Paperwork When Buying a Car in Louisiana

Paperwork When Buying a Car in Louisiana

When you buy a car in Louisiana, there is certain paperwork that you must receive from the seller. The paperwork includes a bill of sale and title certificate.

You must also have an inspection completed and get car insurance. Finally, you will need to title and register your car with the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV).

Keep reading for more information about the paperwork you need as the new owner of a car in Louisiana.

Paperwork for Louisiana Car Buyers

There are a number of forms and documents you should receive from the seller when you buy a car, both for your protection and to register the car.

You will need:

  • A notarized certificate of title for the vehicle, signed over to you.
  • The odometer disclosure completed on the title OR on a separate statement (for cars less than 10 years old).
  • A notarized bill of sale or invoice which must include:
    • The selling price.
    • The date of sale.
    • The buyer and seller's signatures (if they are not on the title).
    • The original or a copy of the financing statement if you are financing the vehicle.

Your car must pass an inspection before you can register it. Often, the dealer or seller will have completed a preliminary inspection that guarantees the vehicle will pass inspection on the day it is purchased.

Transfer a Louisiana Vehicle Title

The title must be signed over to you by the seller in the presence of a notary public. The seller can also notify the Louisiana OMV of a vehicle transfer, but this is generally a way to protect the seller from receiving tickets or fines after selling the car.

See Title Transfers in Louisiana for more information.

Lost Title

If the title is missing, the seller should apply for a duplicate title before selling the vehicle to you.

Titling & Registering a Car in Louisiana

To title and register your vehicle with the Louisiana OMV, you will need to complete and sign the Vehicle Application (Form DPSMV 1799). You can submit the form and required documents by mail or in person to an OMV branch office.

Along with the application, you must also submit all of the other documents received by the seller which include:

  • Bill of sale.
  • Vehicle title.
  • Federal odometer title disclosure on the title or on a separate statement (for cars under 10 years old).
  • Financing statement, if applicable.
  • Proof of liability insurance, if you bought the car from a private seller.

Additionally, a copy of your current photo ID (driver's license) must be included with the application.

For more information, see our pages Register a Car in Louisiana.

Title & Registration Fees

When you title and register a car for the first time in your name, you will pay:

  • Title fee: $68.50.
  • Public license tag agents fee: $18 (max fee title not obtained through OMV).
  • Handling fee: Approximately $8.
  • Lien fee, if you financed the car: $10 or $15, depending on the type of financing.
  • Registration fee: Varies based on the vehicle type, weight, and selling price.
  • Sales use tax: Varies based on where you live and the selling price of the car.
  • In-person transaction fees:
    • $1.25 plus 1% of the total for credit card purchases.

You will receive brand new license plates for the car once the paperwork has been submitted and approved.

Vehicle History Reports

A vehicle history report provides detailed information about your prospective used car's history. The report provides information about the car based its vehicle identification number (VIN). The information usually includes:

  • The odometer reading.
  • A crash history.
  • Damages over a certain dollar amount.

By having the vehicle history report, you ensure you don't purchase a vehicle from someone making false claims about its mileage or history.

Lemon Law

The Louisiana lemon law generally only covers new cars, but it may cover a used passenger vehicle that is still under warranty and has issues that prevent you from driving the car or that affect is value.

If you believe you have bought a lemon, should first contact the manufacturer.

More information is available on our page, Lemon Law in Louisiana.


DPSMV 1799
Vehicle Application
Office of Motor Vehicles application for a Louisiana vehicle title and registration.
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