Buying and Selling FAQs in Pennsylvania
I bought a car in another state. How do I get a Pennsylvania tag for it?
Complete a Application for Certificate of Title (Form MV-1), available only from authorized agents of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation PennDOT. Also provide a copy of the current title, or the manufacturer's certificate of origin if the vehicle has never been titled; your current PA driver's license or photo ID card; proof of insurance; and verification of your Vehicle Identification Number. The agent will need to help you with portions of the form. It would also be wise to have a copy of the Bill of Sale, although the state may not require it.
I'm selling my car. Does the new owner keep the tags?
No. Remove the tags yourself and transfer them to another vehicle, or surrender them to the state. To transfer them to another vehicle, complete all the paperwork with the state, documenting the transfer.
I'm planning to buy a car overseas. What's required to bring it into Pennsylvania?
Complete a form MV-1, Application for Certificate of Title, available only from authorized PennDOT agents. They assist you with completing the form, but you'll need to provide several documents to complete the transaction, including proof of ownership. This might include the original title signed over to you, or the manufacturer's certificate of origin if the car is new and never been titled. You'll also need to get translated any documents that are in a foreign language.
Customs documents are also required to show proof of entry into the United States. These forms must have the port of entry number or a U.S. Customs seal or both on the document.
The state provides a detailed Fact Sheet with all the import and export information you may need, including a list of accepted customs forms.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also provides an extensive website with hints, tips, and laws regarding imports.
I'm buying a used car from an individual, but can't get the tags for it until next week. Since the tag doesn't stay with the car, do I drive around without a tag?
No. You can get a temporary tag valid for 90 days, from any motor vehicle dealer or authorized issuing agent. You will need to provide proof of insurance and ownership to get the temporary tag.
Does Pennsylvania require a vehicle inspection?
Yes, each year your vehicle must pass a safety inspection, available at any Pennsylvania certified inspection station. If you live in an area of the state that requires emissions testing, you'll also be required to pass that inspection once a year, too.
How much does it cost to get a title for my new car?
The Pennsylvania title fee is $51, but don't forget the sales tax and registration fees when figuring your budget. The state provides a comprehensive list of the various fees involved in vehicle operation and ownership.