Last updated May 28 2019
UPDATE: Per the moderator of this forum, this POST will be kept updated with the most recent information based on member experiences. Registration costs increase by a few dollars every now and then so check for yourself before sending out your money.
I've used this method frequently for old abandoned motorcycles I bought that had no title.
Many states have hoops that they'll make you jump through before they'll designate your skoolie as an RV. "Meet four out of seven requirements" or such nonsense. New York, where I reside, is one of those states. They are a PITA with everything vehicle related, and I know many states are following in the same suit.
Vermont, on the other hand, is not one of these states. As of the date I'm writing this, all they requested from me was that I remove the school insignia and repaint the bus. They didn't require an inspection or proof of conversion. It should be noted, however, that I have a bus with hydraulic brakes -- although, under motor home classification they don't even ask about air brakes. Check with your state to see if you need anything extra to drive with air brakes.
Vermont will offer a transferrable registration for any vehicle over 15 years old. They won't give you a title -- but fear not, you can use this registration to then title your bus in your resident state if it's really that big of an issue. Realistically, it shouldn't be. I have been using out of state plates in NY for years without issue. If your bus is newer than 15 years you will receive a bonafide Vermont title.
- First and foremost, for transferable registrations (<15yrs), make sure you include a copy of your title. If you are expecting to receive a title (>15yrs) be sure to include your ORIGINAL title. If your bus has no title, make sure you have a bill of sale and a vin verification, verifying it's not stolen. As of now (01/01/17), it seems that a vin verification is only necessary if you have no ownership papers.
Vermont's application is named VD119
. It is the appplication used for title, registration, renewal, transfer, tax, et cetera. Listed below are the steps I used to complete the form:
- Fill out Section 1 with your basic personal information.
- You can skip Sections 2 and 3A. To be safe, I completed 3B with the sellers info.
- Under Section 4, check "new registration". Skip the bit about plate # and expiration, as this is a new registration. When it asks for your registration/plate type, manually write in "Motor Home" followed by 19. I believe this is the code they use in the system to designate personal use.
- Fill out Section 5 with the relevant info from your title. If you do not have a title, fill it out as best you can. Beneath that, just to be safe, I listed the amount of axles, empty weight, and gross weight of my bus under "trucks".
- Under Section 6, write in the price you purchased the bus for. Vermont uses the purchase value -- or the listed NADA value -- whichever is greater, to calculate sales tax. Most buses are not listed in NADA. In this case, simply use 6 percent of what you paid for the bus. In my case, 2550 x .06(%) = $153. Write your total under "Net Taxable".
- Leave Section 7 blank unless you are tax exempt or purchasing a vehicle over 25 yrs old. I do not know how that works if your vehicle is older.
Add up your fees in Section 9 and figure out the total. For most of us, this should just be the registration fee for a Motor Home (As of now, $76 for one year or $140 for two years) and the tax calculated previously in Section 6.
If, however, your bus is newer than 15 years, and you are expecting a title back, include an extra $35 title fee. Check should be issued to "Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles" for the total combined amount. For added comfort, add an ADDITIONAL handwritten page outlining what you would like to accomplish and itemizing the fees you are paying.
So just to be repetitive:
Transferable registrations: Buses 15 years or older, include COPY of title + bill of sale + completed application + registration fee ($76/1yr or $140/2yrs) + 6% VT tax (or proof that tax has already been paid) + handwritten note itemizing your costs
Titles: Buses newer than 15 years old, include ORIGINAL title + bill of sale + completed application + registration fee ($76 or $140) + title fee ($35) + 6% VT tax (or proof it's paid) + handwritten note itemizing your costs
**If you do not have a transferable registration or title from the previous owner, include a vin verification.**
Sign your application at the bottom and mail all that stuff in to the Vermont DMV at:
Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles
120 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05603-0001
Wait 2 weeks and call to check the status of your application. If there are no problems turnaround is generally 2-3 weeks.
As of 10/29/18, turnaround time is between 3-4 weeks. Registration generally takes the full month. Please plan accordingly.
Your bus is now legally registered as an RV regardless of your geographic location and the title or transferable registration that was issued will make it possible to retitle your bus in your home state with (hopefully) no issues, should you so choose. For most of us full timers it doesn't really matter as we're all over the place geographically.
**A NOTE ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TITLE AND TRANSFERABLE REGISTRATION**
As far as you should be concerned, there is none. Both designate ownership. If you look on the back of a transferable registration you will see a place to sign over your slip to another person in the event of a sale. Hence the added "transferable". Just like a title. A regular registration does not designate ownership. Only the title designates ownership. That is the difference. Depending on the age of the vehicle, and in some cases a few other stipulations, many states will not issue an original title. It does not matter. They are effectively the SAME thing. Please do not get confused by this or add fire to the discussion with anecdotal hypotheticals as every state will honor a transferable registration. One more time, when transferring to another state you will either receive a TITLE or a TRANSFERABLE REGISTRATION. Each state has a different policy and it does not matter which you receive back. A transferable registration is just as good as a title in every way.
Hope this helps everyone else struggling in the more difficult states. Leave a comment and tell me about your experiences.