After you establish residency in the state, you’ll need to title your vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles in the 30 day period following. You’ll need to pass a safety inspection before you go to the DMV office. Visiting your local DMV office in person is required; currently there is not an option to title your vehicle through the mail or internet.
Bring the following documentation with you:
- Your Application for Certificate of Title and Registration
- Proof of your local address (a recent utility bill, pay stub, bank statement, etc.)
- Your current out-of-state title or your registration card
- If the vehicle was purchased in the last twelve months, proof of the purchase price
- If the vehicle was purchased in the last twelve months, proof that sales tax was paid
- $10 to cover the title transfer fee
You can use an electronic title or paper title. If you use an electronic title, a paper title can be ordered from the DMV should you ever need it.
After you complete the title transfer, you’re ready to register the vehicle.
Title Transfers for Private Car Sales
When a car is sold privately, both the buyer and seller are responsible for filing the vehicle transfer requirements with the DMV.
If you’re the seller of the vehicle, you have the following responsibilities:
- Giving the buyer a validated safety inspection sticker
- Completing the Assignment of Title By Owner section of the vehicle title
- Writing the odometer reading on the vehicle title
- Writing the purchase price on the title or drafting a bill of sale
- If the buyer is taking over a lien on the vehicle, a complete Transfer of Certificate of Title with Lien document
If you’re the buyer of the vehicle, you have the following responsibilities:
- Obtaining a validated inspection sticker from the buyer
- Completing the Application for New Owner Certificate of Title and Registration
- Obtaining proof of the sale price from the vehicle seller
- Providing proof of your Virginia address
- Paying the $10 title transfer fee
- Paying the motor vehicle sales tax and use tax
These documents should be filed with the local DMV office. You’ll have a choice between an electronic and paper title. Should you choose an electronic title, a paper title can always be ordered later.
After the title transfer, you’ll be required to register the vehicle.
Title Transfers for Dealerships
If you buy your car at a Virginia car dealership, the dealer usually handles the paperwork regarding the title and registration. If they aren’t filing the paperwork, make sure you receive all the relevant documents from them. Double check that they’ve filled out the seller portion of the documents.
Used vehicles will be registered and titled in person at your local DMV office. You’ll need the same documentation used in private vehicle sales.
New vehicles must also be titled in person. You will need the following documentation:
- The Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin
- A complete Application for Certificate of Title and Registration
- Proof of your local address
- Payment for the title transfer fee and vehicle taxes
If you receive a car or give a car as a gift, you’ll need the same documentation necessary for a private car sale. Write the word “GIFT” in the sale price line on the title.