Paperwork When Buying a Car in Alaska
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The title transfer creates legal proof vehicle ownership. The seller signs the car title over to the buyer. You have 30 days from the date of purchase to change the title on a vehicle in Alaska. There's a $15 title fee. If there's a lien holder, the state charges an additional $15 lien recording fee.
Registering a vehicle is the act of making it legal with the DMV, including the payment of any applicable fees and taxes. Once a vehicle is registered, you will receive your license plates in the mail. You may order personalized or specialized license plates, if you wish.
You may also be asked for proof of your I/M Testing Certification when you register a newly purchased vehicle. The updated certification is the seller's responsibility. If you live in an area that requires an I/M Certification, be sure that your seller has included it with your bill of sale.
Registration fees vary and are based on the size of the vehicle and the weight class. Here's a link to the DMV fee schedule for more information on registration fees.
Registration taxes are based on the price of the vehicle and on the buyer's place of residence. Check with the DMV for more information.
Register a vehicle for the first time in person. Bring the paperwork:
- A bill of sale or other documents showing the purchase price of the vehicle, signed by both buyer and seller
- Proof of insurance
After the title transfer and registration process has been completed, the DMV will mail you your license plates and the current tabs for the registration period. When the registration renewal is coming up, you will receive a notice from the DMV.
If buying from a dealer, you can use the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin to register the car instead of a title.
If the title is lost, the seller is responsible getting a duplicate title. If the title was issued in another state, you must arrange to get a duplicate title from that state's DMV. But until then, you won't be able to complete a sale.
If the seller didn't give you a title or you lost it, you can get a surety bond or leave a deposit of one and a half times the vehicle's value with the DMV, in lieu of a title. The State requires this in case someone else produces a title later and asks the State for reimbursement.
No worries if the seller cannot produce a current registration. Explain this on the Application for Title and Registration.
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