Motorists must apply for an Alabama car title through designated agents under the state Department of Revenue (DOR). Drivers may apply for a certificate of car title through a motor vehicle dealer, county license plate issuing office or certain financial institutions, depending on where the vehicle owner purchases the car.

However, vehicle owners must apply for an auto title immediately after purchasing a new or used vehicle, since a certificate of title acts as a legal document displaying proof of vehicle ownership. Motorists must apply for a vehicle title in Alabama before they may register a new or used vehicle. To learn more about how to get car title documentation and the ways in which car titling relates to vehicle registration, review the information below.

Where to Apply for a Car Title in Alabama

How to get a car title depends on the way in which the owner purchases a new vehicle. However, motorists may only apply for an AL certificate of car title in person through the assistance of a designated agent. For instance, drivers may apply to receive a title for car ownership directly through a licensed motor vehicle dealer if they purchase the new or used vehicle from a dealership.

Furthermore, motorists who purchase a vehicle from a third-party seller may obtain a DMV car title from a county license plate issuing official or participating financial institution such as a credit union or bank. After completing the vehicle title paperwork, the designated agent must submit the application to the state DOR within 10 calendar days.

The Alabama Auto Title Application

Vehicle owners must obtain an AL DMV car title application in person from their designated DOR agent, whether it be the motor vehicle dealership, county license plate issuing office or participating financial institution. However, the application is the same whether drivers need a new car title for a brand-new vehicle, or they need a used car title for a previously-owned vehicle. When completing an Alabama car title application, car owners must provide the designated agent with information such as the following:

  • The vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • The date of the vehicle’s purchase, and whether the vehicle is new or used.
  • The color of the vehicle and the vehicle’s year, make and model number.
  • The vehicle’s odometer reading.
  • The vehicle’s current title number (if applicable).
  • Applicant information, including the applicant’s name and mailing address.
  • Lienholder information (if applicable), including the name and address of the lienholder(s).

When finalizing the application for obtaining an Alabama vehicle title, all vehicle owners must personally sign the application in ink. In addition, the lienholder, assignor and assignee must print and sign their names as well.

Documents You Must Provide When Applying for a New Car Title in Alabama

When getting car title paperwork from a designated agent of the DOR, vehicle owners must provide the agent with valid documentation as part of the application process. To obtain a car title (also known as a pink slip), vehicle owners must provide the agent with the following information:

  • The vehicle’s previous certificate of title or the manufacturer’s certificate of origin.
  • The vehicle’s outstanding registration documents, if the buyer purchases the vehicle in a jurisdiction that does not require titles.
  • If the agent cannot determine whether the vehicle meets anti-theft, emissions and safety regulations, the vehicle owner may need to provide additional documentation.

Motorists who wish to get car title documentation and registration paperwork simultaneously must know that they can only register their motor vehicle after submitting a titling application. If drivers wish to register their vehicles after applying for a vehicle title, the designated agent will need to inspect the vehicle.

However, emissions testing is not a registration or titling requirement. Car owners must also provide proof of automobile liability insurance before they may register their vehicle.

What is an Alabama car registration?

Car registration in AL is a process that vehicle owners must complete within 20 days of acquiring a new vehicle. Before obtaining auto registration documentation, car owners cannot legally operate a vehicle on state roadways. However, drivers may only apply for a DMV car registration once they meet all registration prerequisites. For instance, drivers may begin the motor vehicle registration process once they apply for a title and obtain vehicle liability insurance.

When obtaining vehicle registration documents for trucks and/or tractors with gross vehicle weight ratings of more than 55,000 lbs, motorists must also provide proof of federal heavy use tax paid. Once motorists meet these new car registration requirements, the DOR issues drivers a new license plate and collects ad valorem taxes and vehicle registration fees from the applicant.

Note: Drivers cannot get car registration in AL until after they apply for a title.

What is the difference between a car title and a vehicle registration in Alabama?

While a title displays proof of vehicle ownership, Alabama car registration documentation acts as legal proof which allows drivers to operate their vehicles on state roadways. For this reason, vehicle owners must obtain car registration documentation immediately after applying for a title. Motorists may complete registrations and titles at a license plate issuing office through the county in which they live.

When registering or titling business vehicles, drivers must visit an office for the county in which the company vehicle is driven. However, drivers may title their vehicles through other designated agents as well, including motor vehicle dealerships, participating banks or credit unions.

Note: Vehicle owners must renew their DMV car registration materials annually, while drivers do not renew their title certificates.

Car Title Costs in Alabama

When obtaining a new vehicle title, applicants will be required to pay for the applicable fees. Overall, the standard car title cost in Alabama is $15.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.