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New York Car Title Transfer and Registration


When buying, selling, receiving or giving away a vehicle in New York, it is a legal requirement to transfer the vehicle title to the new owner in a timely manner.

For individuals moving to New York from other North American states, the vehicle must be registered and the title changed no later than 30 days after arrival. It is possible to arrange the registration of the vehicle and the title change at the same time, though valid NY vehicle insurance is required.

The process differs in accordance with whether you have your out-of-state title or not – contact the DMV call center Title Services Bureau at (518) 486-4714 for more information.

Selling and Buying Vehicles in New York

Any change in vehicle ownership must be registered with the DMV at the time of the sale/purchase. The vehicle title needs to be transferred to the new owner, which depending on whether you are the buyer or the seller of the car involves different responsibilities.

Purchasing Cars from Dealerships

In the vast majority of instances, all administrative duties and paperwork will be handled on behalf of the purchasing party by the dealership. The buyer is still liable for all required fees and charges, so it is important to know how much you can expect to pay AND to check that the dealer is taking care of the transfer.

You will often have the option of taking care of things yourself, if you prefer. If this is the case, you will need to visit your nearest NY DMV office and take the required documentation along with you, including:

  • The manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin
  • A bill of sale from the dealer
  • Evidence of sales tax payment
  • All other paperwork received from the dealer
  • A Vehicle Registration/Title Application (Form MV-82) completed and signed
  • An NYS Insurance Identification Card (Form FS-20)
  • Full proof of identification
  • Sufficient funds to cover all applicable fees and charges

Private Vehicle Purchase in NY

If you are looking to buy a vehicle from a private seller, it will be necessary to organize an inspection for your vehicle. After submitting the required paperwork, an extension sticker will be provided which allows you to have the inspection carried out in the next 10 days.

The process involves visiting your local DMV office with:

  • A full bill of sale from the seller
  • A completed vehicle title with the seller’s signature, odometer disclosure statement and damage disclosure statement
  • Your New York State Insurance Identification Card (Form FS-20)
  • A Vehicle Registration/Title Application (Form MV-82), completed and signed
  • If the registration is not required, the Application for Title (Form MV-82TON) can be used for the title only
  • Personal identification
  • A Statement of Transaction – Sale or Gift of Motor Vehicle, Trailer, All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), Vessel (Boat), or Snowmobile (Form DTF-802), completed and signed
  • Sufficient funds to cover all applicable fees and charges

Vehicle Sales in New York

The process is slightly different for those looking to sell a vehicle in NY, with sellers being required to:

  • Complete and sign the vehicle title certificate, which must include a damage disclosure statement and odometer disclosure statement
  • Complete a Statement of Transaction – Sale or Gift of Motor Vehicle, Trailer, All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), Vessel (Boat), or Snowmobile (Form DTF-802)
  • Sales tax will be collected from the purchasing party by the DMV
  • A full bill of sale which must detail:
    • The make, model and year of manufacture of the vehicle
    • The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
    • The sale date
    • The agreed purchase price
    • The full names of the seller and the buyer
    • Signatures from the seller and the buyer
    • The buyer must be provided with the original and the seller should retain a copy
    • The vehicle’s license plates should be removed, after which they will need to be handed over to the DMV or transferred to a new vehicle

Lien Removal in NY

When a vehicle has been fully paid for and no debt remains, lien must be removed from the vehicle title. This involves getting hold of the lienholder and ensuring that they get in touch with the DMV to notify them that the car has been fully paid for and lien can be removed.

This can be done by:

  • The lienholder can complete a Notice of Recorded Lien (Form MV-900) and send it to the owner of the vehicle, in order for them to then take it to the DMV.
  • The lienholder also has the option of writing an official letter to the DMV to inform them that the lien can be removed. The letter must satisfy certain criteria including:
    • Official letter headed paper from the lienholder
    • The document must be signed by an official from the company
    • Full information about the vehicle must be documented

When the vehicle owner has the required documentation from the lienholder, they must send the paperwork along with the original title certificate and the $20 fee payable to:

Lien Release
NYSDMV Title Services
Department of Motor Vehicles
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228
The new vehicle title will generally be received within 90 days.

Gifting and Donating Vehicles

The process for transferring a vehicle title is slightly different when no money is exchanged. In the instance of a vehicle owner giving a car to a family member, a friend or a charitable organization, they will need to provide the new owner with:

  • The registration certificate and vehicle title
  • Damage disclosure and odometer disclosure must be completed
  • A Statement of Transaction – Sale or Gift of Motor Vehicle, Trailer, All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV), Vessel (Boat), or Snowmobile (Form DTF-802), completed and signed
  • Lienholder documents (if applicable)

Receiving Gifted Vehicles

If you are given a vehicle with no money changing hands, the above paperwork should be brought into your local DMV office. The title transfer process is then the same as that of buying a vehicle from a private seller.

NY Title Transfer Fees and Charges

Exact fees and charges vary from one county to the next, but generally tend to fall around the following:

  • Vehicle license plat fees – $50
  • Title certificate fee – $50
  • Sales tax – varies by jurisdiction

Contact the DMV call center Title Services Bureau at (518) 486-4714 for more information on exact fees and charges.

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!