Title Transfers in Washington
- Have the previous owner sign the vehicle over to you.
- Complete a bill of sale with previous owner and complete a title application.
- Submit forms and payment to the DOL by mail or in person.
- Continue reading for more details.
There are many instances where you may have to perform a title transfer for your vehicle. Read below to learn the steps to accomplish a title transfer under varying circumstances.
NOTE: The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) has separate offices for driver's license-related issues and vehicle licensing tasks. If you wish to visit an office in person for a transaction involving a vehicle title, make sure you go to a vehicle licensing office.
Once you have established residency in Washington, you must register your vehicle within 30 days. Please note that you must FIRST apply for a WA driver's license.
The DOL will issue you a Washington title along with your registration. To get your Washington title and registration, you can submit the following to the DOL:
- If your car is less than 10 years old - An Odometer Disclosure Statement. You can only obtain this form:
- If you've owned your car for less than 90 days – Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale (Form TD-420-065).
- A completed Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application (Form TD-420-001) .
- You must have this application notarized, OR you must sign in front of a DOL employee.
- A copy of your current title.
- NOTE: If your car has a lien against it, you will not be issued a WA title. You can apply for a WA title once the lien has been released. Read the Removing a Lien section below for more information.
- Payment for the $12 title transfer service fee plus any other applicable titling fees.
- Contact the DOL for details about your title fee.
You can submit all of the above to the DOL:
- By mail to the address listed in the application – You will have to wait for your license plates to be mailed to you.
- In person at a vehicle licensing office – Your plates will be issued to you on the spot.
Your title should arrive within 10 weeks, but if you need it faster, visit or mail your forms and payment to a Quick Title office, along with an additional $50 expedited fee.
NOTE ABOUT INSPECTIONS:
Your car may be subject to an emissions test if you have moved to Clark, King, Pierce, Snohomish, or Spokane County.
Additionally, if your vehicle is model year 2009 or newer, it must meet California emissions standards in order for you to register it in Washington.
Read our Car Inspection in Washington page for more information.
Take the following steps when transferring a title after you purchase or sell a vehicle in Washington.
Buying from a Dealer
Licensed car dealers in Washington are equipped to handle the basic administrative DOL tasks including titling and registering your brand new car. This means you do not have to worry about transferring the vehicle's title to your name. You will simply need to provide your valid, current Washington driver's license.
Typically, any associated DOL fees will be paid through your dealer as part of the sale.
Buying from a Private Party
Once you complete a vehicle purchase from a private party in Washington, you must transfer the title to your name within 15 days. If you fail to transfer your title within the required 15 days, you'll be subject to the following penalties:
- On the 16th day: $50.
- All subsequent days: $2 per day, up to a total of $125.
To complete the transfer, take the following steps:
- Provide the original vehicle title* from the seller.
- If the car is less than 10 years old – Complete an Odometer Disclosure Statement; you can only obtain this form:
- Complete a Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale (Form TD-420-065).
- Filled out by you and the seller.
- Complete a Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application (Form TD-420-001).
- All owners wishing to be named on the title must sign this application in front of a notary public OR in front of an employee at a vehicle licensing office.
- Obtain an emissions testing report IF you live in one of the following counties:
- Submit all documents, plus payment for the your title fee (varies by vehicle) and the $12 title transfer fee, to the WA Department of Licensing at any vehicle licensing office OR by mail on the address listed on your application (if notarized).
Expect your title to arrive within 10 weeks. For expedited titles, mail or bring your forms and payment, along with a $50 quick title fee, to any Quick Title office.
* NOTE: If the seller has lost or misplaced the original title, please see Duplicate Titles in WA below.
Selling Your Car
Take the following steps to transfer your car to a Washington buyer:
- Complete all transfer information on the back of your current WA title, including the:
- License plate number.
- Date and price of sale.
- Name of the buyer.
- Vehicle identification number (VIN).
- Complete a Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale (Form TD-420-065) with the buyer.
- Report the sale to the DOL within 21 days of the transaction. You can do this:
Receiving a Gifted Vehicle
Transferring a Washington vehicle title to your name after a car has been gifted to you is a similar process to applying for a title transfer after you have purchased a car from a private seller. Note the following differences:
- On the Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale (Form TD-420-065), enter “0" for the sale price.
- If possible, obtain any proof from the person gifting the car that all sales or use tax on the car have been paid. This will save you from having to pay this tax yourself.
- If no proof can be provided, you will be responsible for 0.3% use tax.
- If the car is 7 years old or older, you do not have to pay sales or use tax.
- Pay the $12 title transfer service fee, plus your specific title fee (varies by vehicle; contact the DOL for details).
Gifting a Vehicle to Another Party
Transferring ownership of a vehicle title is ultimately the responsibility of the person receiving the gifted car. However, you must:
- Sign the current transfer over to the person receiving the gift.
- Fill out the appropriate portion of the Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale (Form TD-420-065).
- Report the sale (gifting) to the DOL. You can do this:
It's helpful if you provide the recipient with proof of sales tax paid on the vehicle you're gifting them with. Otherwise, they will be required to pay use tax on the car.
When donating a car to an organization treat the transfer as if you were gifting the vehicle (see above).
Remember to obtain documentation from the organization receiving your donation for tax purposes.
If you have finished paying off your car loan, you will need to have your lender release the lien on your Washington title, so that you can title and register the car under your name.
Typically lienholders will take care of this entire process for you. However, if your lienholder does not complete the lien release, you can submit one of the following to the WA DOL:
- A completed Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest/Gross Weight License (Form TD-420-040) with a notarized signature from the lienholder.
- The current title released to you with the lienholder's signature.
Contact your lienholder for details on obtaining the released title.
The following types of changes can be made on your Washington title:
- Name change.
- Address change.
In order to change your name on your Washington title, submit the following to the WA DOL:
- Your current title.
- A completed Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application (Form TD-420-001).
- Proof of your name change. This can be one of the following:
- A court order.
- A completed Vehicle/Vessel Owner Name Update Affidavit for Individual (Form TD-420-047) notarized OR signed in front of a DOL vehicle licensing office employee.
- Payment for the $12 titling service fee, plus your new title fee (contact your local vehicle licensing office for details).
You can submit all of the above to the Department of Licensing:
- In person at a vehicle licensing office.
- By mail to:
Refunds and Title Services
Department of Licensing
P.O. Box 9909
Olympia, WA 98507
For further information on changing your name in Washington, please visit our guide to WA Name Changes.
Change Your Address
- Your license plate number.
- Your VIN.
- Your former address.
- Your new address.
- Payment for the $12 service fee and applicable titling fee (your local DOL vehicle licensing office can give you the exact amount).
For more information on address changes in Washington, please visit our WA Change of Address page.
If you've misplaced the original WA title to your vehicle during a sale—or the seller has misplaced it if you're involved in a purchase—the vehicle owner will need to:
- Complete an Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest/Gross Weight License (Form TD-420-040).
- Sign the form in front of a notary.
- Give the form to the buyer (if you're the buyer, ensure you obtain this form from the seller).
- Pay the $31 duplicate title fee plus the $12 service fee.
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