District of Columbia Car Title Transfer and Registration

Vehicle registration must be completed with the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles (D.C. DMV) in order to legally drive in D.C. 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 must handle your first-time vehicle registration in person at a DC DMV service center. You cannot register your vehicle online, by mail, or by phone.

After moving to Washington, D.C., you must register your vehicle within 30 days.  However, before registering, you must obtain all the following:

  • A D.C. driver’s license.
  • A title for your vehicle(s).
  • D.C. car insurance.
  • A vehicle inspection(s).

When you’re ready to register, you’ll need to visit your DMV service center.

Vehicle Registration & Title Transfer Process

In Washington, D.C., you can title and register a recently purchased (or leased) vehicle at the same time. You must visit a DMV service center and present:

  • Proof of ownership (e.g., a bill of sale, signed vehicle title, manufacturer’s certificate of origin).
  • Previous vehicle registration, if purchased from a private party.
  • Your Washington, D.C. driver’s license or ID card.
  • Proof of D.C. vehicle insurance.
  • Proof of a vehicle inspection (used cars only).
    • A vehicle with a valid inspection sticker does NOT need to be inspected until it expires.
    • If the vehicle registration is already expired, you can apply for a temporary registration in order to get a vehicle inspection.
  • Loan contract information, if applicable.
    • You will NOT be able to register your vehicle until the D.C. DMV receives title information from the lienholder.
  • Lease contract information, if applicable.
  • Payment for all required fees and taxes.

To be sure you have everything you need before getting in line at the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles (D.C. DMV), 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.