Tesla Says ‘This Car Can Only Be Registered In’? Do This!

Tesla This Car Can Only Be Registered In

You have ordered a new Tesla, paid for it and are waiting to have delivered. The next step is registration.

Registering Your Tesla can be a daunting process especially if you keep entering your details into Tesla website and keep getting the ‘This Car Can Only Be Registered In? message.

To finish the legal registration process successful and enjoy your new car here are some basic facts about Tesla registration.

Why Does Tesla Say ‘This Car Can Only Be Registered In’?

1. Different registration laws for different states

Each state has different rules for registering Tesla and other electric vehicles. You should be aware of what the laws in your state are. You have to go to google them, go to your state DMV or state transport website.

Based on your state, Tesla will either organize titling and registration for you, or process and then mail you the documents you will need to complete registration at your state’s motor vehicle department.

A certificate of title is a legal document that establishes ownership of a vehicle. It’s used to transfer possession from one owner to another. The title is required to register or sell your vehicle.

States give vehicle registrations to regulate vehicle ownership and furnish data when trailing a criminal or calculating taxes. They issue a registration certificate and license plates only after paying a fee.

You must always have your vehicle’s registration certificate in the car whenever you’re driving. Some states provide temporary license plates so you can drive after taking delivery.

Most states give Tesla about 30 business days to conclude registration or you to process your self-registration paperwork.

Tesla will begin processing your documents once you have taken delivery of your electric vehicle and all payments have cleared. They will contact you for any missing information to ensure your vehicle is registered as soon as possible.

If you register your vehicle in New York, Massachusetts, Michigan or Pennsylvania, Tesla will complete registration during your delivery appointment. Tesla will provide registration and the state DMV will mail the title.

If you register your car in New Jersey, Tesla will complete registration and mail your title and registration card. Tesla will also mail your plates and registration once processing is complete.

If you register your car in Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, or Oregon, Tesla will complete registration and the DMV will mail your title and registration card. You will get a temporary registration placard to run your vehicle while Tesla processes registration.

If you register your electric vehicle in Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, or Washington states Tesla will mail your plates and registration once processing is complete and the state DMV will mail your title.

Tesla will title your car and present you with a self-registration packet in Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Nevada, and Ohio. Registration fees will be calculated and collected at the time of registration.

Tesla will title your vehicle and you be given documents you will need to complete registration at time of delivery in Idaho and Mississippi or via mail or email in Indiana and Nevada.

In Colorado, your DMV will alert you by mail once your car is ready to be registered online. In Ohio, you will receive an OH title or OH Title Memorandum if financing.

Tesla will mail you a self-registration packet if registering in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, New England, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin or Wyoming. Registration fees will be calculated and collected at the time of registration.

Fix: Know this information to understand why this message appears and then proceed from there.

2. Some states wish to protect local car dealerships

New Mexico, Alabama and South Carolina have banned Tesla direct sales and service centers.

Connecticut, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, and West Virginia prohibit Tesla direct to consumer sales.

Alabama for example bans electric vehicle manufacturers from conducting direct-to-consumer sales and instead compels those carmakers to send their vehicles to car dealerships.

These bans come from old laws that were meant to protect third-party dealerships car dealers from automakers supplying the vehicles.

Tesla can only sell and service its vehicles freely in about a dozen states while it faces restrictions in others. Tesla, usually does not endorse the dealer franchise model.

Tesla sells cars directly to consumers and removes car dealerships out of the process.

New Mexico has banned Tesla from offering sales or repairs without going through a dealership.

Tesla is not allowed to open dealerships in some states like Connecticut. One has to be added to a waiting list for the desired Tesla Model and pick it up New York. Connecticut then hands over all the sales tax to New York.

Other states that have banned Tesla dealerships are Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota.

Some states have limited the number of dealerships Tesla can operate.

Colorado and North Carolina can only allow one while Virginia permits two. Ohio allowsonly three. Maryland and New Jersey agreed to four while Georgia, Pennsylvania and New York authorize five.

Some states allow galleries- showrooms where you can look at Teslas but can’t buy them.

The state laws are outdated as they were established in 1930s to protect franchises and local dealerships from big auto manufacturers monopoly.

