Titles for Mobile Homes

Every owner of a mobile home shall apply to the DMV for a placement permit for each mobile home he or she owns within 60 days after the mobile home is acquired or moved into this state, whichever is sooner.

When a mobile home, park trailer or house trailer is sold by a Delaware licensed mobile home dealer the dealer shall be responsible for immediately submitting the application for certificate of title, related documents and all fees to the DMV for the purpose of securing a title.

The DOT shall not transfer the title of a mobile home or house trailer to a new owner until all county taxes levied by the jurisdiction in which the trailer is located have been paid in full.

Registration Application

The DOT shall not register or renew the registration of any motor vehicle unless and until the owner makes an application for, and is granted an official certificate of title for the vehicle.

Every owner of a motor vehicle or trailer, within 60 days after taking up residence in the state, shall apply to the DOT and obtain the registration for the vehicle.

There is no grace period for late registration.

An application for the registration of a motor vehicle shall contain the name and address of the owner, and a description of the vehicle including the make, model, type of body, the serial number of the vehicle, and whether it is new or used.

The owner of a trailer may elect to register it for a 2-year period.

Motor vehicles less than 10,000 pounds may be assigned any type of number plate except an “RV” plate.

Registration for Non-Residents

A vehicle which has been registered in the state, country, or other place of which the owner is a resident, and which at all times has displayed license plates issued for any such vehicle in the place of residence of the owner, may be operated without registering the vehicle or paying any fees to the state.

The DOT shall allow registration of motor vehicles owned by individuals who are not residents of Delaware upon presentation of an affidavit by the applicant, on a form approved by the DOT, swearing or affirming that the vehicle is principally garaged in Delaware and that the applicant is the owner of at least 1 other vehicle which is registered and insured in the state of the applicant’s residence.

The DOT shall allow the registration of trailers for individuals who are not residents of the state if the individual provides documented proof of ownership of a residence in Delaware and signs a declaration indicating that the trailer will remain in Delaware at all times.

Registration Type

The DMV mails or emails registration renewal notices to each vehicle owner on record approximately 90 days before a vehicle’s registration expiration date. Vehicle registrations may be renewed up to 90 days prior to their expiration date.

Emissions Inspection

Emissions inspection is required for all vehicles manufactured since 1968. Motor vehicles manufactured in the past 5 model years are exempt.

OBD is utilized as part of the state emissions inspection process.

Visit the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles for more information on exhaust emission inspections.

Safety Inspection

Before the DOT registers or renews the registration of a vehicle, such vehicle shall be inspected by the DOT and determined to be safe and fit for operation and found equipped according to the law. Motor vehicle dealers are able to inspect motor vehicles 5 model years old or newer that are owned by that dealership. The DOT may waive all inspection requirements of vehicles under 5,000 lbs. no older than the last 5 model years.

At any time any authorized agent of the DOT or any police officer may, upon reasonable cause, require the owner or operator of a vehicle to stop and submit such vehicle and the equipment for a safety inspection.

Title and Registration Fees


Title Fee: If no lien; $25.00 ($35.00, eff. Oct. 1, 2015); With lien: $35.00

Registration Fee: 1-5 yrs: $40.00/yr.


Title Fee: If no lien: $25.00; With lien: $35.00

Registration Fee: $15.00/yr.


Plate Fee: $6.00 plain plate; $10.00 special plate

Registration Fee: $2.00 for card; $1.00 for sticker ($10.00 for card; $5.00 for sticker eff. Oct. 1, 2015)

Driver’s License Fee: $10.00 ($20.00, eff. Oct. 1, 2015)

Title Fee: $25.00 ($50.00, eff. Oct. 1, 2015)

Special Plates: $10-$50.00

Plate Disbursement

The number and registration plates shall be the property of the state and shall be furnished by the DOT for each registered motor vehicle without additional cost to the owner.

The DOT shall furnish 1 reflectorized, numbered plate for each vehicle registered.

The color scheme for license plates gold on blue.

License plates are validated with stickers.

Handicapped license plates may be issued only if applicant submits proof satisfactory to the DOT.

Transfer of Plates

The license plate remains with the car upon transfer of title if new owner is a Delaware resident. If vehicle is sold to a new owner outside the state of Delaware, the plate must be returned to the DMV.

Driver's License Examination

Applicants must pass a knowledge exam, a vision screening (20/40 visual acuity required), and a driving test for an original license.

A vision screening is required every 8 years upon renewal of license.

Graduated Driver's Licensing

Delaware has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.

At age 16, individuals who have successfully completed an approved driver education course and have passed both a written and road skills test are eligible for a learner’s permit.

  • A learner’s permit holder must be supervised by a licensed driver age 25 or older riding in the front passenger seat and who has held a Class D license for at least 5 years.
  • No passengers other than the adult supervisor and 1 other passenger may be in the vehicle during the first 12 months of holding the learner’s permit (immediate family members are exempt).

