Pennsylvania Car Title Transfer and Registration

Vehicle registration must be completed with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) in order to legally drive on PA roadways. So what do you need to take with you to complete your transaction the first time? It depends on how you own your automobile (leasing, making payments, or owner with title) and how you want to register (single, joint, business or transfer to family member) your automobile.

You have 20 days to title and register your vehicle with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) once you move to the state.

Before you register your vehicle, you must get:

  • A PA driver’s license or ID card, UNLESS you have:
    • A U.S. Armed Forces Common Access Card.
    • A U.S. Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card.
  • Pennsylvania car insurance.
  • Verification of your vehicle identification number (VIN). You can:
    • Use tracing paper and pencil to provide a tracing of the VIN yourself.
    • Take your vehicle to a certified inspection mechanic or notary for verification.

Vehicle Registration & Title Transfer Process

To register your vehicle in person at a PennDOT office, be sure to take the following:

  • Vehicle title (must be in your name or properly reassigned to you).
  • Proof of PA insurance.
  • Your VIN verification.
  • Payment for fees via check or money order payable to “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

You will need to complete an Application for Certificate of Title (Form MV-1) at the PennDOT office.

NOTE: If your vehicle is leased, you’ll also need the Application for Lessee Information (Form MV-1L), which must be completed by the lessor.

To be sure you have everything you need before getting in line at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) office, visit, answer 3 to 5 questions to generate a checklist of what is needed. Military personnel often get tax breaks in many states, your checklist will indicate if this is the case.