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The U.S. Department of State requires that all vehicles owned, leased, or otherwise operated by a mission, its members, and their dependents must be registered with the Department Office of Foreign Missions Diplomatic Motor Vehicle (DMV) program and must bear the distinctive red and blue Department of State license plates.

Foreign mission members who obtain a motor vehicle registration, decal, or a title from a U.S. jurisdiction will be required to surrender those motor vehicle documents and register with the DMV. Failure to register vehicles with the DMV will result in a $100.00 service fee.

All vehicle registration and title applications must be submitted through the mission or organization administrative officer using the Department’s E-Government Program.

The Motor vehicles leased or owned by the Foreign Mission Community that will be operated in any U.S. jurisdiction must be registered with the Office of Foreign Missions and nowhere else.

Once the proper documentation for registration is received, the Department issues a registration card, license plates and decal valid for one year. Each mission or mission member vehicle, with the exception of motorcycles and trailers, is issued two license plates, which must be properly displayed, one of the front and one on the rear, of the assigned vehicle at all times. The license plate with the affixed month and year decals must always be placed on the rear of the vehicle.  When applicable, one temporary plate is issued.

The vehicle title is retained by DMV until the owner applies for a title to sell, export, or junk the vehicle. If a lien exists on the vehicle, it is recorded and a lien title is sent to the lien holder to protect the interest of the financial institution.  When the vehicle is leased, a U.S. Department of State lien title will be sent to the lessor showing the leasing company as owner of the vehicle and the lessee as registered owner.

When the diplomat decides to dispose of the vehicle, they must apply for a title to sell or export the vehicle.  When the vehicle is leased, a U.S. Department of State lease title will be issued for disposition only by the owner (lessor) at the termination of the leasing contract.

Additionally, if payments are not made according to the loan or leasing agreement, the creditor has the right to repossess the vehicle.  The Department of State, however, asks that the Diplomatic Motor Vehicle program be contacted for information, instructions or assistance prior to repossessing any vehicle.  The DMV is ready to assist in order to avoid any of violations of international law.

For questions and concerns regarding the DMV Registration and Title Program, please forward requests to the contact information listed below:

Diplomatic Motor Vehicle Office
3507 International Place, NW
Washington, DC 20008-3025
Phone: (202) 274-1217

U.S. Department of State

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