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How to Transfer a Car Title in North Dakota?

How to Transfer a Car Title in North Dakota?

A certificate of title is a legal form that proves ownership of a car. Whether you are looking to sell a used car in North Dakota or are buying one, transfer of ownership is the most important step in the whole transaction.

Quick links:

What is the North Dakota title transfer process?

How to finalize with the North Dakota DOT?

ND title transfer fees

Do I need to get new license plates in North Dakota?

Is emissions testing required in North Dakota?

Is a bill of sale required in North Dakota?

The most fundamental part of every private vehicle transaction is completing the title transfer according to official protocol. Our North Dakota car title transfer guide will tell you everything you need to know.

Vehicle Title Transfer Process In North Dakota

A vehicle title transfer establishes the buyer of the vehicle as the new owner. There are two stages  to a title transfer:

  1. Seller and buyer meet in person. The buyer pays the seller for the car. Both fill out the physical certificate of title and sign. The buyer is now the legal owner of the purchased vehicle.
  2. The buyer registers the newly-bought vehicle and formally transfers the title to their name with the North Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT).

The first step (seller and buyer meeting) is the most important (the second step is a necessary formality).

  • As the car seller, you will finalize the transaction when you transfer ownership of the car by signing the title over to the buyer. You’ll remove the license plates and be done with the car.
  • As the buyer, you become the legal owner as soon as the seller transfers the title to your name. You will finalize with the ND DOT to get title and registration in your name. You’ll also get new North Dakota license plates and auto insurance.

Signing the Certificate of Title Document

It’s time to transfer your vehicle's title. This is the step where the seller signs the title over to the buyer. It’s probably the single most important step in the entire transaction (along with the buyer paying for the car, of course).

There are some critical details you need to pay attention to when signing a vehicle title in North Dakota

Crucial Info For Signing a North Dakota Car Title

When you are signing the title certificate, always keep the following tips in mind.

  • Never use any other color ink than black or blue.
  • Always write neatly.
  • Only use your legal name.
  • Never use white-out or erase anything.
  • Any spelling mistakes will void the document.

Front of Title

The front of a North Dakota title has a section for the seller (red), the buyer (teal), and the lienholder (green). Here is how you fill out the front of the ND certificate of title:

  1. In the red rectangle the seller will enter their full legal name, address, city, state, zip code, county as well as their personal phone number.
  2. The seller enters the exact odometer reading and the date of the sale in the red rectangle marked “2”, below.
  3. The seller will sign and print their name and date in the red-colored rectangle.
  4. In the teal-colored rectangle, the buyer will print and sign their name and the date of sale.
  5. In the green-colored square below, the lienholder releases the lien by entering the required information.

Back of Title

The back of the title has sections for the buyer (teal). Here is the process for filling out the back of a North Dakota title.

Finalizing a North Dakota Title Transfer with the DOT

When buying a car from a private seller in ND, the buyer will have to finalize the title transfer at their local ND DOT.

To apply for a vehicle title transfer in North Dakota, you need:

  • Completed vehicle title certificate.
  • Proof of identity (real ID).
  • A completed application for certificate of title and registration of a vehicle (form SFN 2872)
  • A completed damage/salvage disclosure statement (form SFN 18609).
  • Payment for all applicable fees and taxes

ND Title Transfer Fees

The standard fees for vehicle titling in North Dakota are as follows:

  • Vehicle title transfer fee: $5
  • ND car sales tax: 5% of the purchase price
  • Vehicle registration fee: $49 to $274
  • Odometer disclosure (if the car is less than 10 years old)

North Dakota License Plates

Some states allow the license plates to remain with the car when sold. Unfortunately, North Dakota requires that the plates be removed from the car. As the buyer, you’ll apply to DOT for new license plates, and pay the $120 North Dakota license plate fee.

North Dakota Emissions Testing Requirements

North Dakota laws don't require you to perform emissions testing in order to transfer a car title and register your car.

North Dakota Bill of Sale

In the state of North Dakota, a bill of sale is required for transferring the title. Required or not, we recommend always completing a bill of sale in a private-party vehicle transaction, as it offers legal protection to both seller and buyer.