After 6 months, learner’s permit holders are eligible for an intermediate license as long as they have completed 50 hours (10 at night) of supervised driving time.

  • In the intermediate stage, drivers may drive unsupervised between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Intermediate stage drivers may drive between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. only when supervised, unless they are traveling to or from church activities, work activities, or the license holder’s school.
  • Intermediate license holders may not transport more than 1 passenger who is not a family member.

At the age of 17 and after 6 months of holding an intermediate license, a driver in the intermediate stage may apply for a Class D license.

Driver education is required for all license applicants under 18.

Driver’s License Renewal

Driver’s licenses are in effect for a period of 8 years.

When an application for a license renewal is made, the driver must surrender the expired license, fill out an application, and pass a vision test.

Military personnel, their dependents, and students may renew licenses by calling (302) 744-2506 or by mail.

Military personnel and their dependents are not required to acquire Delaware driver licenses and vehicle registrations until 60 days after separation from the service.

The DMV shall not renew a license when the licensee has failed to pay outstanding fines or fees for traffic offenses.

Types of Driver’s Licenses

Driver Education Learner Permit: Authorizes the holder to operate the same vehicles as a Class D license while taking an approved driver education course.

Class D Operator’s License: Authorizes license holders to operate any vehicle with a Gross Weight Rating (GWR) of less than 26,001 lbs., and cannot be designed to transport more than 15 passengers or carry hazardous material.

Driving Privilege Card or Learner’s Permit:  Authorizes holder to operate any vehicle permitted by a Class D Learner’s Permit or Operator’s License.

CDL Class A: Any combination of vehicles with a GWR of 26,001 lbs. or more, provided that the GWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs.

CDL Class B: Any single vehicle with a GWR of 26,001 lbs. or more.

Endorsements and Restrictions: H — authorizes driver to carry hazardous materials; L — restricts the driver to vehicles not equipped with airbrakes; T — authorizes driving double and triple trailers; P — authorizes driving vehicle carrying passengers; N — authorizes driving tank vehicles; and X — combines both H and N endorsements.

Distracted Driving

All drivers are prohibited from text messaging and handheld cell phone use. Learner’s permit and intermediate license holders are subject to a complete ban on cell phone use. School bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving, except in emergencies and while parked.


No prohibition on wearing of headsets while driving.

Impaired Driving

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia prohibit the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, with the illegal per se limit set at 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (.08 BAC). Utah’s per se limit is 0.05 BAC. All 50 states and the District of Columbia set the legal drinking age at 21.

Every state’s chemical test law has ‘‘an implied consent’’ provision providing that any person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway, who is suspected of driving while intoxicated, consents to a chemical test to determine if he or she is inebriated. Failure to submit or pass such a test may cause the driver’s license to be suspended or revoked regardless of any court action finding the person innocent of the charge.

The most comprehensive resource on U.S. impaired driving laws is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Digest of Impaired Driving and Selected Beverage Control Laws.  NHTSA’s Digest is updated annually.

Delaware requires the use of ignition interlocks for all impaired driving offenders.

Move Over Law

When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle, public utility vehicle, or tow truck with flashing lights, motorists traveling in the same direction are required to move to a lane not adjacent to the vehicle and reduce speed.

Seat Belts

Seat belts are required for the driver and all passengers age 8 and older or over 65 lbs.

Violation of the seat belt law is a standard offense.

Riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck is permitted.

Child Passenger Safety

No child who is 65 inches or under in height or who is under age 12 shall occupy the front passenger seat of any vehicle equipped with a passenger-side airbag that has not been deliberately rendered inoperable.

Children under age 8 and under 66 lbs. must be properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards appropriate for the child’s weight and height.

Violations of the child restraint laws are standard offenses.

The maximum fine for the first offense for a violation of the child restraint law is $25.

Railroad Crossing

Whenever any person driving a vehicle approaches a railroad grade crossing, train or other on-track equipment, drawbridge, or automatic signal system controlling the flow of traffic, the driver of such vehicle shall stop within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail of such railroad, and shall not proceed until the driver can do so safely.

School Buses

When a school bus is stopped on the roadway or shoulder and is displaying flashing lamps, the driver of any vehicle approaching the school bus from the front or from the rear shall stop before passing the bus and remain stopped until such bus begins to move or no longer has the red stop lamps activated. On roadway or roadways with 4 or more lanes, the driver approaching from the front shall not stop.

Bumper Height

No passenger vehicle or station wagon shall be registered or operated upon any highway of the state if the bumper height exceeds 22 inches from the ground to the bottom of the bumper.

Headlight Use

Headlights are required to be on from sunset to sunrise, during precipitation, when wipers are in use, or when visibility is less than 1000 feet.

Hazard Light Use

Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

Tire Chains

Tire chain usage is permitted for hazardous weather or other related incidents only, but may not damage the highway surface.

