A Washington car title is a legal document that must be obtained as soon as possible after the purchase of a new or used car. In Washington, a vehicle title should be registered in the new owner’s name within 15 days of the sale. With most new car purchases, the authorized car dealer will submit the title for car ownership information and fees for the buyer, although drivers can choose to handle getting car title documents on their own instead.

Conversely, residents who buy a used car or receive one as a gift will have to get the name changed on the title themselves. To learn more about the different types of car title transactions in Washington, review the following sections.

Where to Apply for a Car Title in Washington

In Washington, car title applicants must first determine where they need to go to obtain a title for their newly-acquired vehicle. A DMV car title is sometimes referred to as a “pink slip” because in California, car titles issued before 1988 were printed on pink paper.

To obtain a pink slip or certificate of title in Washington, visit your nearest Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) office and apply in person with the documents listed below.

The Washington Auto Title Application

To obtain a certificate of title in Washington on a new car, you must first complete the proper application, Form TD-420-001, Vehicle Title Application. If you need to get car title documentation for a used vehicle, you will also need to submit a Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale along with the Vehicle Title Application.

These documents include information about both the buyer and the seller, as well as information about the previous owners, the lienholder (if any) and the vehicle itself. Some of the new car title information includes the car’s year of manufacture, make, model, color and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

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

WA auto title applications must be submitted with the proper documentation for the DOL to issue accurate records. Whether you need a new car title, a used car title or one for a vehicle that was gifted to you, the following list of documents will help you arrive prepared at a DOL office:

  • Photo identification card.
  • Proof of Washington address or a Primary Residence Address Exemption Form.
  • The current vehicle title, with the seller’s portion completed.
  • A notarized Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale signed by both parties, if the sale price and date of sale are not noted on the original title.
  • An Odometer Disclosure Statement, if the car title does not disclose the odometer reading and the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
  • An emissions testing report, if you live in Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish or Spokane County.
  • Certificate of title fee payment in cash or a check made out to “Department of Licensing”.

Some DOL locations accept MasterCard, VISA or American Express cards, but charge a convenience fee for their use. Consult the DOL website to find out how much your total payment will be.

Washington car title payment must cover the title fee, a subagent fee where applicable, and a Use Tax based on the vehicle’s fair market value. The Use Tax rate is calculated according to the sales tax rate in the buyer’s county of residence.

What is a Washington car registration?

A Washington car registration is a legal document that establishes a driver’s permission to operate a vehicle on Washington’s roadways. As in most states, residents get a Washington DMV car registration, at the same place they obtain car titles: The Department of Licensing or DOL. Although motor vehicle registration and car titles are obtained at the same place, they require different applications and documentation.

Furthermore, car titling and an initial car registration cannot be conducted online. Though, in Washington, car registration renewals can be easily carried out online through a trustworthy third-party provider.

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

The predominant difference between a car registration and a car title is that the title shows ownership while the auto registration provides proof that a vehicle meets all the legal requirements to be road-worthy.

These new car registration requirements include having auto insurance that meets Washington state minimum legal standards. To get car registration completed in Washington, you must also have a valid WA driver’s license before applying.

Car Title Costs in Washington

The Washington car title costs may vary depending on the procedure that is being requested. However, the standard fee that vehicle owners must pay for when applying for a new title is $15.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.