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A car title is an important document that proves who owns a vehicle. Whenever a vehicle is bought or sold from an existing owner, that vehicle’s title must be transferred to the new owner. Most states do not offer an online title transfer option. However, you can prepare to transfer ownership of a vehicle either as a seller or buyer by downloading our online title guide. Our online guide will provide you with information on the forms you will need, the required fees and the specific title transfer guidelines in your state to help you have a smooth experience.

2. By Mail

Some states allow their residents to transfer their vehicle titles by mail, but these states may have certain eligibility requirements and limitations involved with this option. If you need to have a title immediately, attempting to transfer a car title by mail may not be the best option for you. You will have to wait for the postal service to deliver your request to the DMV and then wait for the postal service to deliver your new title to you. Additionally, payment options are typically limited to check and money order.

3. In Person at the DMV

The most direct way to transfer your vehicle title is in person at a DMV office. There are several states that require their residents to transfer their titles in person and do not offer online or mail-in options. Additionally, not all states offer title services through their DMV sites. As such, it is important for you to be prepared for the transaction and to know where you can apply. Our online guide offers all the information you need to transfer a vehicle in one place.


Finalizing the Maryland car title transfer procedure is a mandatory step after a vehicle owner passes possession of his or her vehicle to a new owner. Motorists can initiate the title transfers for cars through the state Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).

Note that in addition to meeting the MD title transfer requirements, you may also be required to obtain a new car registration during the same office visit. To learn more about transferring a car title and review the situations where an MD vehicle title transfer is necessary, continue reading the following sections.

What is a car title transfer in Maryland?

To ensure a successful transfer of car title in Maryland, vehicle owners will first have to familiarize themselves with the auto title transfer process and the purpose of their title certificate. Transferring a vehicle title is a process that results in the transfer of ownership of a given vehicle from one person to another. Failure to complete the MD car title transfer transaction will impede the new owner from registering his or her newly purchased vehicle and proving ownership of the said vehicle.

When is a vehicle title transfer required in Maryland?

Completing the Maryland title transfer for cars is a necessary step in situations when the vehicle ownership is passed to a new owner, regardless of the nature of the transfer. Therefore, in addition to transferring an auto title after buying or selling a vehicle, car owners will also be required to meet the MD car title transfer requirements under other unique circumstances. For instance, a transfer is necessary even if the vehicle was gifted, donated or inherited.

Information and Documents Necessary to Transfer a Title in Maryland

When transferring a car title in Maryland, vehicle owners will have to meet several requirements, such as presenting certain paperwork and information and paying the car title transfer fees. However, the title transfer requirements may vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the transfer of ownership. For instance, the following list outlines the document requirements for the transfer of a car title in MD after a private sale:

  • A properly signed title certificate containing the seller’s name and signature, as well as the purchaser’s name and address
  • A completed application for title, if required
  • The MVA bill of sale, if required
  • An odometer statement, if the car’s mileage cannot be recorded on the title
  • A safety inspection certificate issued no later than 90 days prior to the vehicle title transfer date
  • Proof of a valid car insurance policy
  • A lien release form and/or a power of attorney form, if required

Note: If the seller has lost or damaged his or her certificate of title, a replacement title can be obtained by submitting the MVA duplicate title application.

If you are completing the MD title transfer for cars under different circumstances, the vehicle title transfer requirements outlined above may vary to a certain degree. For example, when transferring the vehicle as a gift, car owners will also be required to submit a gift certification application. In such cases, the license plates can also be transferred if the vehicle has been gifted to someone.

Steps for Performing a Transfer of Title in Maryland

The Maryland vehicle title transfer and registration procedure can be completed in person through an MVA full-service office. Note that the option to complete the title transfer online is not currently available.

To successfully transfer an auto title, you will need to submit the paperwork and fee payments that apply to your current circumstances. When completing the MD title transfer for cars, you will also be required to register your newly purchased vehicle. If you have not yet had your vehicle inspected, you can obtain a temporary registration after titling the vehicle, which will allow you to obtain the safety inspection certificate and register your vehicle at a later date.

After processing your transfer of car title request, the state MVD will mail your new title to your address on file. On the other hand, vehicle registration documents and license plates are provided immediately after submitting an in-person application.

Note: After selling the vehicle, the previous car owner must return the car tags to the MVA before canceling the vehicle insurance policy.

Getting a New Car Title Versus Title Transfers in Maryland

Drivers are required to obtain a new title for a car in Maryland, no matter what their type of vehicle is. Prior to getting a new car title in MD, motorists are encouraged to identify the differences between applying for a new certificate of title and transferring an existing one to a another legal entity. In general, the state’s Motor Vehicles Administration (MVA) requires vehicle owners to order a new car title immediately after purchasing a new vehicle or moving from another state. If purchasing a car from a dealership, the dealer will have to apply for a new car title through the MVA instead.

Apart from applying for a Maryland DMV new title, motorists may be eligible to perform a title transfer procedure. In most cases, drivers must transfer a car title after purchasing or selling a vehicle. Furthermore, title transfers are needed when cars are received as gifts, donations or part of an inheritance. Overall, the title transfer procedure is conducted between two legal entities, regardless of whether they are connected by family or have not met before.

Car Title Transfer Fees in Maryland

To successfully complete a car title transfer in Maryland, applicants will be required to submit payment for certain fees. The costs to transfer a car title may include the standard MVA titling fee of $100 along with registration costs, since vehicle owners often complete the transfer and registration procedures simultaneously.

While the standard titling costs involves a fee and the MVA titling tax based on the vehicle’s market value, the fees to register the vehicle and obtain new license plates vary depending on factors like the vehicle class and weight. To learn more about the specific costs to complete title transfers for cars in the state, contact the MVA.

Last updated on Tuesday, January 15 2019.

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