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How to Transfer a Title in New York

A certificate of title is an official document that proves ownership of a car, and transferring it correctly when a car changes hands is essential. Here’s how to transfer the title correctly when buying or selling a car in New York.

Quick links:

What is the New York title transfer process?

How to fill out the title transfer form?

How to finalize with the New York DMV?

New York title transfer fees

Do I need new license plates in NY?

Is emissions testing required in New York?

Does New York require a bill of sale?

From how to fill out the actual fields in the title certificate to what to do at the DMV after you have the title, this title transfer guide covers everything you need to know about transferring a car title in New York.

Transferring a Used Car Title In New York

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

  1. The seller and buyer meet in person. The buyer pays the seller for the car. Both parties fill out the physical certificate of title and sign it. From that point on the buyer is the legal owner of the car.
  2. The buyer registers the vehicle and formally transfers the title into their name with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

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

  • As the seller, you’ll formalize the whole transaction when you transfer ownership of the car by signing the title over to the buyer. You’ll remove the license plates from the car and be done with the vehicle.
  • As the buyer in a private car sale, you become the legal vehicle owner as soon as the seller transfers the title to your name. You’ll finalize with the New York DMV to get title and registration in your name. You’ll also get new New York license plates as well as used car insurance.

Signing a NY Vehicle Title

It's time to transfer ownership to the buyer. This is an important step in the process of buying a car, right after the buyer pays for the car. When signing a New York title, there are multiple important factors to consider.

Always keep the following information in mind while filling out the certificate of title:

  • Write neatly.
  • Never use nicknames.
  • Never use white-out or erase anything.
  • Any spelling mistakes void the document.
  • Only use blue or black ink. Any other color ink will void the title.

Front of Title

On the front of a New York vehicle title, there is a place for lienholders. The lienholder will fill out the required information.

Back of the Title

The back of the title has sections for the seller (red), and the buyer (teal). Here is the process for filling out the back of a NY title.

DMV Title Transfer

When buying a used car from a private seller in New York, you will have to complete the title transfer at a local NY DMV location.

To apply for a vehicle title transfer in New York, you need to:

  • Visit your local New York DMV office
  • Provide the certificate of title
  • Provide a Bill of sale
  • Provide proof of identification and date of birth (drivers license or insurance identification card)
  • Provide proof of insurance
  • Complete a statement of transaction (Form DTF-802)
  • Complete a vehicle registration/title application (Form MV-82)
  • Pay the $50 vehicle title and registration fee, and used car sales tax

New York Title Transfer Fees

Vehicle title fees may vary depending on the New York county you reside in. Standard fees for vehicle titling in New York are as follows:

New York License Plates

Some states allow the license plates to remain with the car when sold. Unfortunately, New York requires that the plates be removed from the car. As the buyer, you’ll apply to the DMV for new license plates and pay the $25 New York license plate fee.

New York Emissions Testing Requirements

Emission and smog certificates are one of the documents needed in New York that many other states don't require. Before going to register your vehicle, you'll need a New York smog inspection unless your vehicle falls into one of the following exempt categories:

  • Cars less than 2 model years old
  • Cars more than 25 model years old
  • Diesel-powered vehicles that are model year 1996 or older
  • Electric-powered vehicles
  • Vehicles that have historical license plates

If the car that you are buying does not meet any of these criteria, find a New York DMV-authorized smog check station and proceed with the test.

If your car fails the test, you will be granted a 10-day extension to fix your emissions and get the vehicle re-tested.

New York Bill of Sale

New York requires a bill of sale for a private-party car transaction. In addition, a bill of sale is always recommended for legal protection. In case either party ever wants to contest the transaction, the bill of sale proves that it was legal.

These are the components that must be in a bill of sale:

  • Your full name and signature
  • The other party’s full name and notarized signature
  • Price of the car
  • A description of the car
  • The make, model, and year of the car
  • Date of the transaction
  • A warranty disclaimer stating the car is being sold as-is

PrivateAuto includes a bill of sale as part of our standard in-app transaction process. At the appropriate stage in the transaction, both the buyer and seller will be encouraged to e-sign the NY bill of sale in our app.

The whole deal, including the bill of sale, can be done in just a few minutes when you meet to test drive the car and agree to buy it. It’s fast, simple, and convenient. You will always have the electronic bill of sale accessible in your PrivateAuto account as proof that the transaction was legitimate.

Make Sure to Have Car Insurance

New York requires liability insurance at a minimum. If you don’t have it, you won’t be able to register your car and legally drive it. Of course, you can opt for full coverage insurance if you want it. If you don’t have car insurance, get a quick quote here.

