Title Transfer | Car Registration

Title Transfer

Transfer a California Vehicle Title

If you have bought, sold or inherited a vehicle, you’ll have to complete a transfer title with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in order to officially change the vehicle’s ownership. Included on this page are title transfer instructions for vehicle buyers, sellers, and for those looking to transfer a vehicle between family members.

Title Transfer When Selling a Vehicle

The state of California requires sellers to alert the DMV and officially relinquish ownership of their sold vehicle within 5 days. Once you complete and submit the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability form, you will be relieved of all potential civil or criminal actions involving the vehicle after the date of sale. The Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability form can be mailed to:

California Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001

The process can also be completed online. It will require the vehicle’s license plate number, the last five digits of the vehicle identification number, and the new owner’s name and address.

The ownership transfer will not be official until the new owner completes the title transfer. In order for the transfer to be completed, you must supply the new owner with:

  • The Vehicle Title (signed by you).
  • Smog Certification, if applicable (see below).
  • A completed Odometer Reading if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
  • Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form REG 262. (This form is not available online because it must be printed on security paper. It can only be acquired at a DMV office or by calling 1-800-777-0133.)

Buying a Vehicle

If you bought your vehicle from a dealership, you won’t have to worry about the title transfer. The dealership will take care of all of the necessary paperwork.

If you bought your vehicle from a private seller, the process is not so straight forward. In order to complete the transfer process in person, set an appointment at your local DMV and submit:

  • The Vehicle Title (signed by seller).
  • Smog Certification, if applicable (see below).
  • A completed Odometer Reading (if necessary).
  • Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form REG 262.
  • Payment for fees (see below).

Once the process is complete, you will receive your new registration and plates. Your official title will be mailed and should arrive within a few weeks.

Online Title Transfer

The DMV does not provide online service for a title transfer. Fortunately, CaReg, officially licensed by the DMV, supplies convenient online title transfer services. This is perfect for those of us who don’t like to deal with the hassle of going to the DMV.

To begin theCaReg title transfer process,

  • Visit CaReg.com and click the title transfer link.
  • You will receive step by step instructions walking you through the procedure.
  • You will be then required to send a fax of the front and back of your vehicle title toCaReg.
  • Once we receive and process this information, you will be sent an email alerting you of any DMV fees and additional documents that may be required.

Any necessary forms will be supplied by CaReg. Once you submit all of the fees and documentation, your new vehicle title will be sent to you by the DMV.

Transferring a Vehicle Between Family Members

The DMV considers a family transfer as an ownership transfer between two of the following: a spouse, parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or domestic partner. A family transfer is exempt from a smog certification and uses tax rates based on the purchase price of the vehicle and a reclassification of the vehicle’s value.

Even though it’s a family transfer, the “seller” must still submit a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability to the DMV within 5 days of transferring ownership.

To complete your family transfer, make an appointment at your local DMV and submit:

  • The Vehicle Title (signed by “seller.”)
  • A Statement of Facts for smog certification and use tax exemptions.
  • Odometer Reading if the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
  • Payment for all fees.

Once the process is complete, you will receive your new registration and plates. You will receive your official title in the mail within a few weeks.

You may also choose to transfer the title online with CaReg. See “Online Title Transfer” above.

Fees

Fees that must be paid during your title transfer can include:

  • Use Tax: varies by city and county.
  • Registration Renewal: $46
  • Transfer: $19
  • Duplicate Title: $18 (if original vehicle title is missing or damaged).

Smog Inspection

If you are transferring a vehicle that is less than four years old, a smog inspection is not required. If the vehicle has obtained smog certification in the last 90 days, the requirement is also waved.

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