Title Transfers in Washington DC

How to Complete an Auto Title Transfer in Washington, D.C.
  • Seller and buyer both sign title.
  • Complete the proper forms.
  • Bring title and forms to the DMV.
  • Pay the $26 title transfer fee. Continue reading for more details.

New to Washington, D.C.?

If you have recently moved to Washington, D.C., you must register and title your vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles (D.C. DMV).

For complete instructions, visit our Car Registration page.

Buying or Selling a Vehicle

Buying a Vehicle

NOTE: If you purchase a vehicle from a dealer, he or she should take care of your auto title transfer and registration.

The documents required for a car title transfer will differ depending on if you bought a new car or a used car.

Once you've submitted all of the required forms and payment for the title transfer fee, your new D.C. DMV title will be mailed to you within 10 business days.

You will also need to register your car before you can drive it. Full instructions can be found on our Car Registration in Washington, D.C. page.

New Cars

If you've bought a new car, you'll need:

Submit the above to the D.C. DMV in person.

Used Cars

If you recently purchased a used vehicle from a private party, you'll need the following items to complete a DMV title transfer:

You'll receive your new title in the mail within 10 business days. After it arrives, you'll then have to register your vehicle. For more details please refer to our Register a Vehicle in Washington, D.C. page.

Submit the above to the D.C. DMV in person.

Selling a Vehicle

If you sell a vehicle to a private party in D.C. here's what you'll need to do:

  • Remove your vehicle tags from the vehicle and either transfer them to another car you own OR return them to the D.C. DMV in person or by mail.
    • Visit our License Plates page to learn about surrendering/transferring your tags.
  • Give the buyer the original vehicle title.
    • Complete all required sections as the “seller."

If there is more than 6 months remaining on your vehicle registration at the time of the sale, you can request a refund of the unused portion of the registration from the D.C. DMV.

Contact the D.C. DMV for instructions.

Title Transfer Fees in D.C.

  • New title/title transfer fee: $26.
  • Duplicate title certificate: $26.
  • Lien recording: $20 per lien.
  • Excise tax: *
    • Vehicles weighing 3,499 lbs. or less: 6% of market value.
    • Vehicles weighing 3,500 to 4,999 lbs.: 7% of market value.
    • Vehicles weighing 5,000 lbs. or heavier: 8% of market value.

* NOTE: Some vehicles are exempt from excise tax, including:

  • Hybrid vehicles.
  • Gifted vehicles (between eligible parties).

Gifting, Donating, or Inheriting a Vehicle

Gifting a Vehicle

To apply for a D.C. car title transfer when you receive a vehicle as a gift, you'll follow a similar process to buying a vehicle.

You'll be exempt from paying excise tax if the donor is your:

  • Parent.
  • Spouse (can be current, divorced, or separated).
  • Domestic partner (former or current).

If you qualify for this exemption, you'll also need to submit a completed Excise Tax Gift Tax Exemption Form (Form DMV-EGTE-01).

Donating a Vehicle

Donating your vehicle is an easy process that spares you any selling hassles and allows you to contribute to a cause or charity of your choice. Our Car Donation page provides the full details.

Inheriting a Vehicle

The process of completed an auto title transfer from a deceased person will vary depending on the size of the estate. (If you were a joint owner of the vehicle with the deceased, read “Inheriting from a Joint Owner" below.)

To apply for a vehicle title transfer in D.C., you'll need:

  • The assignment of ownership of the vehicle by:
    • The deceased personal representative (for large estates).
    • The relevant person assigned by the probate court (for small estates).
  • A Certificate of Title/Temporary Registration and Tag Application (Form DMV-CTA-001).
  • The death certificate (copy).
  • The petition for probate (copy).
  • The letters testamentary or administration (authenticated) issued to the personal representative, for large estates.
  • The small estate order (copy), for small estates.

For more information and complete instructions, contact the D.C. DMV.

Inheriting from a Joint Owner

If you're listed as a co-owner on a vehicle title and the other owner is deceased, you can obtain a new title in just your name by submitting the following to the D.C. DMV in person:

  • Certificate of title.
  • Death certificate (authenticated).
  • Payment for the required fees.

Remove a Lien from a Title

Once you pay the lien off of your vehicle, you can have it removed from the title by submitting one of the following to the D.C. DMV:

  • A letter of financing stating the lien has been satisfied. Must be on company letterhead.
  • A loan agreement (certified) with the bank's "paid" stamp.
  • The certificate of title with a lien release stamp.

You'll need to take one of the above documents to the D.C. DMV office and apply for a duplicate title.

Military Member Title Transfers

If you're a member of the military currently stationed out of state, you may be exempt from some of the Washington, D.C. DMV's licensing and vehicle registration requirements.

Visit our Drivers in the Military page for more information.

Replace a D.C. Title

If you have lost or misplaced a title, you'll need to request a duplicate. Please refer to our Replacing a Lost Title in Washington, D.C. page for more information.


Certificate of Title/Temporary Tag Application
Title and register your vehicle with the Washington D.C. DMV.
Excise Tax Gift Exemption
Use this form to transfer ownership of a vehicle to a family member in Washington D.C. and exemption from excise tax.
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