If you become a resident of one state but own a car titled in another state, you will be required by the state of your new residence to transfer the title of your car to that state within a certain period of time – normally no more than 30 days after you acquire residency. The requirements to transfer title of a car from out of state are different from an in-state transfer between a buyer and a seller. These rules may vary according to the state where you are transferring your registration.
Read More: Vehicle Titles Explained
Determine if You Have Become a State Resident
Determine if you have become a state resident. You may become a state resident if you accept employment in that state – particularly full-time employment, claim a homeowner's exemption, lease a house or apartment, enroll in a local university under an in-state tuition program, obtain a local driver's license or perform another act that indicates an intent to remain in the state indefinitely.
Obtain Your Current Documents
Obtain your current out-of-state title and registration documents, and vehicle inspection report, if required. You will need to submit the originals, not photocopies.
Download an application for title from the website of your new state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent government subdivision. Fill it out and have it signed by all owners and lien holders, if necessary.
Undergo Emissions Testing
Submit your car to an emissions test and Vehicle Identification Number verification, if required by state law. These tests are performed by state-approved establishments. You will be issued inspection reports.
Obtain Proof of Insurance
Obtain proof of statutory minimum liability insurance that is valid in your new state.
Prepare Check or Money Order
Prepare a check or money order for the required filing fee.
Take Everything to the DMV
Take your out-of-state title and registration, photo ID, proof of state residency – such as a local driver's license or copy of a lease agreement, application for title, emissions testing and VIN verification reports, proof of insurance and filing fee to the local office of the state DMV. You will be issued a new title certificate within a few days to a few weeks, depending on the state.
Long stays in a particular state will not necessarily qualify you as a resident or trigger an obligation to re-title your car. Taking a sabbatical from your job to cross the state line and tend to an ailing relative, for example, might not be enough to qualify you as a resident even if you remain in the state for several months. State officials will be looking for acts that indicate an intent to "put down roots."
You should proceed with registration of your car at the same time that you re-title it. You should also make arrangements to have your out-of-state driver's license transferred to your new state.
- California DMV: How to Register an Out-of-State Vehicle
- Connecticut DMV: Requirements to Transfer Your Out of State Registered Vehicle
- Legal Beagle: Vehicle Titles Explained
- Legal Beagle: How Do I Get a Title for a Car That Doesn't Have One?
- Legal Beagle: How to Correct a VIN Number on a Title
- Legal Beagle: How Long Does an Emissions Test Take
David Carnes has been a full-time writer since 1998 and has published two full-length novels. He spends much of his time in various Asian countries and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law.