1.

Transferring a car title is easier with the right resources. Whether you are the seller or the buyer of a vehicle, online assistance services can help you navigate the title transfer procedures in your state. Depending on how you sold or purchased your car, you may need to complete several steps and fill out various forms to transfer ownership. Since this process is rarely straightforward, being prepared with the right documents, title transfer application and other necessary forms can help you make the process easier. Simplify the process by getting started today.

2. By Mail

Although getting online help is quicker and more convenient, some drivers prefer to deal with the DMV by mail. Since completing certain procedures by mail takes longer than doing so online, be sure to follow directions carefully when filling out an application, attaching documents and paying fees, since by-mail payment options are usually limited.

3. In Person at the DMV

Some transactions require visiting a DMV in person. In these cases, preparing beforehand can save you time and effort. Knowing what documents you will need and what steps you must complete before visiting a DMV location ensures you keep your visit as short as possible. Unfortunately, not all DMV offices offer the same services, so be sure to take advantage of the online assistance available to you before you go.


Applying for a car title transfer in California is an important step in situations where the ownership of the vehicle is passed between vehicle owners. Title transfers for cars can be completed through the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Note that the CA title transfer requirements may vary slightly depending on the applicant’s circumstances and the nature of the ownership transfer. Also, both the buyer and the seller will be required to complete certain steps to successfully complete the transfer. Get more information on how to fill out transfer of title forms and when to initiate the CA vehicle title transfer procedure in the sections below.

What is a car title transfer in California?

Prior to submitting a request for a transfer of car title in California, motorists are encouraged to learn more about the title transfer procedure and the purpose of their title certificate. Transferring a car title is a mandatory transaction that transfers ownership of a given vehicle from one individual to another. The certificate of title, also known as a pink slip in California, is the official document issued by the state DMV for purposes of linking the old with the new owner and signing over the vehicle ownership. If the buyer fails to complete the CA car title transfer, he or she will be unable to properly register and operate the vehicle. The seller, on the other hand, must also ensure the completion of the title transfer for cars in order to avoid future liability for the vehicle.

When is a vehicle title transfer required in California?

Vehicle owners are required to complete the California vehicle title transfer transaction on each occasion the vehicle possession changes hands, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the change in ownership. Therefore, in addition to transferring an auto title after buying or selling a vehicle, you will also be required to meet the corresponding CA car title transfer requirements if you receive the vehicle by means of inheritance or as a gift.

Note: After acquiring a vehicle in a private sale, buyers are required to notify the DMV of the change of ownership and pay the transfer fees within a certain number of days after the purchase date.

Information and Documents Necessary to Transfer a Title in California

To finalize the corresponding title transfers for cars in California, motorists will have to meet several vehicle title transfer requirements, such as submitting certain paperwork and paying the applicable fees. However, the criteria to transfer a car title in CA may differ to a certain degree depending on the circumstances surrounding the ownership transfer. For instance, the following list outlines the CA title transfer requirements regarding the documentation needed to legalize the ownership transfer after a private sale:

  • A properly endorsed title containing the seller’s signature, any lien release signatures and the buyer’s signature
  • A bill of sale, if required
  • A separate odometer mileage statement, if the title does not have a designated section for this purpose and the vehicle is newer than a certain number of model years
  • Proof of smog certification, if required

Note: In the event of a lost title, a duplicate title certificate can be obtained either by the seller or the buyer with the transfer application.

If you are transferring a car title in CA in certain unique situations, you may be required to submit additional paperwork. For example, if you have received the vehicle as a gift, you will be required to submit a tax exemption statement, in addition to the forms listed above. If you are completing the transfer of vehicle title after the death of the original owner, on the other hand, you may need a particular DMV affidavit.

Steps for Performing a Transfer of Title in California

If you are wondering, “How do you transfer a title on a car in California?” you should know that you cannot complete a title transfer online, so you will have to do it in person at a local DMV site. However, to expedite the transfer of car title in CA, you can make an appointment via the department’s website prior to visiting a DMV office as well. To ensure that you avoid a rejected application, check that you have collected the necessary documents that apply to your circumstances before making your office visit. Your transfer request will be processed as soon as the department confirms that you meet the relevant requirements.

Car Title Transfer Fees in California

An important step in the California car title transfer process is arranging payment for the applicable DMV fees. Note that the total cost of the title transfer for cars process will include fees for a car registration and new license plates if the vehicle owner chooses to register his or her vehicle at the same time. Therefore, in addition to the standard transfer fee and the applicable tax payment, motorists may be required to pay certain registration costs, which vary depending on the vehicle type and purchase price, as well as the motorist’s county of residence. If a duplicate title is necessary to finalize the transfer of car title in CA, an additional fee will also be required. To get more information on the costs of the vehicle title transfer process, contact the state DMV.

Have a Question? Get Quick Online Answers!