How To Transfer a Car Title in Virginia

How to Transfer Car Title in Virginia

Did you move to Virginia, or have you been around but wish to learn how to transfer car titles in the state? Car title transfer is one of the major processes that solidifies the transfer of ownership of a car, and this is needed when you buy, sell, gift someone a car, or inherit a car.

You can transfer a car title in Virginia by completing an application for title and registration form, providing proof of address, purchase price, odometer reading, bill of sale, and paying the necessary fees.

In some cases, you might need to present a certificate of buyer and manufacturer’s certificate of origin, and this greatly depends on the circumstances surrounding your title transfer.

Here's a detailed guide on how to transfer a car title in Virginia.

Can You Transfer a Title Online in Virginia?

Yes. You cannot transfer a title online in Virginia. All title applications and registrations can be done in two ways, either via mail or in person. To transfer titles, you can send your applications to USPS or UPS.

If you are sending in your application via the US Postal Service, you should mail your title applications through:

Virginia DMV

Titling Department

P.O. Box 27412

Richmond, VA 23269

Applications via UPS and FedEx should be sent in through:

Virginia DMV

Titling Department

2300 West Broad St

Richmond, VA 23269

The process of transferring a car title via mail and in-person is almost the same, except that you will have to mail a check or money order of payment. You must understand that the Department of Motor Vehicles in Virginia does not accept credit card numbers via mail, and you should not send cash.

However, the beauty of title transfers in Virginia is that you can apply for an electronic or a paper title.

What Documents Do I Need To Transfer a Title in VA?

Here are the documents that you need to transfer a title in Virginia.

  • Odometer Reading
  • Bill of Sale or Vehicle Price certification
  • Application for certificate of title and registration
  • Proof of Address
  • Manufacturer’s statement of origin
  • Money Order that includes the required fees or tax

How To Transfer a Car Title in Virginia

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can transfer your car title and registration in Virginia:

1. Choose Your Preferred Titling Process

The first step in transferring a car title in Virginia is choosing whether to transfer the title via mail or to do it in person.

Both processes are greatly similar with just slight variations. However, choosing your preferred titling process will help you decide which application will be most convenient for you.

2. Gather All Necessary Documents

To successfully transfer a title in Virginia, there are a lot of documents that you will need to submit. Some of these documents include a certificate of title with the reassignment and buyer’s certification, all completely filled and signed.

You can get the certificate of title from the initial owner of the car (seller). However, you can also use a manufacturer’s certificate of origin or statement of origin with its back properly signed.

You will also need to complete the Application for Title and Registration, Form VSA 17A. The form will capture the following:

Your personal information

  • Name
  • Address

Vehicle information

  • Make
  • Model
  • Year
  • Fuel type
  • GCWR
  • GVWR
  • Vehicle Identification Number

You will need to provide lien information, if applicable, but most importantly, the buyer must categorically state how the vehicle was sold to them: new, used, or as a demonstrator.

This includes citing the purchase date and sales price. If you bought your car from a dealer, they must input their license number and the manufacturer rebate or incentive.

The form includes an odometer statement, registration, insurance, and tax queries, as applicable. Other forms that you will need to transfer a car title in Virginia include a proof of address, and proof of purchase price, which can be the bill of sale, the seller’s declared sale price as seen on the title, or a vehicle price certification can suffice.

The buyer and seller must sign the bill of sale. The proof of your current Virginia address can be a utility bill that is dated within 2 months, a bank statement dated within the last 2 months, or a pay stub dated within the last 2 months.

3. Pay the Required Fees

After gathering the required documents, you should pay the required fees. The total cost of transferring a title in Virginia is $15. This includes sales and tax. However, certain situations can call for tax exemption.

But you must provide proof of exemption status or complete the purchaser’s statement of tax exemption form. You might incur additional fees, especially if you are applying for a specialty or personalized plate.

4. Request an Odometer Reading

After paying the required fees and gathering all the necessary documents, you should not forget to request an odometer reading from the seller.

The odometer reading should be included in the assignment section of the title, and as the buyer, you should also provide the same reading in the application for title and registration.

For out-of-state titles and vehicles that do not have an assignment section in their titles, the seller should record the odometer reading in an odometer disclosure statement.

The seller must inform the buyer if there are any inaccuracies in the odometer readings. If this happens, the buyer should indicate that “the odometer reading is above the actual mileage” or it is “in excess of its mechanical limits.”

In the event that the out-of-state title has an exemption from odometer disclosure, then you don’t need to provide an odometer disclosure to transfer the title. You’ll simply need to present the out-of-state title that indicates that there is an exemption.

5. Choose your preferred type of title

If you are done with your odometer readings, payment of fees and taxes, then you are almost done with transferring your title. All you have to do is decide whether you want an electronic or paper title.

You can choose to go for an electronic title if you don’t have a need for a paper title. A paper title will always be issued to you upon request at any time, at no extra cost, as long as it hasn’t been printed before.

It is important to mention that if you are handling your application via mail, you should not forget to include a good and reachable number that the Department Of Motor Vehicles can reach you in case of any discrepancies or questions.

Don’t forget to attach a tracking number to your mailed package and also keep photocopies of all materials sent out.

Transferring Car Title in Virginia for Out-of-State Vehicles

The process of transferring car titles for out-of-state vehicles is almost the same with resident drivers. All you have to do is to attach any of the following documents to your application:

  • Registration card or title from your previous state of residence
  • The previous car owner’s (seller’s) out-of-state title signed over to you
  • Ownership document from the US Armed Forces with your name boldly written on it as the owner.

If you are submitting an out-of-state registration card, then it is important that it is unexpired or at least with an expiration date that is less than 12 months.

For your out-of-state titles, you will also need to provide proof of purchase, including a buyer’s order and the declared sale price or bill of sale, all signed by the seller and buyer. A vehicle price certification signed by both parties can also serve.

You can mail the documents to Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles or do it in person by locating any DMV office near you.


Transferring a car title in Virginia is a very easy process. You simply need to ensure that you don’t make mistakes in the process.

Do not submit incorrect odometer readings or miss the readings entirely. Make sure that the signature of the buyer and seller is duly provided and that the sales price matches the bill of sale, don’t forget to get a lien release, if applicable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to transfer a title in Virginia?

It only costs $15 to transfer a car title in Virginia. However, you might have to pay certain taxes or fees, especially for special license plates.

How long does it take to transfer a title in Virginia?

Title transfers in Virginia take up to 30 days. You must exercise a little patience to see that your car and personal details appear in the DMV, Virginia record.