Studded Tires

Studded tires are permitted October 15 to April 15.

Glass/Window Tinting

No person shall operate any motor vehicle on any public highway, which does not conspicuously display a certificate by the manufacturer of any “after manufacture” tinting material, stating that the tinting material meets the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 205.

Video Screens

No statewide restriction.

Radar Detectors

Radar detectors are permitted for passenger vehicles but prohibited for use by commercial vehicles.

Windshield Stickers

No person shall drive upon the highways of this state with any sign, poster, or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield, or side or rear window of the vehicle other than a certificate or other paper required to be displayed by law.

Other Equipment Rules


Motorcycle Equipment

A person operating a motorcycle shall ride only on the permanent and regular seat.

If the motorcycle is designed for passengers, it must be equipped with passenger footrests.

Every person under age 19 operating or riding on a motorcycle shall have a safety helmet and wear an eye protection approved by the DOT.

Every motorcycle shall be equipped with at least 1 and not more than 2 headlamps. A person may operate a motorcycle equipped with LED ground effect lighting that emits a non-flashing amber or white light.

Motorcycle Licenses

No person shall operate a motorcycle without being properly licensed, having passed an examination testing the person’s ability to operate such a vehicle safely, or without completing the Motorcycle Rider Education Program as implemented by the DOT.

Riders who take an endorsement skills test on a three-wheeled motorcycle will have a three-wheeled motorcycle restriction, in addition to the motorcycle endorsement, limiting their operation to three-wheeled motorcycles only.

Motorcycle Noise Limits

No person shall drive a motorcycle on a public roadway unless the motorcycle is equipped with a muffler to prevent excessive or unusual noise.

Mopeds & Other

Mopeds shall not be operated upon interstate highways.

No person shall operate a moped without having been licensed as an operator of a motor vehicle (though an operator does not need a motorcycle endorsement); minimum age is 16.

Regulations applicable to bicycles shall apply whenever a moped is operated upon any public road.

Mopeds shall be registered for a 3-year period.  Moped license plates have to be displayed on the rear of the moped so it is clearly visible.  All moped registrations will expire on December 31st.

Driving on interstate or limited access highways is not permitted.

The following safety equipment is required: headlamp, side and rear reflectors, brakes, mirror, and muffler.

Motorcycle operators under age 16 are required to wear a helmet. A person under 18 years of age shall not operate or ride as a passenger upon a moped or triped unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened helmet.

Moped are exempt from vehicle safety inspections.

Trailer Dimensions

Total length: 60 feet (65 feet for an RV towing a vehicle); trailer length 40 feet; motor home length: 45 feet; width: 8 feet 6 inches for trailers, 8 feet for motor homes (excluding safety equipment); height: 13 feet 6 inches.

Trailer Brakes

Every motor vehicle when operated on a highway shall be equipped with brakes adequate to control the movement, and to stop and hold such vehicle and any trailer attached thereto, including 2 separate means of applying the brakes.

Brakes are required for any vehicle and load with a gross weight over 4,000 lbs.

Trailer Hitch/Signals

Safety chain is recommended.

Trailer Lighting

Every trailer shall be equipped with at least 1 tail lamp, mounted on the rear, which when lighted emits a red light plainly visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear.

Trailer Mirrors

All motor vehicles shall be equipped with a mirror placed so that the driver may readily ascertain the presence of any vehicle traveling in the same direction and overtaking the Driver’s vehicle.

Trailer Speed Limits

No trailer carrying a gross weight of load in combination with a vehicle in excess of 4,000 lbs. shall be operated at a speed over 10 mph unless equipped with suitable brakes controlled by the operator of the towing vehicle.

Trailer Towing

No vehicle shall be driven upon any highway pulling more than 1 other vehicle.

The drawbar or other connection between any vehicle and the vehicle it is towing shall not exceed 15 feet in length.

If the connection between 2 vehicles, 1 towing the other, consists of a chain, rope, or cable, there shall be a red flag or other cloth not less than 12 inches square attached to the connection.

Trailer Other Provisions

It shall be unlawful to ride in a house trailer being towed by another vehicle.

Accident Reporting

Crashes are required to be immediately reported in cases of death or injury or when property damage exceeds $500.00.

Liability Laws

State has security-type law. All vehicles registered in the state are required to have the minimum liability insurance coverage of $25,000 for any 1 person injured in an accident; $50,000 for all persons injured in any 1 accident; or $10,000 for the property damage which may be done by any 1 accident, or a combined single limit of $60,000.

State has add-on, no-fault insurance law. Sale mandatory. Benefits, $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident; covers medical, loss of income, loss of services, and funeral ($3,000 limit).

No limit on tort actions except benefits received cannot be used as evidence in suits for general damages. Non-residents are covered as pedestrians or guest passengers in insured vehicles.

State has non-resident service of process law.