How Do I Get an Out of State Car Title?

By David Carnes
You, the title, you, a car

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If you wish to purchase a car that is titled in another state and bring it back to your home state, you must follow certain procedures. The simplest way to transfer title is to have the seller's title transferred into your name, bring it back to your home state and exchange it for a local title. Although the procedures for transferring out-of-state title vary from state to state, they are not particularly difficult or burdensome.

Prepare a bill of sale, which is required by some states. The bill of sale should identify the buyer, the seller and the car. It should also list the sales price and the date of sale, and should be signed by buyer and seller.

Have the seller obtain a lien release certificate from the lender, if a lien is recorded on the car.

Complete the assignment section of the seller's certificate of title together with the seller. This will require the signatures of both parties, and may require notarization.

Fill out and sign an Application for Title issued by the seller's state.

Take your government-issued photo ID, proof of insurance (in some states), the Application for Title, the seller's certificate of title, the lien release certificate and a check or money order for the required filing fee to the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A title certificate will be issued in your name. In some states you can obtain same-day service if you appear personally at the office.

Download an Application for Title from the website of your state's DMV. Complete it and sign it.

Complete any emissions testing procedures required by your state's DMV, to confirm that your car meets state emissions standards.

Complete a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) verification if required by your state to title an out-of-state car. This may require a separate form, and may require the presence of a notary public, a state employee or a law enforcement officer. The purpose is to ensure that the car has not been reported stolen.

Bring to the state DMV and submit your photo ID, the Application for Title, proof of insurance, emissions testing report, lien release certificate, VIN verification form, bill of sale, out-of-state title, and a check or money order for the applicable filing fee. Waiting times vary according to local practice.

About the Author

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.

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