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North Carolina Car Title Transfer and Registration


An auto title transfer may come across as needlessly complicated, but it can actually be a relatively simple process. It’s simply a case of factoring in your current circumstances and the nature of the transfer, in order to know which North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) rules apply to you.

In an instance where vehicle ownership changes, a registration of title transfer must be made with the DMV. On this page, you’ll find all of the most important details you’ll need to get the job done quickly and completely – you might also want to check out Transfer My Auto Title Transfer Checklist Generator for simplified approach to DMV title transfer.

Private Vehicle Sales

When a vehicle is sold through an agency or privately, both the seller and buyer are responsible for ensuring that title transfer is correctly completed with the DMV.

For the Buyer

On the part of the buyer, the DMV states that a vehicle title transfer must be completed in no more than four weeks (28 days) from the moment the vehicle is received or the title is notarized. Should this 28-day limit be breached, a $15 penalty fee is payable.

In order to successfully go about the auto title transfer, the vehicle buyer must head to their nearest North Carolina DMV office with the required paperwork, which includes:

  • Every document handed over by the persons selling the car at the time of the vehicle’s purchase.
  • A signed and notarized Form MVR-1 – aka Title Application, which can be completed at the DMV if necessary.
  • Full proof of valid North Carolina auto insurance in the purchaser’s name and the policy number
  • Proof of identification, which in the case of North Carolina residents should be your personal ID or driver’s license. For non-residents of North Carolina, additional documentation may be required.
  • The title transfer fee of $52 is payable at the time of the title transfer – most DMV offices accept cash, credit cards, money orders and personal checks.
  • Highway Use Tax (HUT) at a rate of 3% of the value of the vehicle is also payable in most instances. If you are exempt from HUT, you will need to complete a Highway Use Tax Exemption Certification.
  • Additional registration fees may apply, including plate fees or transfer of plate.

Exercise Caution When Buying Used Cars!

The United States has never been more comprehensively flooded with the kinds of used cars you’ll regret ever having set eyes on. From mileage to repair history to past accidents and more, it is essential that you fully check out any used vehicle you intend to buy before handing over a penny!

Selling a Vehicle

From the perspective of the seller, there are also numerous requirements to be aware of which are as follows:

  • The buyer of the vehicle must be provided with:
    • The signed and notarized vehicle title document (signed by both parties).
    • Damage Disclosure Statement (Form MVR-181).
    • An Eligible Risk Statement for Registration and Certificate of Title (Form MVR-615).
    • For vehicles under 10 years old, an Odometer Disclosure Statement Form (MVR-180) is also required.
    • If liens are listed on the vehicle, a lien release IS also required.

If you aren’t in possession of the required auto title, you can get in touch with the DMV to ask for a copy and sort the title transfer process at the same time.

Buying from Dealers

One of the biggest bonuses about buying from reputable dealers is the way in which they will generally take care of most DMV paper work on your behalf – including arranging the registration paperwork and vehicle title transfer. Should you choose to go about the title transfer process manually however, you will need to head to your local North Carolina DMV office with:

  • The civil list of documents as would apply to a private car sale (as outlined above).
  • An official bill of sale from a dealer documenting the total purchase price of the vehicle.

For New North Carolina Residents

Upon relocating to North Carolina, it is a mandatory requirement that an out-of-state car title transfer is completed with the Division of Motor Vehicles. This will involve registering your vehicle and going about the title transfer process simultaneously.

Prior to visiting your local DMV office, you’ll need to ensure that you have:

  • A valid NC state drivers license.
  • Valid NC vehicle insurance.

You also need to take along to the DMV:

  • Proof that you own the vehicle in question, by way of a signed and completed notarized title or your out-of-state registration card.  If the vehicle was already titled to you in the previous state, or the previous state does not require notary, then no notary is required.
  • Once again, for vehicles less than 10 years old, it will be necessary to produce an odometer reading.
  • A Title Application (Form MVR-1).
  • An Eligible Risk Statement for Registration and Certificate of Title (Form MVR-615).
  • Personal identification, in the form of your NC drivers license or your out-of-state license in conjunction with a valid Temporary Driving Certificate.
  • Complete documentation listing every owner of the vehicle to date. You will need copies of their ID or drivers license, or a document giving you power of attorney to sign on their behalf.
  • Proof of your valid vehicle insurance, by way of your complete insurance policy or insurance card.
  • The standard title transfer fee of $52 is also payable at the time.
  • Any applicable registration fees would also be payable at the time – the NC DMV accepts most major credit cards along with cash, personal checks and money orders.

