Paperwork When Buying a Car in North Dakota

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When you buy a car in North Dakota, you'll need to receive specific paperwork from the seller to properly transfer ownership.

Use this guide to learn more about North Dakota Department of Transportation's (DOT) requirements to complete the titling and registration process.

Paperwork for ND Car Buyers

The paperwork you need for your new car differs slightly based on where or from whom you bought your vehicle. You'll get different documents if you got your new wheels from:

  • A dealership.
  • A private seller.

Dealer-Bought Cars

If you purchase a vehicle at a dealership in North Dakota, the dealership may provide the ND DOT with all of the necessary paperwork to transfer ownership. If not, you'll need the following to properly title and register your car:

  • The Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO).
    • The seller should complete the odometer information on the MCO.
  • A completed Damage Disclosure Statement (Form SFN 18609) IF the vehicle is less than 9 years old.

Purchases Through a Private Seller

When you buy a car from a private seller, you must title and register the car yourself. Here are the documents you'll need to receive from the seller to complete the sale:

  • A completed vehicle title*, including an odometer disclosure IF the vehicle is less than 10 years old.
    • If there is no space on the title for an odometer disclosure, your DOT office can provide you with a Reassignment/Odometer Disclosure (Form SFN 18773) to use instead.
  • A completed Damage Disclosure Statement (Form SFN 18609) IF the vehicle is less than 9 years old.
  • A notarized Bill of Sale (Form SFN 2888).

* NOTE: If the seller doesn't have the title or it is in unusable condition, they can apply for replacement with an Application for Certificate of Title & Registration of a Vehicle (Form SFN 2872).

ND Dakota Vehicle Registration Paperwork

To title and register your car following a purchase, bring the following paperwork with you to your local DOT office:

  • The vehicle title.
    • All transfer sections must be completed.
    • For vehicles purchased out-of-state, bring the out-of-state title.
  • A completed Application for Certificate of Title & Registration of a Vehicle (Form SFN 2872).
  • A notarized Bill of Sale (Form SFN 2888).
  • Lease or lienholder paperwork, if applicable.
  • A Damage/Salvage Disclosure Statement (Form SFN 18609) IF the vehicle is under 9 years old.
  • Proof of ND car insurance.
  • An odometer disclosure IF the car is under 10 years old.
    • This can be filled in on the title OR by completing a Reassignment/Odometer Disclosure (Form SFN 18773), available at your local DOT.
  • Payment for the appropriate vehicle registration fees and taxes.
    • Fees vary according to vehicle weight and model year.

For full details on registering your car with the North Dakota DOT, check out our guide to ND Car Registration.

Vehicle History Report

While it isn't required paperwork, a Vehicle History Report is an important document for car buyers. A report gives you details about a car's past, including accidents, damages, and odometer information.

These details can help you confirm the information a seller gives you or provide information that the seller may not be aware of. The report can also help you avoid problem cars, odometer fraud, and other issues that can arise when buying a car.


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 2888
Seller's Certificate and Vehicle Bill of Sale
Complete this form when buying a vehicle. MUST be signed by the buyer and seller.
SFN 18609
Damage/Salvage Disclosure Statement
Fill this form out to disclose damage to a vehicle you are selling that is less than 9 years old. Must be signed by the buyer AND seller.
SFN 18773
Reassignment/Odometer Disclosure
A seller MUST provide this form to a buyer. It is also required during a lien change. Not available online. MUST be obtained in-office.
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