Noticed cars around St. Louis without valid tags? You’re not alone, here’s what to know

If you’re an Illinois resident looking to move to Missouri, you may be surprised to find the Show Me State has additional requirements for vehicle registration that you’ll need to complete within 30 days of moving.

Here’s what to know about registering vehicles from out of state in Illinois and Missouri, including fees, any required inspections and where to apply. Plus, see how many charges the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department issued last year for unregistered vehicles.

Failure to register in St. Louis

Some social media users have noted the number of expired temporary tags in the city of St. Louis, as well as some vehicles without tags at all.

The News-Democrat filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for traffic citations issued in 2022. The records show the police department charged 5,422 drivers for operating a vehicle without a valid vehicle license.

Here are some of the other charges included in the 2022 records:

  • Failure to display inspection certificate: 2,260 charges

  • No state vehicle license: 722

  • Counterfeit license plate: 5

  • Improperly affixed state vehicle license: 206

  • Obstructed state vehicle license: 70

  • Drove with license suspended: 1,807

Explore more traffic-related charges issued by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in 2022 using the documents below.

St. Louis traffic citations by Lexi Cortes on Scribd

How to register your vehicle in Missouri

In Missouri, residents have 30 days from the date of becoming a state resident to title their vehicle. To register a vehicle in Missouri that’s currently registered in another state, you need the following:

  • Original title or proof of ownership in accordance with the laws of the state where the vehicle is currently titled in your name

  • A signed application

  • Missouri safety inspection no more than 60 days old. (Vehicles less than 10 years old that do not have more than 150,000 miles on the odometer are exempt.)

  • Identification number and odometer inspection (can be fulfilled during Missouri safety inspection)

  • Current insurance identification card or other proof of financial responsibility

  • Residents of St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Jefferson need an emissions inspection no more than 60 days old. (Certain vehicles are exempt.)

  • Additional documents may be required.

In Missouri, you’ll pay an $8.50 title fee, $6 processing fee and possibly a $2 electronic transmission fee.

You can find safety inspection locations online in Missouri. Inspection stations can charge up to $12 for passenger vehicles and trucks and up to $10 for motorcycles.

Emissions inspections cost $24, and vehicles that fail can have one free re-inspection at the same station within 20 business days.

Cost-based waivers may be available for motorists who spend money on repairs required to pass the emissions test.

The Gateway Vehicle Inspection Program advises people to avoid doing repairs right before an inspection “even if the check engine light is on or you know your vehicle will fail” as it will disqualify you from a cost-based waiver.

Illinois vehicle registration

Illinois residents can access title and registration applications online, in person at secretary of state offices or by calling 1-800-252-8980.

Vehicle registration and renewal is $151 in Illinois, while the cost is $41 for motorcycles and $36 for trailers.

New residents have 30 days to apply for an Illinois title and registration after establishing residence, and must complete an Application for Vehicle Transaction.

Applicants new to Illinois also need to provide documents verifying the following information:

  • Owner’s name and Illinois address

  • Odometer reading from the vehicle (do not include tenths of a mile). Mark the appropriate box: actual mileage, not actual mileage or in excess of mechanical limits (odometer has rolled over)

  • Vehicle description including year, make, model, vehicle identification number, body type, whether it’s new or used and date of purchase

  • Names and addresses of any lienholders (in order of priority)

  • Original signature of owner or owners