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How to transfer a title across state lines

Transferring a title across state lines is only a little more complex than within state lines. One thing to be aware of is whether each state issues paper titles or not.

If you’re moving to a new state…

You’ll need to follow the basic process for the new state, including filling out the application for title and registration and paying fees and taxes.

If the state where you bought the car doesn’t issue a title, use the registration or bill of sale. New residents may have a grace period before they have to register the car in the new state.

If you’re transferring a title to a family member or selling the car across state lines…

Follow the basic car title transfer process above, but note that there may be a few more steps if you’re buying or selling a car across state lines:

  • Out of state title or registration

  • Emissions inspection, if required

  • Vehicle inspection, if required, to match VIN on title and vehicle

The details of transferring a title to a family member vary according to the circumstance. If the owner is deceased, the title can be transferred depending on the legal situation of the person’s estate. You may need to seek the help of an estate attorney or go to the DMV to transfer the title to a surviving spouse or according to the terms of the will or trust.

If you’re gifting a car to a family member, you may need to file a specific form, as well as the application for title transfer and pay applicable fees and taxes.

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