How to Transfer a Car Title to a Child in North Carolina

Smiling father leaning in car window giving instructions for daughter learning to drive
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Before a vehicle can be registered to a child in the state of North Carolina, the state Division of Motor Vehicles requires a title transfer. A title is a legal document that serves as proof of the vehicle’s ownership.

When a family member transfers ownership of their car to a child, they must transfer title within 28 days of the vehicle’s delivery or the date of the document’s notarization or they will receive a penalty fee.

Transferring a title to a family member is not much different from transferring title to anyone else. The biggest difference is that the recipient is exempt from the state’s highway use tax – but to be exempt, they’ll have to complete an exemption form.

What Is a Vehicle Title Transfer?

Whenever an owner plans to change ownership of their vehicle, they must transfer its title to the recipient before that person can register it. It does not matter if the vehicle goes to a family member as a gift or inheritance or through a private sale – a title transfer must take place between the two parties.

To transfer title, all parties must meet the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requirements, which include the proper documents, proof of liability insurance, and a registration fee of $56. The title transfer must take place within 28 days after the purchase or receipt of the vehicle or the date of the document’s notarization, or the DMV will charge the new owner a late fee of $20.

The cost of an instant (or rush) title is $98, plus the original title transfer fee. The DMV also charges a $20 fee to issue duplicate titles, correct errors, change names or remove liens on titles.

Requirements for North Carolina Title Transfers

When transferring a vehicle, information regarding the transfer must be written on the back of the title by the owner and the person receiving the vehicle. This includes these items:

  • Current owner and new owner names and addresses.
  • Delivery or sale date.
  • Seller’s printed name and signature.
  • The vehicle’s odometer reading .
  • Damage disclosure statement.

Additionally, North Carolina requires parties involved in a vehicle transfer to meet certain requirements:

  • The party titling the car must have a current driver’s license or ID in North Carolina. New residents may have a current out-of-state driver’s license, but will need a North Carolina Temporary Driving Certificate.
  • If the vehicle is owned by more than one person, all signatures must be notarized, and copies of the additional owners’ driver licenses or IDs must be included.
  • A person with Power of Attorney may sign for the vehicle’s co-owners. The DMV requires a copy of the owner’s current driver’s license when submitting paperwork.

Requirements for Out-of-State Titles

Recent North Carolina residents or those living out of state who have acquired a vehicle in North Carolina must get it titled in the state before registering it. Nonresidents must show these documents along with their driver license when titling the vehicle:

  • Military ID (applicable to active-duty personnel stationed in the state).
  • Student ID (applicable to current enrollees in higher education in North Carolina).
  • Form MVR-614 stating that the vehicle is stored in the state for a minimum of six months out of the year.
  • Document showing vehicle’s sale by court order.
  • Motorhome’s registration.

North Carolina also requires vehicle owners to have liability insurance from a state-licensed provider when the vehicle is titled and registered.

Registration Requirements for North Carolina Residents

North Carolinians can register their vehicles at their local DMV office or send the application and copies of supporting documents by mail to Vehicle Titles/Liens, Duplicate Registration, 3148 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699. They’ll need to show:

  • North Carolina drivers license.
  • Proof of auto insurance.
  • Vehicle’s notarized title.
  • Title Application form completed by all vehicle owners.
  • Declaration of Eligible Risk completed by all vehicle owners.
  • License plate fees with additional taxes.
  • Damage disclosure statement.
  • Odometer disclosure statement if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
  • Vehicle’s bill of sale (if applicable).

North Carolina can stop the car registration process for a variety of reasons, including a DMV debt, unpaid child support, credit warnings, document errors, unpaid taxes, lack of insurance, DUI convictions or an indication that the car was stolen. Any issues must be resolved before vehicle registration can take place.

Registration Renewal in North Carolina

The North Carolina DMV will send out a renewal notice listing the registration renewal fee and the amount of property taxes due. Registrations are renewed annually. To get a registration renewal, a vehicle must be inspected by the DMV at least 90 days before it expires.

Payments can be made online, by mail or at a DMV location. ​The agency uses PayIt, an online service that allows users to complete multiple transactions at once. PayIt collects a $3 service fee. To use the online service, the vehicle owner must have their license plate number and last five digits of the title number ready. These can be found on the renewal notice, registration card or MyDMV account.