Title Transfers in Wisconsin

How to Transfer a Title in Wisconsin:
  • Complete all necessary areas on title certificate (Buyer and Seller).
  • Complete a title application form.
  • Submit all documents with payment for title transfer fees to the DMV.
    • Read below for more detailed information.

New-to-Wisconsin Car Titles

As a new Wisconsin resident, you are required to register your vehicle and obtain WI license plates after establishing residency. During this process, you will also complete a vehicle title transfer for a Wisconsin title.*

Apply for a new title by submitting the following to the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV):

  • Your current title.
    • If you are making payments on your car, your lender will have the vehicle title. You will not be able to obtain a Wisconsin title until your loan has been paid off and the lender releases the lien hold on the vehicle.
  • A completed Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1).
  • Proof of identity, such as:
    • Valid driver's license.
    • Current U.S. passport.
    • Social Security card.
  • Proof of paid sales tax in previous state IF you have owned your car for under 90 days. This will exempt you from paying sales tax in Wisconsin.
  • Payment for the original Wisconsin title fee, plus registration fees and wheel tax.
    • Check or money order payable to “Registration Fee Trust".

You can submit the above by one of the following methods:

  • In person at:
  • By mail to:
    • Wisconsin Department of Transportation
    • P.O. Box 7949
    • Madison, WI 53707

* NOTE: New residents to Wisconsin are not required to obtain a WI vehicle title—you can submit your out-of-state vehicle registration only, and still receive your new WI vehicle registration and license plates. However, if you wish to perform a transfer of ownership at any point once you're a resident—if, for example, you want to sell your car in a couple years—you will have to apply for an auto title transfer first.

Buying or Selling a Vehicle

Any time ownership of a vehicle is changed, the car title transfer must be completed. Keep reading to learn how to transfer a title in Wisconsin after the sale or purchase of a car.

Buying from a Dealer

When you buy a car from a dealer, the dealer must submit your application for title and vehicle registration to the DMV.

In most cases this transaction is smooth, and you will receive your new title, registration card, and license plates in the mail. They will each arrive separately. Processing times can vary and you can check online to see where your application is in the processing.

You can check the Wisconsin DMV processing time page to see the dates of the applications being currently processed. This will help you get an estimate of when you should expect to receive your title and plates.

If you have not received your plates and title after a reasonable period of time you may want to contact the DMV:

If your dealer has failed to submit the proper paperwork to the DMV, you can contact the Wisconsin Dealer & Agent Section to get information on filing a complaint against your dealer, and for assistance with getting your plates and title:

You can also submit a complaint about a dealer by:

  • Completing a Dealer Complaint (Form MV2338).
  • Including a copy of your Application for Title and Registration (Form MV1).
    • Given to you by the dealer.
  • Mailing it to the address listed on the form.

Buying from a Private Seller

If you have purchased a car from a private seller, you must apply for a Wisconsin car title transfer immediately. You can do this online, by mail, or in person.

Online and By Mail

To save some time, you can complete a DMV title transfer partially online and by mail. This option is available for:

  • Cars.
  • Trucks weighing up to 8,000 lbs.
  • SUVs.
  • Motorcycles.

If your vehicle qualifies, take the following steps:

  • Obtain the vehicle title with all assignment information filled by the seller and you, including:
    • An odometer reading if the car is less than 20 years old.
    • A lien release if a previous loan has been paid in full.
  • Visit the WI DMV eMV Public page and follow all steps to start your application.
    • You will need to provide your:
      • Last 4 digits of your Social Security number.
      • Driver's license information.
      • Date of birth.
  • Print your receipt and mail it, along with the title, payment for the title transfer fees, and any other related documents, to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).

You must also apply for new license plates or a license plate transfer to use this system. If you are applying for new plates, you will be issued temporary plates online to print and display on your vehicle until your new plates arrive. Keep in mind, you must display permanent or temporary plates on your vehicle within 2 business days of purchase.

