State Regulations in North Dakota

Selling or buying a car can be a time-consuming endeavor compounded by the pressure of making sure all proper forms and certificates are signed and submitted. But it's a necessary process, required by the state, for registration and titling purposes.

If You're Buying

  • Make sure you secure the title and registration receipt from the seller. If you are purchasing a new car, the dealership will submit all of this information to the motor vehicle office of the Department of Transportation (NDDOT).
  • The vehicle's title must be signed by all registered owners and all signatures must be notarized.
  • Record an odometer reading either on the title or on a separate document.
  • Submit a bill of sale.
  • Make sure there are no active liens on the vehicle and that all have been released.
  • Double-check that the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the title matches the number etched into the vehicle. If the numbers do not match, immediately halt the purchase until the legal owner is verified. This is one of those seemingly minor procedures that should not be overlooked or you could face a long-term legal hassle.
  • You will be allowed to drive this vehicle for 5 days without registering it provided you carry proof of ownership (dated bill of sale or a dated copy of the title).
  • You will have 30 days to submit a Purchaser's Certification and Application (Form SFN 2475) to NDDOT.

How to Buy When There's No Title

If the seller cannot provide an existing title, you must apply for a new one by completing an Application for Certificate of Title & Registration of a Vehicle (Form SFN 2872). Include as much pertinent information as possible supporting your ownership claim, along with an explanation regarding the missing existing title. You will then be issued a new title if NDDOT finds your information to be sufficient.

If You're Selling

  • Make sure you remove the license plates from the vehicle.
  • You will need to sign the title and record an odometer reading.
  • Submit an Assignment and Warranty of Title (Form SFN 2877) to NDDOT.

How to Sell Without a Title

If, for whatever reason, you cannot locate the existing title, you will need to submit an Application for Certificate of Title & Registration of a Vehicle (Form SFN 2872) along with a $5 duplicate fee. Should you locate the original title after a duplicate has been issued, you will need to turn over the original to NDDOT officials.

How to Buy or Sell Without Registration

Ask the seller to apply for a duplicate by completing an Application for Certificate of Title & Registration of a Vehicle (Form SFN 2872). If the seller will not comply, you will need to explain the situation when submitting your own Application for Certificate of Title & Registration of a Vehicle (Form SFN 2872). This is not an uncommon situation, so NDDOT officials are generally accommodating as long as all of the submitted information is correct.

Car Buying Tips

  • Bear in mind that an expensive vehicle does not automatically translate into a good vehicle. They are just as prone to maintenance breakdowns as lower-priced models.
  • The best deals for new cars occur July through October when dealerships are trying to create space for new models, and during late December when sales reps are desperately trying to reach year-end quotas.
  • If you are purchasing a used car, have an independent mechanic inspect the vehicle. Mechanical flaws in today's electronic-filled engines are difficult to detect with untrained eyes.
  • Never sign a blank financial form.
  • Get all promises in writing.
  • Don't give your license to a dealer while taking a test drive. While you're driving around the block, the dealer could be using your license information to run an unauthorized credit check.


SFN 2872
Application for Certificate of Title and Registration of a Vehicle
Apply for a new, renewal, OR duplicate ND DOT title, registration, or tabs.
SFN 2877
Assignment and Warranty of Title
Use this North Dakota Department of Transportation form to transfer a title between a vehicle's seller and a buyer.
SFN 2475
Purchaser's Certification and Application
After buying OR receiving a vehicle, file this form with the ND DOT within 30 days to report the transfer. Also used to apply for an excise tax exemption.
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