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If you have purchased a vehicle with an out-of-state title or are moving to a different state with your vehicle, you need to transfer the certificate of title in person or by mail. General requirements for this procedure include filling out your new state’s title application form, submitting proof of your vehicle ownership (such as a completed bill of sale) and paying the applicable fees, such as titling fees, registration costs and state taxes. In addition, many state DMVs require out-of-state cars to undergo vehicle identification number (VIN) inspections. Our digital how-to guide contains everything you need to know to transfer your title quickly and easily. You will get step-by-step instructions on the process, as well as information about how to complete other titling procedures, such as replacing your title.

2. By Mail

Some DMVs allow eligible residents to transfer an out-of-state title by mail. However, be mindful that this procedure is not typically offered to all vehicle owners in each state. Mail-in applications are typically reserved for drivers who are out-of-state or members of the military. If this method is available to you, you will be required to mail in a completed application form along with documents that prove you own your vehicle and that it has passed a VIN inspection. Moreover, you will need to include an acceptable payment method for the transfer fees, such as a check or money order. Note that mail-in requests can be delayed if an application features incorrect or incomplete information. Also, processing times may increase based on the amount of applications the DMV receives.

3. In Person at the DMV

Depending on your state, you may only be able to complete an out-of-state title transfer by visiting a DMV office in person. In general, this is required so that your car can undergo a vehicle identification number inspection. During your visit to the DMV, you must complete the proper application form and submit documents proving your vehicle ownership. Additionally, you will be asked to pay for the applicable fees to transfer your out-of-state title. Because you will be dealing with credentials issued by different state DMVs, it is important to be prepared for the transaction in order to prevent long wait times or potential mistakes. If you do not bring in the correct paperwork, you may have to visit the DMV office at a later date to reapply.


Vehicle owners wondering how to perform an out of state car title transfer in Wisconsin must note that they can transfer a car title for a nonresident vehicle by submitting the necessary items to the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, there are certain out of state car title transfer requirements that must be met when a state resident purchases a vehicle from an out-of-state seller.

Therefore, if you are a new state resident and want to transfer an out of state car title in WI, or if you have purchased an out-of-state car to be operated within Wisconsin streets, be mindful of the documents and fees established by the DMV.  Learn more about the out of state car title transfer process in the sections outlined below.

What is a cross-state car title transfer in Wisconsin?

Before applying for a cross state car title transfer in Wisconsin, motorists are encouraged to learn more about the out of state vehicle title transfer process. In general, a cross state title transfer is a unique titling transaction that yields the conversion of an out-of-state title to a certificate of title issued by your new state. However, be mindful that you must re-title a car on another state DMV’s records after purchasing a vehicle from outside Wisconsin in order to successfully register and operate it within the state.

When is an out-of-state car title transfer necessary in Wisconsin?

Car owners wondering “When is an out of state car title transfer necessary in Wisconsin?” must note that transferring an out of state vehicle title is a mandatory step whenever they obtain a motor vehicle from an out-of-state owner. Moreover, while you can still transfer an out of state auto title after relocating from another state, you will not be required to do so unless you plan on selling your vehicle within Wisconsin. For these procedures, make sure to have a bill of sale on hand, which is the document that proves that the ownership of the vehicle has been transferred to you.

Furthermore, if you would like to know, “Is an out of state title transfer necessary for new cars in WI?”, it is important to note that you are required to perform a title transfer only if the vehicle in question was already titled by another state DMV. Therefore, if you purchase a new vehicle on a manufacturer’s certificate of origin from an out-of-state dealer, you will apply for your first title with the Wisconsin DMV.

Information and Documents Needed for an Out-of-State Title Transfer in Wisconsin

Submitting the documents needed for out of state title transfer in Wisconsin is one of the more important steps in the process of transferring an out of state auto title. However, the out of state title transfer paperwork may vary slightly depending on factors such as whether or not the vehicle changed ownership and whether or not you are a new state resident who chooses to obtain a new title. For instance, the following WI out of state car title transfer information and documentation are necessary to title and register a nonresident vehicle after moving to the state:

  • The out-of-state title
  • A properly filled out application form
  • Proof of identity, such as a driver’s license or an ID card
  • Proof of paid sales taxes in your previous state, if you have been the registered vehicle owner for less than three months

If you are completing the process of transferring an out of state car title in WI after purchasing a vehicle from an out-of-state seller, you will be required to provide additional documents. For example, you may be required to sign a title containing the seller’s personal information and signature, as well as the vehicle’s odometer statement. Furthermore, you will also need a lien release form if the out-of-state title records a lien.

Steps for Completing an Out-of-State Title Transfer in Wisconsin as a New Resident

Completing an out of state title transfer as a new state resident in Wisconsin is a procedure comprised of several steps, such as collecting the documents outlined above and submitting them either in person or by mail along with the applicable fee payments. If you choose to finalize the new state resident car title transfer process by mail, you will be required to compile your application packet and send it to the DMV. However, if you decide to complete the WI out of state title transfer in person, you can make a visit to a local DMV office.

If you correctly follow the steps to complete an out of state title transfer as a new resident, the Wisconsin DMV will approve your request and issue your new vehicle documents promptly. However, it is important to note that while your registration certificate is issued immediately, a title may take several weeks, provided that you do not have a lien recorded. Under current law, you are also required to submit your vehicle to an emissions testing within 45 days of registering it.

Note: The option to complete an out of state title transfer online is currently unavailable in WI, since the state DMV reserves this application method for in-state vehicles.

Out-of-State Title Transfers in Wisconsin After Buying or Selling a Vehicle

To complete the Wisconsin process of transferring an out of state title after getting a new car from outside of the state, motorists will be required to follow the same steps as those that apply for titling and registering a vehicle as a new state resident. Therefore, to finalize an out of state title transfer after buying a car, you will have to obtain the necessary documents, fee payments and application forms, then submit them to the state DMV either in person or by mail. Once you complete the mail-in or in person out of state title transfer after buying a vehicle, the state will issue your registration card, license plates and vehicle title.

If you are transferring an out of state car title in WI under different circumstances, such as after the death of the original owner or after receiving the vehicle as a gift, you may be required to complete additional steps. For example, if you are completing a title transfer for a vehicle inherited from an out-of-state owner, you will also need to obtain that person’s death certificate.

Cross-State Car Title Transfer Fees in Wisconsin

The cost of a cross state car title transfer in Wisconsin is $69.50. This cross state car title transfer fee will include the state titling and registration costs, regardless of whether you obtain a new title or perform a transfer. Additionally, depending on the county you live in, sales taxes and certain municipal or county wheel taxes will also apply. If you are applying for an out of state vehicle title transfer in person, you will also have to pay certain service fees.

Last updated on Thursday, December 20 2018.

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