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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 06-06-2018, 07:44 PM
Location: Sandy Hook
87 posts, read 131,070 times
Reputation: 154


Hello all,
I'm a CT resident and I recently purchased a car in PA. I'd like to drive down with a friend and drive it back home to CT (approx 240 miles x2). Question is, does anyone here know how I can get this registered (temp plates) in PA so I can drive legal? I've heard that you can stop in any AAA office or insurance office and do this. Can anyone confirm this or offer a few tips? Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:38 AM
Location: Philadelphia
273 posts, read 198,942 times
Reputation: 724
Hello Marc-

In Pennsylvania, PennDOT is the state agency responsible for motor vehicle titling and licensing, but local PennDOT branch offices across the state deal only with driver’s licenses...and don’t handle anything involving vehicle registrations, license plates, or title transfers. PennDOT does operate one office where vehicle title and license transactions are processed, and it’s at 1101 S. Front St. in Harrisburg.

Since it would be impractical for everyone across the state to come to Harrisburg to get license plates or transfer a title, PennDOT allows a number of private notary and messenger services (a.k.a. “tag services”) to process title transfers and issue registration cards and license plates. This network includes most AAA club offices in Pennsylvania. You can find a location by using PennDOT’s office locator tool. Under Step 1, type in the ZIP code or select the county where you’ll be getting the vehicle, then under Step 2, select “Vehicle Registration Renewal” (even though that’s not precisely what you’ll be doing). Click Search under Step 3, and you’ll get back a list of offices that should be able to help you.

But regardless of whether you go to PennDOT’s office in Harrisburg, a AAA branch, or a local “fast tag” place, you’ll be able to get a cardboard “In Transit” plate that’s valid for 30 days. The seller will show the agent his or her valid PA driver’s license and the PA vehicle title, and you’ll need to show your valid out-of-state driver’s license and insurance card. The seller will remove the PA plate, and you'll use the cardboard plate to drive back to CT. Within 30 days, you’ll need to complete the title transfer in CT and put permanent plates on the car.

Once you’ve decided which office you plan to visit to get your In Transit plate, I’d recommend you give the office a call directly. First, if you go to a AAA club or “fast tag” place (rather than the PennDOT office in Harrisburg), you’ll be charged a surcharge in addition to PennDOT’s normal fee for issuing an In Transit plate, so you’ll want to find out what that will be in advance. Also, you’ll want to verify with the individual office you have all of the credentials and documentation that they expect to see (some agents are more particular than others), and you’ll want to confirm that they have an adequate supply of In Transit plates on hand. I worked a few summers at a AAA office, and we would periodically run out of the cardboard plates.

Good luck with your new car!
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