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Title Transfers or obtaining a New Certificate of Title in California

A certificate of title issued by the state of California is a document that proves legal ownership of a vehicle. A title must be obtained when an individual purchases a new vehicle. A title transfer must also be completed when a used vehicle is sold or gifted, or when a vehicle changes hands as a result of the death of the vehicle's owner. In California, a title must be transferred in 10 days from the date of sale.


For new vehicles, the licensed dealer that sold the vehicle typically will accept and submit the required titling information and fees on behalf of the buyer. However, buyers wishing to handle the titling independently can do so. Those interested in applying for a new title without the dealer's assistance should refer to the How to change vehicle ownership page and the Title and Registration Frequently Asked Questions on the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website.


Sale/Purchase or Gift of a Used Vehicle

When you purchase a used vehicle, or obtain one as a gift, the title must be legally transferred into your name. This is done by obtaining the following documents, and submitting them along with the appropriate fees to your local DMV Office. Remember to make an appointment to save time.

  1. The California Certificate of Title, signed by the seller, buyer and any other lien holder. The title must include the federal odometer disclosure, if the vehicle is less than ten years old.
  2. Odometer Disclosure, if the title does not include this information and the vehicle is less than ten years old.
  3. Smog certificate, if needed.
  4. A bill of sale may also be required
Usually a title transfer is done at the same time as the vehicle registration. If you are the seller, you are required to notify the DMV of the sale within 5 days, by completing the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability form. This can be done online or downloaded and mailed to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability
P.O. Box 942859
Sacramento, CA 94259-0001    


Along with the appropriate transfer of title documents above, you will need to submit the following fees:
  1. $15.00 title transfer fee.
  2. Other applicable fees. The correct amount can be calculated while applying at the local DMV office.

Transfer of Title Following Death of Vehicle Owner

In the event of the death of the vehicle owner, the title is often transferred to the heirs or someone else identified in the owner's will. The procedures and fees for this type of transfer are similar to those outlined above. In addition, it is important to determine how the estate of the deceased has been settled by the heir(s). The rightful heir(s) will also need to submit an Affidavit for Transfer Without Probate. For more information on title transfers following the death of a vehicle owner, refer to the California DMV website, contact the local DMV Office.


Appropriate title transfer documents and fees should be submitted to the local DMV Office.

Additional Information

  • Contact the local DMV office if you wish to add, remove, or change a name on a vehicle title for reason other than those discussed above. You will need to submit a Statement of Facts in addition to the Certificate of Title.
  • If there is an existing lien on the vehicle, there will be additional requirements for transferring the title. Contact the local DMV Office for more information.
  • A valid title provides proof of ownership of the vehicle. However, remember that a title transfer does not entitle the new owner(s) to legally operate the vehicle. For this, refer to the appropriate registration information.

Reviews of Title Transfers or obtaining a New Certificate of Title in California

I paid my car off with Travis Federal Union and they sent the notification toCA DMV because I bought the car in CA. However, I moved to Arizona 2 1/2 years ago so my car is registered here in AZ. I paid my car off about 4 months ago so how so I get the Title to it?

I purchased a vehicle by doing a pay-off for which the lienholder was Honda Finance, they released the title and told that DMV will send the title to the old owner even though the old owner signed the transfer forms and send it to Honda Finance. Any suggestions how to resolve the issue?


I just whant to know about a tittle from a car I´m atempt to buy, the tittle has a mark "sold for export only" there is any way i can change it to my name?

My uncle died and I have his vehicle. I do not have the title and the registration has expired. How can I register the car?

I recently purchased a car and unknowingly, the title was signed a year ago. I have lost contact with the previous owner, and am wondering if there is a large fee that will be billed to me. If so, what would this fee average out to? The car is still registered until May of 2015

What can we do if my parents payer off the car but yet my brother wife put the car under her name is there any legal way we can go towards getting the slip and putting the car under my dads name we have asked for it nice for them to give it to us bit they are not willing what can we do help!!!!!

i am registering a truck i inherited from another state what do i need?


First, I am in the military and hold a Nevada Driver's license bearing my maiden name as I have to present in person to change to my married name. My car is titled in Texas and bears my previously married name. My car is registered and insured for Texas. I want to register and insure my vehicle in California and change the name on the title for my vehicle. I want to retain my Nevada driver's license as I am a Nevada resident as long as I am active duty military. How do I fix this situation?

get out of the military and stop killing people. then get a divorce and go back to your maiden name. and move back to texas. simple really... im pleased i solved your problems, but im not going to sort them every time.

get out of the military and stop killing people. then get a divorce and go back to your maiden name and move back to texas.............simple real......isnt it????