The lawmakers never envisioned a company model like Tesla: which manufacturse and sells its own cars in its own stores and showrooms, does not work on a dealership or franchise model and does not pay workers on a commission basis but considers them as part of the company staff.

Fix: The only solution is to contact your state representatives and get them to change the laws.

3. Teslas can be diverted to your location

It is very difficult to purchase Tesla models online and have them registered and delivered to another state.

Out of state purchase is not advisable for you because of the many complications that arise. You could lose your VIN, and your original place in the waiting line. Tesla has stopped allowing cars to be diverted in some states.

When Your Tesla says ‘This Car Can Only Be Registered In’ because you are not eligible to be registered in your state.

However, this rule has an exception. Out of state purchase can be done. And so can complicated in state registration.

If your Tesla is within a delivery range of less than 220 miles, but not eligible to be registered in your state you can request your Tesla Sales Advisor to override the system for you.

Your zip code could make a big difference. This override is not a guarantee but you should still try. You can follow this procedure.

1. Buy the electric vehicle.

2. Trying entering your registration information.

3. If the “This Car Can Only Be Registered In….” error comes up, reach out to Tesla and explain your circumstances.

Tesla might help you by overriding the system and allow you to input your registration and you will find yourself picking your Tesla Model Y, X, 3 or S up in a week or a fortnight.

When Tesla notices you have bought a car and have not registered, they will contact you and ask you to complete registration – a legal requirement. You then request an override of the registration from the standard 510 text number.

Here is an illustration of how to go about it. When Tesla texts you about registration you can phrase your answer this way “I would love to, but I cannot input my registration information. It says that the delivery center state is not eligible for my state even though it showed on the website as available for my zip code”

Tesla will confirm your address and an hour or two later replies with “This has been fixed” and you can now complete all the remaining statutory steps.

You can also try this other method. As soon put in an order and pay the $250 you get a text from Tesla prompting you to take action/tasks to complete registration. Text them back and request a call back. They might or not call you back.

Note that there might a delay in response if you call the general Tesla telephone number. There are many callers and you will be on the line for hours.

Texting is the best way to get Tesla to solve your registration issues. Try texting the following your mobile# referencing your RN number and then send your message to (510) 662-6378.

You have to decide for yourself whether the car is worth the trouble as this approach has risks.

  1. You would have to make an order again.
  2. You could be denied registration again.
  3. You could lose the second $250 order fee due to depreciation and you could probably fall outside of the tax credit window.

Every state has different registration requirements and all states want to keep the sales tax income.

States operate on a system of state tax reciprocity agreements.

Tesla handles all the sales tax collection and registration/titling of new car sales.

The electric vehicle company tends to control the sales tax income by limiting sales to states where the buyer can get credit for the taxes paid to another state.

Fix – But if you insist and push the Sales Advisor, you can buy a new car from any state without paying sales tax except in the State of California, and have the car shipped to your own state.

You can have it registered, insured, and pay your state the sales tax upon registration in your own state.

However, from a legal perspective this a very difficult process as Tesla policies and new car dealers are required to register new cars and collect the local sales tax.

You can avoid paying tax in CA if you take delivery out of state by showing notarized statement that delivery was taken out of state as proof.

4. Logistics

When you look at a car in Tesla inventory in another state, it always says “This car can only be registered in <a list of nearby states>.

Some inventory cars cannot be registered in the very state they were located.

Fix: You have to go over the head of your Sales Advisor and speak to the Sales Manager supervising him as soon as possible and he has the power to override this restriction.

Tesla has a very high demand, a long waiting list and want to cut own on costs by avoiding shipping cars in many locations.

They want to save on time, money, and logistics. They want to keep their cars in certain geographical hubs or centers but a manager can override this rule.

So, if you or someone you know buys a new Tesla and encounters a problem message saying ‘This Car Can Only Be Registered In …., you have the information at your fingertips to enlighten him on the causes and fixes for this alert.

Brady Klinger-Meyers is an experienced writer and marketer with who currently writes for Teslord as well as other popular sites like MakeUseOf and Techzillo. At Teslords, he focuses on general Tesla advice with his interest being accessories and gadgets. Read our Editorial Guidelines and Fact Checking process.


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