A Washington DC car title is a legal form that establishes ownership of a vehicle. Getting a certificate of title proves that you own a car, so that you can get registration on that car. A car title includes important information besides the owner’s name, such as the vehicle identification number (VIN) that distinguishes it from every other vehicle.

An auto title is used to identify a car and to obtain auto registration. For more information on getting a title for car ownership and the differences between car registration and titling, continue reading through to the end.

Where to Apply for a Car Title in Washington DC

If you are new to the District of Columbia and are wondering how to get car title documentation, you should visit your nearest DC DMV Service Center. DMV car title services are available at four locations in the District and their addresses are listed below. You cannot apply for a new vehicle title online in Washington DC, and the only auto title transaction available by mail is the transfer of a title into another person’s name.

The Washington DC Auto Title Application

To get a new car title in the District of Columbia, you will need to submit the required documents. Also called a pink slip, an auto title will only be available when all of the appropriate information is included on the title application, so it helps to go to the DMV office with all the necessary information on hand. Below is a list of information that the Washington DC vehicle title application requires:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address
  • Lien information, if the vehicle has a lien
  • Odometer mileage reading
  • Make, model and year of car manufacturer

If you wish to obtain a new car title or a used car title, but do not plan on registering that vehicle, you may do so. However, you should keep in mind that you cannot legally operate any vehicle or even park it within the District of Columbia without first getting car title registration.

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

DC DMV car title approval is contingent on the submission of certain documents. Car titles will not be approved if the appropriate documents are not submitted. Furthermore, when applying for a vehicle title, always submit the original documents, not photocopies.

Your auto titles must not be altered in any way. If an original car title copy is altered, it will not be accepted and another original certificate of title will have to be obtained, delaying the application process. To apply for a car title in Washington DC, the following documents must be provided:

  • Current title or Certificate of Origin.
  • Lienholder Out of State Title Request Form (if you are applying for a car title transfer from another jurisdiction and the car title has a lien on it).
  • Bill of sale.
  • Proof of Valid Odometer Statement.
  • Certification of odometer mileage on back of car title, when signed over.
  • Certification of odometer mileage on dealer reassignment form, if purchased from a dealer.
  • Valid driver’s license or identification of new owner.

What is a Washington DC Car Registration?

To obtain car registration in Washington DC, you must first have the vehicle title in hand. Valid vehicle registration is legally required for any vehicle to be housed and operated within the District of Columbia.

For new residents, a Washington DC DMV registration is required within 30 days of residency, and you must convert your driver’s license before applying for a title or registration. Motor vehicle registration shows that you have met the safety and emissions requirements to drive in DC and it also provides you with the necessary license plates and registration stickers that permit your valid registration to be viewed outside your vehicle.

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

A new car registration and a new certificate of title are not the same, despite sounding similar. Car registration shows that you, the driver, are legally allowed to operate the vehicle, while a certificate of title provides proof of ownership of the vehicle. Washington DC vehicle registration and car titling do not have dual application.

Car registration must be applied for only after the DMV approves your auto title application. Once a car is titled, it does not need to be titled again until the owner decides to move away from D.C. or sells the vehicle. However, auto registration is a recurring process that must be renewed annually.

DC drivers may only get car registration in Washington DC by appearing in person at one of the four DC DMV Service Centers listed below:

Benning Ridge Service Center
4525 Benning Road, SE
Washington, DC 20019
Georgetown Service Center
3222 M Street, NW
Canal Level
Washington, DC 20007
Rhode Island Service Center
2350 Washington Place, NE
Suite 112N
Washington, DC 20018
Southwest Service Center
95 M Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024

Car Title Costs in Washington DC

Although the cost of a Washington DC car title is standardized, there may be some minor differences depending on your country tax and your method of payment. Below you can find the basic titling fees for the state.

  • New Vehicle Title – $26
  • Duplicate Title – $26
  • Lien Recordation (if vehicle is financed) – $20
Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.