I just bought my First Truck and was Wondering if its Only $15.00 to Transfer the Title into my Name? I Don't want to show I to the Dmv with Only $15.00 and then they say that it'll Cost More

I purchased a vehicle in California and I drove all the way from Texas. The dealer said they would file the required state paperwork and make sure I got a title. I have called him every day. He keeps saying it will be tomorrow…it has been over a month - and NO TITLE!!! Aren't there laws in CA that prevent a dealer from robbing the public? I feel like I have been duped by a dealer….HELP!!! Who can help…the BBB, Attorney General, or do I need to file suit? I thought there were laws that prevented this fro happening. How can this person be a registered dealership when they are not competent enough to transfer a title? The dealer was Hemet Family Auto Sales in Hemet, CA….can someone there look into this? It is on a 2002 Porsche Boxster S.

Why on the website can you not release liability of a vehicle!? you can everything else on this website but "notice of transfer and release of liability" the form....but i can not summit it?! my vehicle was towed in 2008 and sent to a scrap yard...two days ago i received a letter from my employer that the dmv is trying to withhold from my earnings? my local dmv told me they cant help me...i honestly dont know what to do!

I have the same problem. Did you find an answer to your question? I would also like to know what to do.

como poder obtener mi titulo que conpre una camioneta y no me yego por correo ??

I have the same problem. Did you find an answer to your question? I would also like to know what to do.

I purchased an older motorcycle and only received a bill of sale. The seller said it had a salvage title. What do I need to do to change the title to my name?

I sold my car and the other person has not put the car under their name but I am getting billed for the vehicle registration renewal notice . What am I suppose to do regarding this situation.

I am going through a divorce that has not been finalized. I was given the Honda with my name OR my spouses name as the owner. He will not give me the title. Is the car mine and how do I get a title of ownership with just my name?

What answer did you get to this question?

I am going through a divorce. My wife has released interest in the vehicle by signing certificiate of title. How do I get a new certificate of title and what are the fees?

My son bought a used car and the owner said he would bring over the title, He has tried contact him, but no reply. My son has a bill of sale and needs the title so he can put the car in his name. what are the steps to obtain title, in need of help.

my sister gave me her car as a gift including the pink slip(car title). she bought the car from a guy but never really went to change the title officially at the dmv. now i have it and i took all the papers to the dmv. unfortunately, the guy(mexican) for some reasons signed on the back where my sister was supposed to sign. my sister signed on the second line below it. the dmv rep. told me to find the man and have him cross his name,intial it and fill out a statement of facts. the problem is, i can't find the guy. he moved out of his old place. what shoul i do?

Really? Did you really have to include that the man Is Mexican in your post? Was he born in Mexico??? That would be the only type of people you can classify as Mexican. You racist.

Our forefathers spoke German in addition to the queens english.. others spoke spanish.. since they were on the same boat.. and before we were an actual country.. (other than the fine nation of natives actually BORN to this land) there were also irish, dutch, french speaking people as OUR forefathers were working out the kinks of our constitution. ... In addition.. my dear, sad, angry fellow American if you traveled a wee tiny bit.. you would find that COUNTLESS countries have signs in at least two languages.. because they are so inundated with countless, colorful, expansive other human beings from other points of origin.. and they GET it.. that those who struggle want to expand their lives.. and some times it takes a while to make it happen. I sure hope you find a way to squeeze even the tiniest bit of understanding into your pained life..

It actually explains a lot by putting that he was Mexican in the post. In California, with a huge population of illegals, they try to pull lots of sketchy stuff to buy cars. Sometimes screwing over the seller like in this case.

As far as your double language statement; Yes, they have signs in their national language and English, because English is the language of business around the world.

My father and brother had a boat, title was held in dads name "or" brothers. Dad was killed by a horse, brother moved out of folks house, owed money for rent. Mom sold boat and new owner having trouble obtaining title. can mom transfer over as she is Dads heir? brother wont talk to mom so she can not get his signature. he abandoned boat. can mom fill out abandonment form and transfer to new owner. if anyone knows anything it would be appreciated.


I want to buy a motorcylce of a person who doesnt have the title for said bike. He was going to put a lien hold/sale on the bike but ended up not having the time to do so. He said I can start the lien sale paperwork on the bike to get my registration going. I was just wondering if this is true and legal or how long it would take so I could have better decision on my purchase. Thankyou