Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

The car's vehicle identification number (VIN) is the identifying code for a specific automobile. The VIN serves as the car's fingerprint, as no two vehicles in operation have the same VIN. A VIN is composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle. A VIN displays the car's unique features, specifications and manufacturer. Prior to 1981, VINs varied in length from 11 to 17 characters.

The Hull Identification Number (HIN) is a 12 or 14 character serial number that uniquely identifies a boat.

VIN Verification Requirements

VIN verification is not required if a title will not be issued. See title requirements for vehicles or off-road vehicles for more detail on title requirements.

VIN verification is required for:

  • New vehicles with documentation other than AAMVA standard manufacturer certificates of origin or New Vehicle Information Statements.
  • All used vehicles with out-of-state titles purchased via private sale. (see exception*)
  • All vehicles which have "salvage" documentation from Vermont or any other state.
  • All vehicles being titled under bond.
  • All vehicles with registrations from any foreign country, including Canada.
  • Vehicles over 25 years old, when owner wants an exempt title.
  • Titleable motorcycles, 300 cc’s or more, last registered in another state.
  • All used motorcycles, 500 cc's or more, being registered/titled in Vermont for the first time, regardless of model year.

Vehicles with discrepancies in documentation, or which do not conform to established standards, may be required to have a VIN verification performed under terms and conditions as prescribed by and at the discretion of the Vermont DMV Chief Inspector's office.

VIN Verifications in Vermont

VIN verifications conducted in Vermont are to be completed by a Vermont law enforcement officer, personnel employed by a law enforcement unit who for this purpose are under the direct supervision of a law enforcement officer, or DMV employees designated by the Vermont Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

VIN Verifications Out-of-State

VIN verifications conducted out-of-state are to be completed by motor vehicle officials or state level law enforcement officials, or by those personnel authorized by that other state to perform VIN verifications, subject to approval by the Vermont Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Military personnel may have the VIN verification completed by the Commanding Officer or Provost Marshal of the military base. VIN verifications performed out-of-state must be accompanied by a letter of identification of agent on official letterhead.

Exception: For all VIN verifications involving U.S. Servicemen, in which a physical examination of the vehicle cannot be completed by the agencies or persons listed above, the Chief Inspector's office may authorize other agencies or persons to perform the VIN verification.

VIN verification is NOT required for:

  • New vehicles with factory-issued AAMVA standard manufacturer certificate of origin or New Vehicle Information Statement.
  • *Used vehicles sold by licensed Vermont or license out-of-state-dealers do not require VIN verifications as long as they were sold directly to the applicant(s) for Vermont registration and/or title by licensed Vermont dealers, and they have not been previously registered or titled to the applicant(s). Customers seeking a Vermont registration and title, who originally bought the vehicle from a Vermont dealer, who leave the state, then move back to Vermont with an out-of-state title, need to have a VIN verification completed before registering and titling the vehicle in Vermont.

Related Forms & Information

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Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles
120 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05603-0001

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