Obtain a Rhode Island car title in person or by mail. A vehicle title is used to show proof of vehicle ownership and as such, must be applied for as soon as possession of a new or used vehicle is taken. Residents are required to obtain a DMV car title in their own name and pay sales tax on the vehicle purchase whether they plan to register a vehicle or not.

The certificate of title process involves completing the state application and paying the associated DMV title fees. Keep reading the sections below to learn more about getting a title for car ownership in Rhode Island, including ways that getting your title differs from the car registration process.

Where to Apply for a Car Title in Rhode Island

Apply for a car title in RI at the DMV Headquarters located in Cranston, or at one of the five satellite offices located through the state. You may also send your auto title application through the mail, to the address shared below.

If you are wondering how to get car title documents quickly, it is recommended that you file your application in person at a DMV office. Although Rhode Island American Automobile Association (AAA) offices are affiliated with the RI DMV, they do not issue car titles despite offering a wide variety of other DMV services.

The Rhode Island Auto Title Application

For tax and new car title purposes, Rhode Island uses Form TR-2/TR-9, Application for Title. This DMV document is used to get car title documentation and contains multiple sections for information about the vehicle owner, seller, lien status and vehicle details.

Whether applying for a new or used car title, you will need to provide your state driver license number, date of birth, full name and current street address. If there is a secondary owner that you wish to list on the car title, you must enter the same information for him or her. The seller must only provide name, address, the date of sale and the dealer’s license number, if applicable.

Vehicle information includes the basics, such as make, model year, color and fuel type. The vehicle title application includes room to list up to two lienholders and their contact information. An odometer disclosure statement is included in section G and there are instructions for salvage car title certificates, if applicable.

After completing your auto title application form, submit it to the RI DMV along with your payment for the associated taxes and fees. The state offers a certificate of car title fee calculator online and accepts cash, money orders, checks and credit cards at their DMV office locations. For mail-in car title applications, please send payment by check or money order only.

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

Certain documents are required when getting car title documentation in Rhode Island. Those applying for an RI pink slip will need to provide the following:

  • Form TR-2/TR-9.
  • Bill of sale.
  • Title certificate or Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO).
  • Valid RI driver license or other forms of photo identification.
  • Proof of Rhode Island residency.
  • Tax form.

If you recently moved to Rhode Island and need to get a car title for a vehicle previously registered in another state, you must have a VIN inspection performed at your local police department before applying for your car title or registration. Add the inspection report to your list of RI DMV car title required documents.

What is a Rhode Island car registration?

A Rhode Island car registration is a document that shows you have gone through all the steps necessary to operate your vehicle legally on the road. A valid auto registration card is also proof that you are current on your car registration taxes and fees. Because adequate auto insurance coverage is required to obtain an RI vehicle registration, having a certificate of registration provides additional evidence that the car is properly insured.

However, if you are stopped by a law enforcement officer, a certificate of registration alone cannot be used to prove insurance status. You must also show a copy of your insurance card, so keep both documents stored in a safe place inside your vehicle.

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

A motor vehicle title, or pink slip, serves a different purpose from a certificate of registration, but some motorists assume the two documents are interchangeable. They are not. A DMV car registration card shows the name of the current owner and serves as proof that he or she has met all safety, taxation and other standards. Drivers get car registration in order to be able to legally operate their motor vehicles.

A DMV car title also shows the name of the current vehicle owner, but also includes the names of all previous owners. Its main purpose is to show proof of ownership, and is rarely used except for when the vehicle is sold again or the owner moves out of state.

A motor vehicle registration is used more often, such as when an officer of the law requests it during a traffic stop. New car registration must be obtained annually, while car titles are a one-time transaction that is valid for the entire period of vehicle ownership, however many years that may be.

Furthermore, use this address to mail motor vehicle title applications:

Division of Motor Vehicles
Research/Title Office
600 New London Ave.
Cranston, RI 02920-3024

Car Title Costs in Rhode Island

A new vehicle title in Rhode Island costs $51.50. Keep in mind that this fee does not include the sales tax on the vehicle purchase price you are required to pay.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.