Buying/Receiving a Vehicle

* After you buy or receive a vehicle as a gift, you have 15 days to transfer the ownership into your name. If you don't transfer within 15 days you'll have to pay penalties:

A)  When buying from a private party you will need to transfer ownership 

B) If you receive a vehicle as a gift or donation you'll need transfer ownership

C)   If you buy from a WA state dealer, they will take care of the transfer. If you buy from an out-of-state dealer, you may need to take care of the transfer. 

You will need:

  1. A title, dated and signed by all registered and legal owners; or a notarized Affidavit of Loss.
  2. Documentation of the purchase price on the title or a Bill of Sale or Statement of Gift.
    • Please note: purchases for less than market value may also require additional documentation
  3. An odometer statement on vehicles less than 10 years old.
    • *If the vehicle is less than 10 years old, fill out the Odometer Disclosure section on the Title. Most titles have an Odometer Disclosure section. If you don't have the Title, you can get an Odometer Disclosure form through a licensing office. This form is printed on tamperproof paper and can't be downloaded.
    • If the vehicle is more than 10 years old, you don't have to fill out the Odometer statement.
  4.  A current emission test that is no more than 1 year old (check ahead to see if required)
    • Emission check program is ending in 2020
  5.  A current Washington State Driver’s License. The registered owner must be 18 years of age or older.
    • The state legislature amended Washington law in 2005. The amended law requires Washington residents to provide an unexpired Washington Driver License (WDL) for the initial registration of a motor vehicle, as proof of residency.
  6. Cash, check or money order or Credit/Debit Card (fee applies).

 Transfer:

  1. Go to a licensing office to transfer title 
    • Title application will be printed for your signature and will be certified by the title clerk
  2. Get your new registration and license plates 
    • Washington Law requires the replacement of plates when a vehicle has changed ownership.
    • Plates don't need to be replaced if you are removing a deceased spouse or domestic partner, transferring from your spouse or domestic partner, adding or removing a family member, received as a gift or inheritance from a family member, or  a trust in which the registered owner or their immediate family members are the beneficiaries   
  3. The title is mailed to you and will take 8-10 weeks.
    • If you need it faster than 8-10 weeks: You can visit or mail your forms and fees to a Quick Title office. It will cost an additional $50 plus the title fees.
    • *Note: Quick titles are only available at certain offices and aren't available for snowmobiles, vehicles or boats reported as stolen, insurance or wrecker-destroyed or vehicles with "WA Rebuilt" on the title.
  4. Add the vehicle to your License eXpress account

Selling a Vehicle

  1. File a Report of Sale
  2. A seller can choose to retain their plates and transfer them to a different vehicle

Don’t Forget: file a Report of Sale when you sell, gift, or donate your vehicle. This relieves you of liability for the vehicle and possible tow charges and tickets.