Buying and Selling FAQs in Missouri

How do I buy a vehicle from another state?

If you're purchasing a vehicle from another state, you must abide by their state title laws to have the vehicle signed over to you. In Missouri, you must provide some kind of proof of ownership. A signed title or bill of sale are best.

Make sure you have proof of insurance, then complete the regular registration and titling process.

What should I do if I'm selling a vehicle to someone in another state or country?

Take note of the legal responsibilities for selling your car, which means you must provide a properly signed title, safety and emission inspections less than 60 days old, and a notarized lien release form if it's applicable. Otherwise, selling out-of-state and selling in Missouri are pretty much the same process.

If you have questions or want to read more about selling your vehicle, check out our helpful Guide to Selling Vehicles page.

What if I want to buy a vehicle from another country?

If you've got your eyes on that German sports car, you won't have too much trouble with the Missouri DMV. All you need is proof of ownership, which means a valid title signed over to you or a bill of sale. A combination typically works best for foreign imports.

The vehicle will have to pass federal regulations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a helpful FAQs page on importation and certification laws.

Once you've brought the vehicle to Missouri, follow regular registration and titling procedures.

The car I'm buying doesn't have license plates. How do I obtain a temporary permit?

Bring the required materials to your local contract office:

  • Proof of ownership (any of the following):
  • 1. Bill of sale.
  • 2. Notice of sale.
  • 3. Certificate of Title signed over to you, or a Manufacturer's Statement of Origin.
  • Safety inspection less than 60 days old. If you have a Manufacturer's Statement of Origin, the MO DMV waives your safety inspection.
  • Payment of $5.00 for the temporary permit fee plus $6 processing fee.

What kind of taxes do I have to pay if I buy a vehicle in Missouri?

In addition to paying for a safety inspection and an emissions inspection, you'll have to pay sales tax. State sales tax is 4.225%, and you'll also have to pay a local sales tax (varies depending on county).

Other fees:

  • $14.50 for title (includes the $6 processing fee)
  • $6 processing fee for registration ($12 for two-year registration).

Missouri DMV offers a handy online calculator to estimate the amount of sales tax you have to pay.

Can I pay for the fees with a personal check?

Only some Missouri contract offices accept personal checks. Call for payment options. If you are writing a personal check, your name, address, bank code and account number must be preprinted on the check. Also include your driver's license number, date of birth and a daytime phone number.

Otherwise, you can always pay with cash or money order.

There's no space for an odometer reading on the title of the car I want to buy. What do I do?

Fill out an Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form 3019) and have the seller sign it with the title.

How do I transfer my plates from my old car to my new car?

Bring the following materials to your local contract office:

  • Title or Manufacturer's Statement of Origin.
  • Safety inspection less than 60 days old, unless you have a Manufacturer's Statement of Origin.
  • Emissions inspection less than 60 days old.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • Signed Application for Missouri Title and License. You can request this form by calling your local contract office or fill out an online request form.


Odometer Disclosure Statement
Use this DOR form to disclose the amount of miles on a vehicle you're selling in Missouri.
Application for Missouri Title and License
Missouri DOR's application for an original title AND/OR registration, duplicate title, registration renewal, OR transfer of license plates.
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