NOTE: You cannot use the online application if:

  • Your vehicle is NOT one of the types listed above.
  • You are only applying for a title.
  • You are only applying for plates, OR you are applying for special license plates.
  • The previous owner is deceased.
  • You are titling the car in the name of a trust, company, or business.
  • You purchased the car from a dealer.
  • You purchased the vehicle over a year ago.
  • You are paying a loan on the vehicle.
  • You are leasing the vehicle.
  • Multiple owners will be on the title.
  • You will be transporting packages for hire.
  • You or the seller have DMV restriction incidents (ex. unpaid tickets).

In Person

If you are unable to take advantage of the online/by mail application, you can apply for your auto title transfer in person at a DMV office location. You will need to submit the following:

Make check or money order payable to “Registration Fee Trust".

Remember, you will also be registering your newly purchased vehicle. Visit our Car Registration in Wisconsin page for more information.

Selling a Car

As the private seller of a vehicle, it is your responsibility to:

  • Complete and sign the title assignment on the current title.
  • Provide an odometer disclosure if the vehicle is under 20 years old.
  • Provide any lien release documentation (if applicable).

Give the above to the buyer. It is the buyer's responsibility to complete the DMV title transfer.

If you have lost the title certificate, obtain a duplicate title before the sale is made.

Complete a Seller Notification for the Wisconsin DMV within 30 days of the sale. This must include:

  • The Vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • The buyer's identity.
  • Date of sale.
  • Sale price.

    Gifted or Donated Vehicle Title Transfers

    The process for a car title transfer for a gifted vehicle mirrors title transferring after a private sale ( see above). In this case the person gifting the car will act as a seller, and the person receiving the car will act as a purchaser.

    Likewise, the donator of a donated car would begin a vehicle title transfer as a private seller, and the organization receiving the donation would complete the transfer as the buyer.

    Inheriting a Vehicle in Wisconsin

    If you have inherited a car valued at $50,000 or less, you can transfer the title to your name or act as the seller in a vehicle title transfer to another person. Surviving spouses or domestic partners can transfer up to 5 vehicles.*


    • If the vehicle was titled to both you and the deceased, you will need to contact WisDOT before proceeding.
    • If the deceased was a Wisconsin resident and the death occurred in Wisconsin, a death certificate is not required. However, a death certificate may be required if the deceased resided in another state.

    Submit the following to complete the DMV title transfer under your name:

    If you wish to sell the inherited vehicle before making the title transfer to your name:

    It is the buyer's responsibility to complete the transfer by submitting the above to the DMV and taking all additional steps required when purchasing from a private seller.

    Higher-Valued Vehicles

    If the inherited vehicle has a value of more than $50,000, you must also submit a copy of personal representative papers, issued by the court, identifying you as an authorized individual who can sign on behalf of the deceased.

    Once you've obtained these papers, submit them in lieu of the Form MV2300, and sign the title as the seller with “personal representative" written after your name.

    Larger Estates

    If a person leaves behind more than 5 vehicles that are under 20 years old, ownership of the car must be assigned through one of the following:

    • Estate administrator.
    • Estate executor.
    • Court order.

    Lien Releases

    When you purchase a car with a car loan, the title belongs to the lender (lien holder). Because of a law change in 2012, the procedures for lien hold removals differ depending on when you received your car loan.

    Liens Holds Placed Before July 30, 2012

    You should already be in possession of your title certificate. If you have lost your title, you can obtain a replacement title. Once you receive notice from your lien holder that the lien has been electronically removed, you do not have to take any further steps. Keep the notice from your lien holder and give it to the new owner along with the title, if you ever sell or gift the car.

    If your lender did not electronically release the lien, submit your title and one of the following to the Division of Motor Vehicles:

    • A Confirmation of Security Interest (Lien) Perfection (Form T084 or Form MV2076) obtained from your lender.
    • An original letter (not copied or faxed) from your lender on their letterhead, which includes the following information:
      • Make of vehicle.
      • VIN.
      • Signature along with the position of the person signing.
      • Date of lien release.

    You can submit all of the above:

    • In person at a DMV office location: $5 fee.
    • By mail to:
      • Wisconsin Department of Transportation
      • P.O. Box 7949
      • Madison, WI 53707

    If you choose the mail-in option, expect to wait around 6 weeks for your title.

    Lien Holds Placed after July 30, 2012.

    When the lender has electronically notified the DMV that you have paid off your loan, the DMV will send you the title.

