How To Transfer a Car Title in Pennsylvania

How to Transfer Car Title in Pennsylvania

As a resident of Pennsylvania, you should learn how to transfer a car title, especially if you intend to buy and sell cars in the state. Car trades in Pennsylvania don’t end with the exchange of funds. The process ends when ownership is transferred.

Transferring titles requires a lot of paperwork, and you must complete them accurately and smoothly. Hence the need to learn how to transfer car titles.

The dealer (seller) is responsible for transferring the car title in Pennsylvania. Although as the buyer, you will need to be around to sign some documents and provide your name in the given spaces.

To transfer a car title in Pennsylvania, the name and address of the buyer will be disclosed, plus a disclosure of the odometer reading and payment of the necessary fees.

However, it is important to note that this process can vary depending on a few factors. Read on to learn more about transferring a car title in Pennsylvania.

Can You Transfer a Car Title Online in PA?

Yes. Pennsylvania makes certain official provisions that allow car title transfers online. All car title transfers in Pennsylvania, PA, must be handled by the Pennsylvania Department of Transport, and this can only be done by an agent in their office.

However, a few parts of the application can also be done online in Pennsylvania. You can also renew your title online but not transfer a car title online.

Do Both Parties Need To Be Present To Transfer a Title in PA?

Yes. Both parties need to be present to transfer a title in Pennsylvania, PA. It is important and necessary that the buyer and the seller are present and available during the title transfer. Both parties have different roles to play in the entire responsibility of transferring a car title in PA.

The seller handles the task of completing certain sections of the title, which includes signing and printing their name on the title and also recording the name and address of the buyer. The seller will also handle odometer mileage disclosure, all of which will be done in the presence of an authorized PA (PennDOT) agent.

A tax status application may apply, but the seller will have to remove the registration plate and transfer to another vehicle or return to the Pennsylvania Department of Transport, depending on the circumstances surrounding its transfer.

On the buyer's side, they will have to provide a means of identification. This can include but is not limited to a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license, photo ID card, etc. It is important to mention that car title transfer in PA is limited to only Pennsylvania residents.

The buyer will provide an address, make provisions for insurance, and sign and print their names on Section D of the certificate of title. Buyers must verify the odometer reading as disclosed by the seller.

An inspection might apply in certain situations, depending on the circumstances surrounding the process of transferring a car title.

What Documents Do You Need To Transfer a Car Title in PA?

Here are some of the documents that you will need to transfer a car title in PA:

  • Proof of Identification from the seller and buyer. This can include a driver’s license.
  • Odometer Statement
  • Certificate of Title
  • Insurance Documentation

In some cases, a thorough safety inspection will be carried out on the car before a new title is issued. The safety inspection can include an emission inspection. This is mostly applicable if you are buying a used vehicle, and this is a once-a-year routine to ensure the overall safety of highways.

How To Transfer a Car Title in Pennsylvania

Now that you know the documents and requirements for transferring a car title in Pennsylvania, let’s look at the step-by-step process.

These steps are split into different categories, so you must figure out your role: buyer or seller.

1. Initialize Application

The first step to transferring a car title in Pennsylvania is to start the application. This begins with all parties involved understanding that they need to be present during the title transfer. You can use this period to gather all the requirements/documents from the buyer and the seller.

2. Signing Titles

You cannot sell a vehicle in Pennsylvania without a title. The certificate of title is what both parties will use to initiate the title transfer.

For a used vehicle, Form MV-4ST, “Vehicle Sales and Use Tax Return/Application for Registration,” should be attached to the application. If the title is lost, the seller must apply for a duplicate title, pay the necessary fees and satisfy the lien, if applicable.

With the title available, the seller must fill in the buyer's details, name(s), and address. The seller will also sign and print their name in the spaces provided.

The process of filling and printing the required information on the title will need to be done by an authorized agent. This is where it becomes important that all parties notarize the signing and transfer of title.

While the seller handles the signing and completion of section A of the title on the back of the title, the buyer will have completed section D, but in front of the title. The buyer will need to sign and print their name, also in the presence of an authorized agent.

3. Proof of Identification

For the completion of the title transfer, all parties involved in the transfer must tender proof of identification. Some of the documents that the buyer should provide as proof of identification include:

  • Valid Pennsylvania photo driver’s license
  • A valid Pennsylvania photo identification card
  • Valid Pennsylvania photo exempt driver’s license
  • A valid Pennsylvania photo-exempt identification card
  • Valid Pennsylvania 15-day temporary Internet driver’s license
  • Identification card renewal credential and expired DL/ID
  • A valid Pennsylvania camera card
  • Pennsylvania expired identification credential
  • Valid U.S. armed forces common access card.

The buyer does not need to provide all of these documents. You simply need to provide one that matches and perfectly describes your identity. The proof of identification provided must be listed as the same name as provided in the form.

New residents filling out for title transfer will have to apply for a driver’s license or a photo ID car which they must provide during the application for title transfer.

4. Odometer Disclosure

Upon completion of proof of identification, odometer readings must follow. The seller will need to fill in accurate details of the odometer, and the buyer must confirm and verify the odometer disclosure as provided by the buyer.

The buyer will provide details of the odometer reading in Section A of the application, and the seller will verify in an odometer statement as provided in the spaces on the certificate of title.

If the vehicle is a 2008 or newer model, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 pounds or less, but has an odometer reading of less than 7,500 miles, then you must get certification from the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

5. Title Registration and Insurance

At this stage, the buyer can proceed with title registration and finalizing things with any preferred insurance company before when the title is transferred.

The buyer can apply for a new title and registration card from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. You can confirm the fees and taxes that are required to do this.

6. Application and Removal of Registration Plate

The title transfer is almost completed, as the seller will need to remove their license plates while the buyer proceeds with applying for a new license plate.

As the buyer, you can transfer your title from another vehicle to the new vehicle you just bought. The seller will remove the previous license plate and decide if they wish to transfer it to another vehicle.

7. Fees and Tax

In Pennsylvania, you must pay some fees and necessary taxes to transfer your car title. The rates for title transfer vary based on different circumstances.

This depends on if you are paying for an out-of-state transfer, a title with a lien, or just a title transfer for a vehicle bought from an individual seller. The cost of transferring car titles in Pennsylvania ranges from $58 - $86.

If the car title transfer is for a car that was given as a gift, then the MV-13ST (1 - 19) must be collected, filled, and submitted.

How Long Do You Have To Transfer a Title in Pennsylvania?

There isn’t any official speculation on how long you have to transfer a title in Pennsylvania. However, if you are a Pennsylvanian, then you must transfer the title within 20 days from the day of purchase.


The process of transferring a title in Pennsylvania isn’t as hard as it seems. You must understand the process and follow it carefully.

Don’t forget that all title transfer applications are done in the PennDOT office, and you must complete your application within the speculated day.