A North Carolina car title is the document that shows proof of vehicle ownership. Obtain an NC car title by visiting a vehicle registration office managed by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles. The state requires drivers to obtain vehicle title and registration documents immediately after taking ownership of a new or used vehicle.

Learn more about getting a title for car ownership and find out the differences between registering and titling a vehicle when you review the sections below.

Where to Apply for a Car Title in North Carolina

Auto title applicants must appear in person at an NC DMV office to file their documents. These offices can process your vehicle title, car registration or other transactions during normal business hours, and some offices offer extended hours to meet the needs of residents.

Many NC motorists are familiar with using state CAMS compact mobile offices for car registration renewals, but these units are not equipped to issue original NC titles. At this time, NC does not permit drivers to get car title documents online, but applicants may save time by going online to set up an appointment.

The North Carolina Auto Title Application

Get car title documentation by completing Form MVR-1, NC DMV Title Application. You may choose to apply for a DMV car title only, or if you prefer, you can obtain a registration and license plates at the same time. The NC auto title application is divided into four sections for vehicle, owner, lien and disclosure information, including the following:

  • Vehicle year, make, model, body style and fuel type.
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN) and odometer reading.
  • The owner’s full legal name and residence address.
  • First and second lienholder name, address and loan maturity date.

The certificate of title application must be signed by all parties named on the document and include a notary’s signature and seal. Getting car title documentation on a leased vehicle can require different steps and information, depending on whether the vehicle is licensed in the lessor’s or lessee’s name. Your DMV car title agent will be able to direct you in properly titling and registering a leased vehicle.

If your vehicle was a gift, you will still need to complete the auto title application and odometer statements listed below, but will also need Form MV-181, Damage Disclosure Statement. If you are wondering how to get car title documents as a new state resident, note that you must obtain your official NC driver license before applying for your car title or registration.

You may pay for your new car title or used car title fees with cash, a money order, personal check or Visa, MasterCard and Discover credit or debit cards. After completing all paperwork and payments, the DMV will mail your new car title, usually within 2 to 3 weeks of the date of application. If you need to obtain your car title or pink slip, sooner than this, see the note below regarding Fast Title processing.

Documents You Must Provide When Applying for a New Car Title in North Carolina

To avoid any inconvenience while getting your car title, make sure you bring all required documents with you when you visit the NC DMV office. These include:

  • A valid NC driver license or state-issued non-driver ID card.
  • An Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form MVR-180).
  • A power of attorney, if signing for a car title co-owner, and a copy of his or her driver license.
  • An additional document that proves NC residency, if you are a non-resident.
  • Proof of liability insurance via an insurance card or copy of the policy that includes your name, policy number and the issue and expiration dates.

What is a North Carolina car registration?

A North Carolina car registration is required for your vehicle to be legally operated on state roadways. A car registration provides proof that the vehicle has been approved by the NC DMV because it met all inspection and safety standards outlined by state law.

This important vehicle registration document should be kept inside the car at all times in case you need to provide registration verification during a traffic stop. If you fail to provide a valid car registration certificate to a police officer when requested, you can receive a citation and fines for this violation of the law.

What is the difference between a car title and a vehicle registration in North Carolina?

Drivers frequently confuse auto registration and car titling, and assume that they are one and the same. The basic difference between a DMV car registration and a car title is the purpose for which each document is used. As described above, a new car registration shows that a car meets the legal requirements to drive on public roads, while a car title shows proof of vehicle ownership.

A car title is issued once, at the time that a car’s ownership changes, while a motor vehicle registration must be renewed annually. When you get car registration renewals, you are required to pay an annual fee to keep the document current, while a car title fee is a one-time expense and the document is valid until the vehicle is sold again or the owner moves to another state.

Furthermore, North Carolina offers two same-day-service DMV locations that can issue qualifying applicants an Instant Title or Fast Title over the counter. Just visit the NC DMV located at 1100 New Bern Ave. in Raleigh or the Charlotte NC DMV office located at 6016 Brookshire Blvd.

Car Title Costs in North Carolina

A standard certificate of title in North Carolina costs $52. Additional fees for titling a car in the state include the following:

  • Vehicle tax: three percent highway-use tax
  • Mobile home tax: two percent sales tax
  • Duplicate title with reassignment: $72
  • Duplicate title: $20
  • Late penalty fee: $20

If you are interested in an instant title, you will need to pay a $98 fee.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.