Bill of Sale

Here are the essential elements in a bill of sale:

  • Your full name and signature
  • The other party’s full name and signature
  • Price of the car
  • The make, model, and year of the car
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

PrivateAuto includes an official North Dakota bill of sale as part of our standard in-app transaction process. At the appropriate stage in the transaction, the buyer and seller will be prompted to e-sign the North Dakota bill of sale within the PrivateAuto app.

The whole transaction, including the bill of sale, can be completed in just a few minutes when you meet up for the test drive. It is simple and fast. This way you will always have an electronic copy of the bill of sale accessible in your PrivateAuto account.

Buying or Selling A Car with PrivateAuto

Conduct private car transactions easily and safely with PrivateAuto. Our innovative platform connects buyers and sellers and gives them all the tools to complete the deal, from in-app financing to secure messaging to integrated payments.

Buy or sell a North Dakota car today!

10 Easy Steps for Selling A Used Car with PrivateAuto


PrivateAuto makes selling your used car safe and easy. The sales process consists of a few simple steps:

  1. Gather the required documentation
  2. Create your PrivateAuto profile and get verified
  3. List the car
  4. Set your own terms
  5. Vet incoming offers
  6. Choose the buyer you like
  7. Schedule the meetup
  8. E-sign paperwork
  9. Get paid instantaneously
  10. Transfer ownership

Thinking About Buying a Used Car in North Dakota?

If you’re looking to buy a private-party used car, check out our selection of used cars for sale in North Dakota. Whether you’re shopping for a sports car or a reliable family SUV, you’re sure to find a great deal on the ride of your dreams.

North Dakota Title Transfer FAQ

How to transfer a vehicle title when you have an out-of-state title?

If you are transferring the title of an out-of-state vehicle in North Dakota, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of identification
  • Proof of a valid ND vehicle insurance policy
  • Original out-of-state title
  • A completed ND vehicle registration application
  • A completed certificate of ownership

How to request a duplicate vehicle title in North Dakota?

If your car’s title has been damaged, lost, or destroyed, you need to request a title replacement.

You will need to provide the following to the local North Dakota DOT office:

  • Fill out the application for the title certificate and registration of a vehicle
  • Registration certificate
  • Reason for requesting a duplicate vehicle title
  • Pay the ND duplicate vehicle title fee of $5

Mail the lost title application to the following address:

Department of Transportation

Motor Vehicle Division

608 E. Boulevard Ave.

Bismarck, ND 58505

What is the safest method of payment when selling a North Dakota car?

In most cases, the safest way to transfer money when selling a car is cash. Until we arrived, that is. With PrivateAuto Pay, you can avoid the risks and hassle of other payment methods and transfer large sums of money instantly and securely.

PrivateAuto Pay

Sellers and buyers can stay safe while exchanging large sums of money: as they don’t have to share their contact or banking information during the car buying process.

How to protect yourself when buying a car privately?

To protect yourself when buying the car privately, we recommend the following practices:

  1. Never give out your contact information
  2. Deal with verified sellers only
  3. Have a bill of sale to legally validate the transaction
  4. Send the payment through PrivateAuto Pay

The best way to protect yourself when buying a car privately is by buying it on a secure platform that offers these features (such as PrivateAuto).

What is needed for North Dakota vehicle registration?

If you are registering a car in North Dakota, you will need to submit the following to the North Dakota DOT:

If you fall under these categories, you are not required to register the car:

  • Nonresident students
  • Tourists
  • Members of the Armed Forces

Does my used car need a safety inspection in North Dakota?

All North Dakota vehicles are required to undergo an annual safety inspection for registration renewal to occur. You’ll need to pay the yearly registration fee and any state or excise tax owed at the time you renew your car registration.

You have 90 days to get the car inspected and registered.

Who is eligible for tax exemption in ND?

The only applicants for tax exemption are disabled veterans. To apply for tax exemption, you will need a signed letter from The Department of Veteran Affairs office.