Washington Car Title Transfer and Registration

Vehicle registration must be completed with the Washington State Department of Licensing in order to legally drive on WA 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.

New residents have 30 days to register and title their vehicle when they move to Washington.  Titling your vehicle and registering are the same process in Washington, so both will be completed at the same time.

Unlike most states, you are not required to provide proof of insurance when you register the vehicle, but auto insurance is mandatory in Washington. If you are pulled over by the police and do not have insurance, you will be fined.

Vehicle Registration & Title Transfer Process

To complete the registration of your vehicle and transfer the title with the Washington State Department of Licensing, you must provide the following:

  • A signed Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application (Form TD-420-001). All owners must sign in order for the signatures to be verified by a licensing agent.
  • Your vehicle title.
    • If a lienholder currently has the title, have them send you a copy of the front and back of it.
    • If you do not have a title or a copy it, contact your local licensing office.
  • The odometer disclosure statement for vehicles up to 10 years old.
  • The emissions testing paperwork, if applicable.
  • A bill of sale or dealer purchase agreement, if you have owned the vehicle for less than 90 days.
  • Payment for all registration fees.

To be sure you have everything you need before getting in line at the Washington State Department of Licensing office, visit www.transfermyauto.com, 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.