What I wish I knew about Tag Renewals as a New Traveler

I know what you’re thinking, “seriously, a blog post about renewing your tags?! I can easily do that online.” Well, yes, SOME of you can. However, some of us have tags that come from a county that require emissions testing. I’ve lived in two counties since being of driving age and both of those required emissions testing. I figured it was a state wide thing. It, in fact, is not. Actually only about 5 counties in Tennessee require emissions testing and they are hopefully getting rid of this requirement soon. However, until then, I want you to avoid the same predicament I got myself in. Two weeks before my tags were to expire, I thought “oh I need to find an emissions testing near me and I will just renew them online.” Turns out, since Jackson, TN does not require it, they do not have any state testing centers. Now some auto places provide them, but Tennessee requires you to get tested at a state center. I was a few hours from one and could not feasibly find a time in the next two weeks to commute to one. BUT THERE IS A THING CALLED “EMISSION EXEMPTION” What you do:

  1. Call the county clerk to let them know. The Hamilton county clerk gave me a number to call, who then gave me a website to go to in order to apply for emission exemption. You will need:
    1. Proof that your car is away from your home county
      1. You can use your lease as proof from your landlord OR
      2. I used a letter from my company stating where I was and what dates I would be out of the county. (There are other options but those were my 2 best options)
    2. Proof of residence 
      1. Aka prove you are still a resident of that county such as your driver’s licence 
      2. And they can mail the new tags to another address that one time
    3. You will have to provide a date that you will be back in the county and it is expected that you will then go through emissions testing (however you can keep extending the exemption I believe)

Here are states to be aware of that require extra steps to renew tags. You will want to get in contact with you resident county clerk ahead of time to see what steps you need to take in order to prevent your tags from expiring. Now, this really may not be a big deal to people, but I am an anxious person and rather NOT spend my income on traffic tickets of any sort. 

  1. States that only require emission inspections in certain cities
    1. Tennessee, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia 
    2. Hawaii and West Virginia don’t require emissions inspections, but do require annual safety inspections
  2. States that require emissions test every 2 years
    1. Arizona, Delaware, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin
  3. Some states have a combination of emission inspection and safety inspection every 2 years
    1. California, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, and Rhode Island 

I hope this very random article helps at least one person! And yes the feature picture is of me in a mask with a bunch of license plates on it!

Tips For Travelers Uncategorized

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