Buying or Selling A Vehicle with PrivateAuto

Complete your private vehicle transactions smoothly and legally with PrivateAuto. Our innovative platform connects buyers and sellers and gives them all the tools to complete the transaction, from secure messaging and integrated payments to in-app financing.

See how it works today to sell and buy vehicles privately in New York.

Buying a Car with PrivateAuto

PrivateAuto simplifies the process of buying a used car from a private seller. We keep your personal info secure and private, we allow you to make offers on used cars for sale, and we allow you to pay for the car instantly with PrivateAuto Pay (with no fees). Whether you’re shopping for a Ford Ranger, a Tesla, or a family SUV, we’re here to give you a better car-buying experience.

Shop used cars for sale.

Selling Your Car with PrivateAuto


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

  1. Gather the necessary documents
  2. Create a profile on PrivateAuto and get verified
  3. List your car
  4. Set your own terms
  5. Look through incoming offers
  6. Choose the buyer
  7. Schedule a test drive
  8. E-sign documents
  9. Get paid instantaneously
  10. Transfer ownership

Sell your used car with PrivateAuto today!

New York Title Transfer FAQ

How to request a duplicate vehicle title in New York?

In the state of New York, you can apply for a duplicate title online, in person, or by mail.

Online duplicate title

You can only request a duplicate NY vehicle title online if:

  • A vehicle title has not been processed within the last 15 days
  • The address on your vehicle title and registration matches your current mailing address
  • You own the vehicle title
  • There are no other changes in the information listed on the vehicle’s title

Duplicate title application by mail

In order to successfully apply for a duplicate vehicle title in this state, you need to send:

  • A fully completed application for duplicate title (Form MV-902)
  • A photocopied proof of identification
  • A check in the amount of $20

The required documentation along the payment should be mailed to the following address:

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles

Title Bureau

P.O. Box 2750

Albany, NY 12220

If you choose to use express mail, send your application to the following address:

Duplicate Title Certificates

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles

6 Empire State Plaza

Albany, NY 12228

How to transfer an out-of-state title?

When buying a car from out of state and then registering it in New York, you will need to transfer the title with the NY DMV. You’ll need to provide the following documents:

  • Your out-of-state vehicle title
  • Proof of identification
  • Proof of a valid NY vehicle insurance policy (New York State insurance card (FS-20)
  • Complete the vehicle registration/title application (Form MV-82)
  • Complete a claim sales and use tax exemption – title/registration (Form DTF-803)
  • Payment for all applicable vehicle title fees

How to transfer a car title when the owner is deceased?

If you want to keep a vehicle once the owner passes away, and you’re the surviving spouse or personal representative, you need to transfer the title.

You will need the following documentation in order to transfer a deceased person's vehicle title in New York:

  • The death certificate
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Certificate of the vehicle’s title
  • Order from Probate Court to transfer the vehicle’s title
  • Payment for the vehicle title transfer fee

Where can I go to transfer a car title in New York?

If you bought a car in New York and you’re transferring the vehicle’s title, you can do a car title transfer at a New York DMV office. Below are a couple NY DMV offices.

Department of Motor Vehicles – College Point Office

30-56 Whitestone Expy

Flushing, NY 11354

(518) 486 – 9786

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (8:30 AM to 4 PM)

Thursday (10 AM to 6 PM)

Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

New York Department of Motor Vehicles – Harlem Office

159 E 125th St

New York, NY 10035

(518) 486 – 9786

Monday – Friday (6 AM to 8 PM)

Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

Department of Motor Vehicles

4545 Transit Rd

Williamsville, NY 14221

(716) 858 – 7450

Monday – Saturday (10 AM to 6 PM)

Sunday (12 to 5 PM)

What safeguards should you take when buying a car privately?

We advise the following procedures to keep you safe when purchasing a car privately:

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

The best way to protect yourself when purchasing a vehicle privately is by buying it on a secure platform that offers these.

Get started here!

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

The safest way to transfer funds when selling a car used to be cash. PrivateAuto Pay offers all the advantages of cash with none of the disadvantages. Transfer up to $1 million instantly with no fees, any time of day, 365 days per year. It's truly revolutionary.

Neither the buyer nor the seller has to give out their contact or banking information during the process of buying a car, so both parties can feel safe when exchanging funds.

How much does it cost to register a vehicle in New York?

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles is responsible for vehicle registration and driver licensing in the state.

The state of New York will charge you a bi-annual registration fee (based on the weight of the vehicle) between $26 and $140.

If your car has six or more cylinders or is electric, New York will charge an additional $32.50 every two years.

You will also need to have liability insurance in the state to get your New York registration completed.

You’ll fill out vehicle registration/ title application (Form MV-82), and provide the DMV with documents such as:

  • The vehicle title and registration
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Lien release or lease contract (if necessary).