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New car titles cannot be obtained online or by mail. Titling must be done in person at your local DMV. Depending on your case, a car dealership may be able to request a title on your behalf. To make sure you are fully prepared for the titling process, download our informative online car title guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to complete the application process quickly and easily. You will also get in-depth details on how to complete other important title transactions, such as transferring ownership, updating information and replacing your title if it is lost.

2. In Person at the DMV

To obtain a new title, you must provide details that relate to your car, such as its make, model, VIN number, date of purchase, odometer reading and lienholder information. You must also fill out a title application and pay various fees, such as new title and registration fees, emissions and VIN inspection charges & more. Filling out the title application and gathering the funds to cover all applicable fees can be confusing. You may not know which application to complete or which fees you need to pay. Furthermore, arriving at the DMV unprepared will likely result in a long wait time and potential mistakes on your application, which would mean having to return to complete the transaction.


A Virginia car title provides legal proof of car ownership. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) manages all driver-related services, from getting car title documents to applying for vehicle registration and obtaining a driver’s license. Any time a car changes ownership, the auto title must be changed to reflect the name of the new owner. To learn how to get car title documentation in Virginia, study the following sections.

Where to Apply for a Car Title in Virginia

Vehicle title applicants in Virginia can obtain a title for car ownership by visiting a Virginia DMV office location. New residents should note that you must title your out-of-state vehicles by obtaining a pink slip at a Virginia DMV office within 30 days of establishing residency in Virginia.

The Virginia Auto Title Application

Whether you need a new car title because you just purchased a new vehicle, or you need a used car title for a previously owned vehicle, the title application process requires the same types of information.

Before applying for a new car title, a used car title or transferring an out-of-state vehicle title, the vehicle must first pass a VA safety inspection. Contact the VA DMV, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) or the Department of State Police to learn more about which vehicles must be tested and where to go for testing.

When you get car title documents, the main application is Form VSA-17A, Application for Certificate of Title and Registration. You can print the auto title application online and fill it out before going to the VA DMV, or you can obtain one at the office and complete it there.

Documents You Must Provide when Applying for a New Car Title in Virginia

Certificate of title documentation varies according to the type of car title you need. If you need a new car title because you are a new Virginia resident, in addition to your Form VSA-17A, you will need to bring proof of your current new address. This can be a utility bill, bank statement or pay stub dated within the last two months. You will also need your out-of-state car title or proof of registration, plus the purchase price and proof of sales tax if you have owned the vehicle for 12 months or less.

New car title applicants need to provide Form VSA-17A, proof of Virginia address and payment for title transfer fees and sales tax. These DMV car title petitioners will also need to show the VA DMV the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO) or Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO) from the dealer.

Used car title transfers due to private sales transactions require the buyer to obtain a valid safety inspection sticker from the seller. The owner must show the current Virginia car title that includes the odometer reading, and proof of the purchase price. If the vehicle is more than five years old, use Form SUT-1, a Vehicle Price Certification. If you are taking over the seller’s lien, you must show the DMV Form SUT-4, Transfer of Certificate of Title with Lien.

Take these auto title documents as well as proof of your Virginia address, such as a pay stub, utility bill or bank statement dated within the last 60 days. If the car was given to you, simply enter the word “GIFT” in the sale price space. If you need to get car title information changed because your spouse or parent gave you a car, they must complete a Purchaser’s Statement of Tax Exemption (Form SUT-3) for you to take to the DMV.

What is a Virginia car registration?

Virginia car registration provides proof that a vehicle is legally approved to be driven on Virginia’s roads. DMV car registration happens at the same VA DMV offices that handle car titles. To obtain new car registration in Virginia, drivers must provide proof of adequate car insurance, and in some locations, proof that the car passed an emissions test.

An emissions test may also be required when applying for auto registration renewal. Residents may apply online to renew their car registration after their vehicle undergoes emissions testing.

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

Virginia vehicle registration differs from VA car titles in that a registration shows that a car can legally be driven in the state. Auto registration provides a driver with license plates and stickers, but it does not show proof of ownership, which is the car title’s main purpose. To get car registration in Virginia, owners must pay the registration fee in addition to the car title fee.

For help in car title or motor vehicle registration issues, contact the Virginia DMV at (804) 497-7100 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or on Saturday, from 8 a.m. to noon, Eastern Time.

Car Title Costs in Virginia

All car title costs in Virginia are $15, regardless of whether you are requesting a new certificate or a replacement one.

Last updated on Wednesday, January 16 2019.

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