    If your lien holder has not electronically removed your lien hold, you can take the same steps listed above for liens placed before 2012. Note that you will not be required to submit a title certificate.

    Contact your lender if any issues arise concerning your lien hold.

    Auto Title Transfer Fees

    The following are the basic Wisconsin DMV title fees:

    • Original title or title transfer fee: $164.50.
    • Car title transfer for surviving spouse or domestic partner: $164.50.
    • Title replacement: $20.
    • Additional $5 if transaction takes place at the DMV.

    Additionally, you may be subject to a 5% sales or use tax, plus a county tax (if applicable).

    NOTE: Titling fees are separate from any vehicle registration fees you may owe to the DMV.

    Changing WI Title Information

    It is not required that you obtain a corrected title in Wisconsin after changing your name. However, once you have completed a name change on your driver's license or ID, you can request a title with your new name by:

    • Mailing the DMV your title certificate. Contact the DMV for the appropriate address.
    • Visiting a DMV office with your title certificate and payment for a $5 fee.

    Making Corrections

    If a mistake has been made on your title, you can obtain a corrected title by completing a Statement of Intent (Form MV2489) and submitting it to the Division of Motor Vehicles along with the original title.

    You can use this form for the following scenarios:

    • You are listed as the purchaser on a title but decided not to buy the car.
      • The seller will submit the form. If the buyer is unavailable the seller can complete the form.
    • You are the seller but signed as the purchaser.
    • Your name appears as the buyer, but you were an agent for the actual buyer.
    • No sale took place.

    NOTE: If an attempt has been made to cover a mistake with correction fluid or redacting tape, you will have to apply for a replacement title (see below).

    Replacement Titles in Wisconsin

    In Wisconsin, you can apply for a replacement title online, by mail, or in person.


    You are eligible to order a replacement WI title online as an owner of a vehicle. Businesses or organizations cannot use the online tool.

    To complete the online application for a duplicate title, you will need the following:

    • A valid e-mail address.
    • Your WI driver's license number or photo ID number.
    • The last 4 digits of your Social Security number.
    • Your date of birth.
    • Your car's vehicle identification number (VIN).
    • Payment for the $20 replacement fee through one of the following:
      • A valid VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express credit or debit card. There will be a convenience fee, given to you before your transaction is complete.
      • Automated Clearing House (ACH) payment from your checking or saving account. No convenience fee.

    You can expect your duplicate title within 10 business days.

    NOTE: Completed transactions cannot be canceled for a refund.

    In Person

    You can apply for a title replacement in person at a Wisconsin DMV office location to receive your duplicate title on the spot. However, this option will come with an additional $5 counter service fee.

    To apply in person, visit a DMV office with the following:

    • A completed Replacement Title Application (Form MV2119).
    • Proof of identity – driver's license or ID.
      • If you don't have proof of ID, the title will be mailed to either the vehicle owner on record or the lien holder.
    • Payment for the $20 fee plus counter service fee in the form of one of the following:
      • Cash.
      • Check.
      • Debit or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express)—A convenience fee will apply.

    If you are picking up a title for the owner or lien holder, you must have a Permission to Pick Up Title (Form MV2932) and your proof of identity.

    By Mail

    To request a duplicate Wisconsin title by mail, complete the Replacement Title Application (Form MV2119) and mail it, along with payment for the title replacement fee, to the address listed on the form.


    Title/License Plate Application
    DMV application for an original Wisconsin title AND/OR registration.
    Confirmation of Security
    The WI Division of Motor Vehicles will send this form to all secondary lienholders when you apply for a paper vehicle title. Not available online.
    Permission to Pick Up Title
    Allows the Wisconsin DOT to release an original OR duplicate vehicle title to someone other than the car's registered owner.
    Replacement Title Application
    Request a replacement vehicle title from the WI DMV.
    Statement of Intent
    Submit this form when requesting a corrected vehicle title from the Wisconsin DMV.
    Statement of Transfer of Vehicles to a Surviving Spouse/Domestic Partner/Heir
    Use this WI DMV form to transfer ownership of a vehicle, once belonging to a now-deceased person, to their surviving spouse, domestic partner, OR heir.
    DMV.ORG BBB Business Review