If you have purchased a vehicle with an out-of-state title or are moving to a different state with your vehicle, you need to transfer the certificate of title in person or by mail. General requirements for this procedure include filling out your new state’s title application form, submitting proof of your vehicle ownership (such as a completed bill of sale) and paying the applicable fees, such as titling fees, registration costs and state taxes. In addition, many state DMVs require out-of-state cars to undergo vehicle identification number (VIN) inspections. Our digital how-to guide contains everything you need to know to transfer your title quickly and easily. You will get step-by-step instructions on the process, as well as information about how to complete other titling procedures, such as replacing your title.

2. By Mail

Some DMVs allow eligible residents to transfer an out-of-state title by mail. However, be mindful that this procedure is not typically offered to all vehicle owners in each state. Mail-in applications are typically reserved for drivers who are out-of-state or members of the military. If this method is available to you, you will be required to mail in a completed application form along with documents that prove you own your vehicle and that it has passed a VIN inspection. Moreover, you will need to include an acceptable payment method for the transfer fees, such as a check or money order. Note that mail-in requests can be delayed if an application features incorrect or incomplete information. Also, processing times may increase based on the amount of applications the DMV receives.

3. In Person

Depending on your state, you may only be able to complete an out-of-state title transfer by visiting a DMV office in person. In general, this is required so that your car can undergo a vehicle identification number inspection. During your visit to the DMV, you must complete the proper application form and submit documents proving your vehicle ownership. Additionally, you will be asked to pay for the applicable fees to transfer your out-of-state title. Because you will be dealing with credentials issued by different state DMVs, it is important to be prepared for the transaction in order to prevent long wait times or potential mistakes. If you do not bring in the correct paperwork, you may have to visit the DMV office at a later date to reapply.

The process to transfer an out of state car title in California must be completed by vehicle owners who have recently relocated within the state, and by existing residents who have purchased a motor vehicle from outside of the state. If you are wondering how to perform an out of state car title transfer, note that you will be required to submit the necessary paperwork in person through a local office of the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Also, when completing the out of state car title transfer process in CA, you will be required to register your vehicle at the same time. Get more information on transferring an out of state car title and review the situations when an out of state title transfer is necessary by reading the following sections.

What is a cross-state car title transfer in California?

To ensure the successful completion of a California cross state car title transfer, vehicle owners are encouraged to learn more about the importance of completing a title transfer for a vehicle licensed by another state. Motorists who would like to know what a cross state car title transfer is must remember that it is a unique titling procedure that leads to the conversion of a certificate of title issued by an out-of-state motor vehicle department to one produced by the applicant’s new state DMV.

Failure to re-title a car according to a state’s laws will prevent the vehicle owner from registering and operating his or her motor vehicle. Remember that when completing the CA cross state vehicle title transfer, an ownership transfer will only be possible if you are a current California resident purchasing a vehicle from an out-of-state seller.

When is an out-of-state car title transfer necessary in California?

Car owners may be wondering, “When is an out of state car title transfer necessary?” An out of state car title transfer is necessary when you bring a vehicle from your previous state of residence with you when establishing California residency or when purchasing a vehicle from outside the state.

Take note that the process of transferring an out of state car title must also be initiated if you have received the vehicle as a gift or by means of inheritance. All car owners will also be required to initiate an out of state title transfer regardless of whether their nonresident vehicle is considered new or used.

Note: Nonresident vehicles must be titled and registered by the state DMV within 20 days of establishing residency or purchasing the out-of-state vehicle under California law.

Information and Documents Needed for an Out-of-State Title Transfer in California

Submitting the corresponding title transfer paperwork is one of the most important requirements in the process of transferring an out of state car title. The documents needed for an out of state title transfer in California may vary slightly depending on the applicant’s circumstances and the nature of the ownership transfer. The following list outlines the general out of state car title transfer information and documentation needed to title and register a nonresident vehicle:

  • A completed title application form.
  • The out-of-state title certificate and registration card
  • A bill of sale and an odometer mileage disclosure, if required
  • A smog inspection certificate

If you are completing the CA out of state car title transfer as an existing resident who has purchased a vehicle from outside of the state, you will be required to change the vehicle ownership by submitting a properly reassigned title. In such cases, you may also need a filled out title holder release form and a vehicle transfer and reassignment form.

Note: Only nonresident vehicles that meet the state emission requirements and vehicles exempt from the law under certain criteria are eligible for a California car registration.

Steps for Completing an Out-of-State Title Transfer in California as a New Resident

Finalizing an out of state title transfer in person is the standard method of obtaining a new title certificate for a nonresident motor vehicle. Car owners are unable to complete an out of state title transfer online in California, since their paperwork must be immediately verified upon submission. To expedite the new state resident car title transfer process in CA, applicants also have the option of scheduling their visit to a local DMV office.

After following the steps to complete an out of state title transfer as a new resident, which is outlined in the section above, and paying the application fees, the state DMV will issue your new vehicle documents and you may operate your motor vehicle legally within the state.

Out-of-State Title Transfers in California After Buying or Selling a Vehicle

Performing a title transfer after purchasing a car from out of state is very similar to transferring an out of state title after relocating to a new state. The main difference in the process of transferring an out of state title after getting a new car is that you will be required to prove that the transfer of ownership took place by submitting additional paperwork.

In addition to completing the process of transferring an out of state title after buying a new car, you will also be able to convert an out-of-state title if you have received the vehicle as part of an inheritance or a divorce. In such cases, however, you may be required to complete additional steps in order to finalize a title transfer, such as submitting additional documents proving that you have legal ownership of the vehicle.

Cross-State Car Title Transfer Fees in California

In California, the cost of transferring an out of state car title is generally $15. This is the same fee charged for obtaining a new certificate.

Last updated on Tuesday, February 19 2019.

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