Vehicles Donated or Received as Gifts

The picture is slightly different when vehicles are donated or gifted, though the title transfer requirements are the same as if the car was being sold privately. However, the standard 3% Highway Use Tax does not apply if the vehicle title is being transferred between:

  • Married partners.
  • Parents giving or receiving cars from their children.
  • Step-parents giving or receiving vehicles from step-children.

As already mentioned a Highway Use Tax Exemption Certification (Form MVR-613) must be completed in order to qualify for exemption.

Title Transfers for Inherited Vehicles

In instances where vehicles are inherited from a spouse and the will goes through probate, the DMV in North Carolina will require:

  • A duplicate of the will that has been fully certified.
  • A valid court certificate or letter of administration.

In the absence of a will or instances where it does not apply, the NC DMV will require an affidavit detailing:

  • The personal details and death date of the prior owner.
  • A document confirming that the will is not going through probate or that the will was left by the deceased.
  • A signed statement that all outstanding vehicle debts have been settled or that measures are in place to pay them off.
  • The relationship of the heirs to the deceased along with their names and ages.
  • The full personal details of the new vehicle owner, including name and address.

It will also be necessary to produce and complete all standard title transfer documents as required by the DMV for standard vehicle sales. The DMV can be contacted at (919) 715-7000 for more information.

Vehicle Title Transfer Fees in NC

Standard fees as imposed by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles for vehicle title transfers are as follows:

  • Vehicle title transfer – $53
  • Instant title – $53 plus an extra $98
  • Highway Use Tax – 3%

(you may be not have to pay HUT if the vehicle is donated to you by a family member – see above for full details.)

  • Late title transfer penalty – $15
  • Corrections to title documents – $20 plus $5 notary fee
  • Duplicate title – $20 plus $5 notary fee
  • Lien removal – $20 plus $5 notary fee

More often than not, registration and title transfer will be processed simultaneously, which in turn means that all fees will be payable all at once. The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles accepts a wide variety of payments, including cash, personal checks, credit cards and money orders.

Please note however that debit cards are NOT accepted by the NC DMV.

Instant Title Transfers

For those looking to get the job done as quickly as possible, a number of NC DMV offices in Raleigh and Charlotte offer instant vehicle title transfers. For an additional fee of $98, the transfer is carried out in full of completed during the visit.

Alterations to Auto Titles

If any information contained within your vehicle title is either incorrect or changed, it is possible to request a correction for a fee of $15.

Name Changes

Should you be required to change your name as it appears on your vehicle title, this should be requested at the earliest possible stage. In order to make such amendments, you will need to submit a number of documents:

  • A fully completed and notarized Corrected or Substitute Title Application (Form MVR-5).
  • The current vehicle title, which must be fully notarized and in the case of vehicles less than 10 years old must also feature odometer readings.
  • A valid NC driving license featuring your new name.
  • Copies of naturalization papers or court orders, if applicable.
  • The standard correction fee of $15 is payable at the time.

Address Change

Should you relocate though remain within the state, you should contact the DMV to amend your vehicle title accordingly. For more information on changing your address, get in touch with the DMV at (919) 715-7000.

Replacing a Lost or Damaged Title

If your current vehicle title is lost, stolen or damaged – or in the instance that you wish to remove a lien – you can request a duplicate from the NC DMV.

In order to process your application, you will need:

  • A fully completed Application for Duplicate Title (Form MVR-4).
  • Full proof of personal identification.
  • The $20 fee for document duplication.
  • Lien release (if applicable).

Documents can be submitted in person at your local DMV office, or by way of postal mail using the address as specified on the application form.

For the fastest and easiest way of tackling every type of vehicle title transfer, head over to Transfer My Auto to generate a free checklist of documents based on your circumstances!