How to Transfer a Car Title in Wisconsin?

When buying or selling a used car in Wisconsin, transferring the title is one of the most important steps in the whole process.
Transferring a Wisconsin vehicle title needs to be done correctly, and this becomes especially important in private-party car transactions.

This title transfer guide gives you all the details you need to know when signing over an auto title in Wisconsin.

The Process of Transferring a Car Title in Wisconsin

A car title transfer makes the buyer the new owner of the vehicle. A title transfer is divided into two stages:

1. The seller and buyer meet in person. The buyer pays the seller for the car. Both fill out the physical title certificate and sign it. The buyer is now the legal owner of the purchased car.
2. The buyer registers the newly-bought vehicle with the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and the DMV updates their records to establish the buyer as the titled owner.

The first step (the seller signing over the title) is the critical transfer of ownership. The second step is a necessary formality so that the state recognizes you as the new owner of the vehicle.

As the car seller, you transfer ownership of the car by signing the title over to the buyer. You’ll take off your 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 Wisconsin DMV to get a title and registration in your name. You’ll also get your own license plates and car insurance.
Deal Now

Sign the Wisconsin Title Correctly

When signing a Wisconsin certificate of title, always keep the following in mind.

Mistakes make the document invalid.
Do not erase anything or use white-out.
Only use black or blue ink. Any other color will void the title.
Write neatly.
Only use legal birth names.

Front of the Title

The front of a Wisconsin title has a section for lien holders. If the vehicle has a lien (loan), the lienholder (bank) will fill out this section. If not, skip to the back of the title.
Screenshot 2023-12-09 at 6.58.10 PM.png

Back of the Wisconsin Title

The back of the title has sections for the buyer (teal) and the seller (red). Here is the process for filling out the back of a Wisconsin title.
Screenshot 2023-12-09 at 7.04.01 PM.png
1. In the red section marked “1,” the seller enters the exact odometer reading.
a. Don't include tenths of a mile.
b. Only check boxes 1 or 2 if the odometer reading is in excess of its mechanical limits or if the odometer reading is not the actual mileage.
2. The buyer prints their name, address, city, state, and zip code in the blue rectangle marked ”2”.
3. The buyer signs and prints their name in the blue section marked “3”.
4. In the red section marked “4 ,” the seller signs and prints their name.

Wisconsin Vehicle Title Transfer Requirements

In the state of Wisconsin, transfer of title and registration are done at the same time. Wisconsin's title transfer fee is $164.50.

Wisconsin allows you to transfer the title online, by mail, or in person.

To transfer a vehicle title online, you will need the following:

A printer to print off your temporary plate (if applicable) and your eApplication/receipt.
A valid email address to send your eApplication/receipt and temporary plate
A Wisconsin driver license or identification card (proof of identity), last four digits of your social security number and date of birth.
The original title, signed by the seller
Payment for all taxes and fees due. Your credit card or debit card will be charged an additional convenience fee

If you decide to do the transfer in person, you will have to pay an additional $5 counter service fee.

Finalize Ownership Transfer with the Wisconsin DMV

You’ve done the deal and are the proud owner of a new-to-you vehicle. Your work is not done yet. There are still steps you need to take to finalize your vehicle's title transfer with the State of Wisconsin. You also need to get new license plates and register the car with the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Registration in Wisconsin costs $85. To apply for a Wisconsin license plate, you must have a valid Wisconsin car registration card from the Wisconsin DMV. To register your vehicle, you will you will need to pay the following fees:
Screenshot 2023-12-09 at 7.11.56 PM.png

How Much are Wisconsin License Plates?

Wisconsin standard license plates are included in the registration fee of $85, while personalized plates cost an additional $15.

If you want special license plates, be prepared to pay up to $40 on top of the registration fee.

Check out our complete guide to Wisconsin license plate costs for more on the subject.

Buy Your a Car with PrivateAuto

You’ll love how smooth and secure the PrivateAuto car-buying process is:

1. Browse used cars for sale by owner. Filter by location, vehicle type, or other criteria.
2. Make offers on vehicles you like (PrivateAuto lets you offer less than the asking price).
3. Communicate via in-app messaging without giving your contact info.
4. Schedule the test drive while keeping your personal details private.
5. Electronically sign the bill of sale along with the seller.
6. Instantly send payment and take ownership of the car.
Our innovative platform connects buyers and sellers and gives them all the tools to complete the deal, from in-app vehicle financing to secure messaging to integrated payments. You can also schedule a test drive and negotiate the price without ever disclosing your personal information.
Image highlighting Selling Car Privately by PrivateAuto

Sell Your Car In Wisconsin

Here’s how you can sell your car in Wisconsin with a few simple steps:

1. Gather the required paperwork for selling a car in Wisconsin
2. Register on PrivateAuto and get verified
3. List your car
4. Set your terms
5. Vet incoming offers
6. Choose a buyer
7. Schedule a meeting
8. E-sign documents
9. Get paid, instantly
10. Transfer title

List your car for sale today!

Title Transfer FAQ

Can I transfer a title by mail in Wisconsin?

If you are unable to transfer the title in person or online, Wisconsin offers title transfers by mail.

When applying for Wisconsin plates by mail, there are a few key steps to take:

- Print the required forms like the Title & Plate Application using 8.5 x 11 paper. MV1 forms are available online or at DMV offices.
- For payment, send a check or money order made payable to "registration fee trust”.
- Specialty plates may require additional applications and eligibility verification. Check requirements.

Mail the completed forms and payment to the following address:

WI DOT PO Box 7949
Madison, WI 53707-7949

How much does a duplicate title cost in Wisconsin?

Does Wisconsin require emission tests?

How much is a vehicle registration renewal fee in Wisconsin?

How do I avoid scams when buying a used car from a private seller?