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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.

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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 of transferring car title documents must also be completed by car owners who have moved to another state within a specific time period after their move. Vehicle owners who fail to complete the car title transfer procedure through a local office of their state motor vehicle department (DMV) on time will be at risk of certain fines and penalties. For example, new state residents in New York who fail to transfer car title documents within 30 days of their move will be in violation of the law and they may be penalized with certain fines.

Note that the transfer title procedure varies based on factors such as whether you are transferring vehicle titles with or without a lien or whether or not you are transferring a vehicle from a state that does not issue titles. The transfer of title process can also be completed by military members stationed in a state other than their home state. For instance, members of the military temporarily serving in Washington can complete the vehicle title transfer and apply for in-state plates through the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL). Learn how and where to transfer car title documents after moving to another state by reading the sections outlined below.

Transferring a Car Title From a State That Issues Titles

When transferring auto titles after changing residences to another state, vehicle owners will generally be required to complete steps similar to those that apply for the in-state change of title procedure. However, unlike in-state auto title transfers, the process to transfer vehicle titles after changing your state may include additional steps, such as completing a vehicle identification number (VIN) verification and obtaining new liability car insurance. Also, car owners transferring car pink slips in states that offer exemption from the sales tax to new residents, such as New York, may not be required to pay all applicable costs.

To successfully finalize the transfer of certificate of title when moving to another state, applicants will generally be required to complete the following steps:

  • Test their vehicle for emissions (if required).
  • Visit a nearby DMV location.
  • Fill out the corresponding application forms.
  • Submit their out-of-state documents, such as their vehicle title and car registration.
  • Present proof of auto insurance, VIN verification and odometer reading.
  • Pay the applicable car title transfer fees and related costs.

Note: Certain states allow drivers to apply for both a vehicle title and car registration during the same transaction. For instance, new Maryland residents can transfer titles and apply for a new vehicle registration by using the Application for Certificate of Title (Form VR-005) for both purposes.

Transferring Out-Of-State Car Titles With Liens or Lease Agreements

Car owners changing car titles with a lien can typically complete the procedure by filling out and mailing a title release form to their lienholders who will afterward send the title to the applicant’s new state DMV. After the motor vehicle department receives the title, it will notify the applicant to return to a local DMV location to complete the remaining steps of the procedure. If you pay off the loan prior to initiating the transfer of title, you will avoid transferring your lien holder on your new car title.

To complete the auto title transfer of a leased vehicle, on the other hand, drivers will generally be required to obtain power of attorney from their leasing agencies before completing the remaining steps in the process. For instance, to transfer auto titles in New Jersey of vehicles leased outside of the state, you will first have to submit a request to your leasing company for official paperwork that authorizes you to apply for the transfer.

Transferring a Vehicle From a State That Does Not Issue Titles

Car owners will be unable to complete the vehicle certificate of title transfer process when they move to another state if their former state does not issue titles for their type of vehicle. Instead of completing the process of transferring auto titles in such cases, drivers with non-titled vehicles will be required to apply for a new car title with their new state DMV.

Since the transfer of pink slip procedure does not apply to your circumstances in such cases, applicants will have to submit documents that prove the transfer of ownership, such as the registration card of the previous owner and a bill of sale. The notarized bill of sale must generally contain the contact information and signatures of both the buyer and the seller, as well as information about the vehicle, such as its year, make, date of sale, price and VIN number.

Note: Since the car title transfer procedures outlined above vary due to the different practices of individual state DMVs, contact your state motor vehicle department to inquire about the specifics of your particular case.

Last updated on Thursday, December 20 2018.

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