Here’s How to Register a Vehicle in the Province of Alberta

Looking to register a vehicle in the province of Alberta? You’ve come to the right place. In the province of Alberta, vehicles that operate on public roadways are mandated to carry valid insurance as well as a Vehicle Registration Certificate, or VRC. The vehicle being registered must be within the province.

There are few restrictions to what the vehicle can be – whether that’s a motor vehicle, like your typical car or truck, or a non-motor vehicle, such as a trailer that is hitched to a motorized vehicle and towed. Vehicles are required to be registered to determine ownership as well as provide data if a criminal needs to be tracked, or when taxes need to be assessed.

Here’s what you need to know about how to register a vehicle in Alberta.

Head to Your Nearest Alberta Registry.

The first thing you’ll need to do when registering your vehicle in the province of Alberta is head directly to your nearest registry. Although many services can be conducted online, things like vehicle registration may mandate an in-person presence.

Ensure that you bring the following with you to your registry agent:

  • Proof of ownership. This could be a probated will, letters of administration, a lease, a bill of sale, an ownership document, etc.
  • Acceptable identification.
  • Proof of valid insurance with the name of the person who is requesting the registration.
  • A commercial, salvage, or out-of-province inspection (if applicable, depending on your scenario.) If the vehicle being registered is a used one that was registered elsewhere prior, you may be required to obtain an inspection first.

What if the vehicle is commercial? There will be additional requirements for the registration of commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles are any vehicles – be it car, truck, van, etc. – that transports goods or people for profit and is not used solely as a private passenger vehicle. 3 classes of license plates will apply to commercial carriers in the province of Alberta. These are not the same ones as the ones used on personal vehicles, and each commercial license plate permits a carrier to perform a certain type of work. Your registry agent may discuss further details with you.

Classes of Commercial Plates

There are three classes of commercial plates. Class 1 is used for vehicles that are used to transport goods owned by the owner of the vehicles or by another person for compensation, or passenger transportation (like taxi operations.)

Class 2 plates are for commercial vehicles transporting goods within 10km of the registered address or that operate provincially while conducting industry services.

Class 3 plates are used for commercial vehicles that are owned and registered to government, hospitals, school boards, First Nations bands, or hospitals. They cannot be used for vehicles that transport another person’s goods for compensation.

Overview of Vehicle Registration in Alberta.

You must be 18 or older to register a vehicle by yourself. If you are under 18 and not self-supporting/married, you must have consent from your parent or guardian to register a vehicle for the first time. The person that is providing consent will sign the consent at the registry agent office.

In the event you are temporarily staying in Alberta for a period of less than 183 days, and your vehicle is already registered by a separate jurisdiction elsewhere, you are not required to register your vehicle.

New resident of Alberta? You are required to change your registration to an Albertan one within 90 days of your moving date.

You will be required to provide the following information when registering a vehicle:

  • The first and last name of the registered owner
  • A physical description of the vehicle
  • The VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)
  • License plate number
  • License plate type

Can you register a vehicle on behalf of someone else?

In some circumstances, yes. You can register a vehicle on behalf of someone else. The person who is requesting the service on your behalf must bring a signed form of the Authorization for Vehicle services (completed by you, of course) and your proof of ownership document, proof of your valid insurance, and their own personal identification (i.e., a passport or driver’s license.)

The Registration Period.

All passenger, motorcycle, and even off-highway vehicle registrations are issued for a base minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 2 years.

Commercial vehicle registration is issued for a minimum of 3 months to about a maximum of 1 year.