A Pennsylvania car title is a certificate of ownership issued by the state that provides information about the vehicle and its owner and can be used to prove car ownership, when needed. A new car title must be issued or an old one updated any time a vehicle’s owner changes, whether due to purchasing, gifting or inheriting it.

Residents new to the state must apply for a vehicle title transfer and then apply for new car registration within 20 days of moving into the state. In most cases, title and registration transactions can be performed simultaneously at one location. For more information about the types of car title transactions in Pennsylvania, review the following sections.

Where to Apply for a Car Title in Pennsylvania

All applicants getting car title documentation need to appear in person at a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) office. For private vehicle sales, a DMV car title can only be acquired when the buyer and the seller appear in person at the PennDOT office.

The exception to this vehicle title rule are those who have purchased a new car from a licensed Pennsylvania car dealership. In these cases, the dealer handles new car title acquisition for its customers.

The Pennsylvania Auto Title Application

Pennsylvanians who need a title for car ownership must file the appropriate application with PennDOT. Some people need a pink slip because they just moved to the state of Pennsylvania, while others need a certificate of title because they have purchased a used car from a friend or inherited a vehicle from a relative. In the case of private car sales, the buyer and the seller must appear together at PennDOT with photo ID and sign all documents in front of a PennDOT agent.

The basic form used in most Pennsylvania auto title applications is Form MV-1, Application for Certificate of Title. Additionally, a bill of sale form may be accepted by the DMV. If you have questions about the type of car title form needed in your case, contact your local PennDOT office and ask to speak to an agent familiar with car titles.

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

The paperwork required to get car title documentation in Pennsylvania is basically the same regardless of the type of transaction. In addition to filing Form MV-1, drivers seeking a new or used car title should bring the following documents to their PennDOT appointment:

  • Pennsylvania driver’s license, photo ID or U.S. Armed Forces Common Access Card.
  • Current vehicle title.
  • A tracing of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or a VIN verification from a PennDOT agent or dealership.
  • Proof of the auto title applicant’s car insurance, such as an insurance ID card that includes the name and address of the insured individual, VIN number, policy number and policy expiration date.
  • Payment for all car title fees and taxes, including the fee for local use that some counties require.

Applicants who received a vehicle as a gift will need to file Form MV-13ST, Affidavit of Gift. New resident vehicle title transfers need to show proof of sales tax paid in another state if the vehicle was purchased within the past six months.

Overall, PennDOT offices do not accept cash or credit card payments. All Pennsylvania car title applicants must pay with checks or money orders made payable to PennDOT.

What is a Pennsylvania car registration?

Car owners need to get car registration in Pennsylvania after they obtain a PA car tile and driver’s license. Auto registration is something that all states require to keep drivers and their vehicles operating safely on our nation’s roadways.

The fact that a vehicle has DMV car registration proves that it has met safety and emissions testing requirements and that its owner is licensed to drive it. Most applicants can complete their Pennsylvania car registration right after they apply for a new car title or title transfer at PennDOT.

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

A Pennsylvania car title and a motor vehicle registration are two entirely different documents. A car’s title shows who legally owns the vehicle while a new car registration shows that the state has knowledge of the vehicle and its roadworthiness.

A PA license plate provides proof that the car bearing it has been registered and that the vehicle’s owner has met Pennsylvania’s registration requirements.

Car Title Costs in Pennsylvania

The fee to get a vehicle title in Pennsylvania is $53 for non-commercial vehicles.

Last updated on Friday, March 8 2019.

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