In Pennsylvania, you don’t need a driver’s license to buy or register a car. And while getting car insurance in Pennsylvania without a license can be difficult, it’s not impossible. 

Keep reading for everything you need to know about buying and registering a car in Pennsylvania without a license.

Key Highlights
  • You can buy a car without a driver’s license in PA.
  • You must have a valid form of Pennsylvania identification to apply for a vehicle title and registration.
  • According to the Pennsylvania DOT site, you need valid Pennsylvania identification to register a car in PA with an out-of-state license.
  • You can register a car in PA with a suspended license but can’t drive it. To register a car, you will need valid Pennsylvania identification.

Can you buy a car without a license in PA?

Technically yes, but you will not be able to test drive the car or drive it off the lot. No law in Pennsylvania says you must have a valid driver’s license to buy a car, but you will need a government-issued ID to complete the transaction and title or register the car.

There are several reasons a person may need to purchase a vehicle without a license.

Here are a few:

  • You have a disability and need a car for your caregiver to drive.
  • You own a business and need a vehicle for your licensed employees to drive.
  • You have an underage child with a license and can’t legally finance a vehicle.
  • You have a personal driver.

Can you finance a car in PA without a license?

The rules on financing a car in PA for someone who does not have a driver’s license may vary between dealerships. Explain your situation to the salesperson if you don’t have a license. They might be willing to help you. You will need to provide all the relevant documents such as a government-issued ID and income statement. You may also need to show proof that the DMV has not suspended your license.

Can you register a car without a license in PA?

You don’t have to have a driver’s license, but you need a form of Pennsylvania-approved identification.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, individuals must have a valid form of Pennsylvania ID to apply for a vehicle title and registration.

You must provide one of the following credentials for identification purposes: 

  • Valid Pennsylvania photo driver’s license
  • Valid Pennsylvania photo ID card
  • Valid U.S. Armed Forces Common Access Card for dependents of the Armed Forces
  • Valid United States Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card 

So, while you do not need a Pennsylvania driver’s license, you will need  a valid form of ID from the list above to title and register a car in Pennsylvania.

Can you register a car in PA with an out-of-state license?

You cannot register a car in PA with an out-of-state license. According to the Pennsylvania DOT site, you need valid Pennsylvania identification to register a car in PA.

Can you register a car with a suspended license in Pennsylvania?

Yes, but you will need a valid Pennsylvania identification document from the list above. Remember, just because you can register a car doesn’t mean you can drive it. If you get caught on the road with a suspended license, you will face a major driving offense on your record, sky-high insurance premiums, possible jail time and a longer license suspension.

How do I register a car in PA?

Here are the registration requirements in PA:

  • Apply for Pennsylvania title and registration of their vehicles within 20 days of establishing residency in Pennsylvania.
  • Give the DMV your out-of-state title when applying for a new one.
  • If you still owe money on a car with an out-of-state title, you may have to refinance the balance or pay off the out-of-state bank or lender.
  • You won’t be issued a Pennsylvania title until the out-of-state title is submitted with a completed Form MV-1.

In order to title and register your vehicle, you will need to bring the following items with you to the authorized agent:

  • A valid title for all the vehicles you want to register in Pennsylvania, issued in your name, from your previous state.
  • Proof of Pennsylvania insurance, such as a valid insurance identification card, declaration page of an insurance policy, a copy of a valid binder or a copy of an application for insurance to the Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan for all of the vehicles you will be registering. These documents must indicate both effective and expiration dates.
  • A tracing of the vehicle identification number (VIN) or the verification of the VIN by an inspection mechanic or notary public at a dealership or issuing agent.
  • Appropriate title, lien, registration fees and sales tax (if applicable). 
  • If you are titling and registering a leased vehicle, the leasing company will also be required to complete Form MV-1L.

What are the minimum insurance requirements in Pennsylvania?

Every state has minimum car insurance requirements to be legal out on the road. When registering a car, you must show proof of Pennsylvania auto insurance. This means all motor vehicles out on the road in Pennsylvania must have liability insurance, this includes cars, vans, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, trucks, and buses.

You are in compliance with the PA law if you have liability insurance in the following amounts:

  • $15,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident
  • $30,000 for injury or death of more than one person in an accident
  • $5,000 for damage to property of another person

This insurance is referred to as 15/30/5 and is woefully inadequate if you are in a serious accident. This means that you will be on the hook for any accident costs that go beyond your coverage levels. 

You may want to put higher limits in place to better protect yourself and your assets. If you have a loan on your vehicle, your lien holder will normally require you to have collision coverage and comprehensive insurance on the vehicle as well.

Resources & Methodology

Sources:

PennDOT Driver & Vehicle Services. “Driver and Vehicle Services.” Accessed October 2022.

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Contributing Researcher

Mark is a freelance journalist and analyst with over 15 years of experience covering the insurance industry. He has extensive experience creating and editing content on a variety of subjects with deep expertise in insurance and automotive writing. He has written for autos.com, carsdirect.com, DARCARS and Madtown Designs to name just a few. He is also a professional blogger and a skilled web content creator who consistently turns out engaging, error-free writing while juggling multiple projects.