How to Transfer a Vehicle Title in Kentucky?

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A title transfer is required in Kentucky to prove ownership if you bought a new or used car. The title transfer is required if you sold, donated, or gifted your car, too.

The title transfer process is easy, requiring a few steps filing info, paying fees, and submitting paperwork.

Kentucky Auto Title Transfers: How It’s Done

Selling your vehicle or buying one through a private sale?

Your best bet is to have both parties go to the local clerk’s office to avoid any potential issues. Otherwise, the application will need notarization. The process is largely the same between seller and buyer with a few exceptions – below; you’ll find a general overview of the process.

This is the process (including both parties):

  1. Retrieve the vehicle’s title or request a duplicate title
    1. Note: You may need a lien release from the current owner
  2. Fill the title transfer section on the Kentucky certificate of title – including:
    1. Full legal name and address of the buyer and current owner
    2. Date of sale (month, day, and year)
    3. Odometer reading (if applicable)
  3. Complete the Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title or Registration (TC 96-182)
    1. Owner/applicant information
    2. The vehicle, mobile home, or vessel description
    3. Odometer declaration if the seller (vehicles 10yrs and newer, over 16000lbs)
    4. Application signatures
    5. Notarize the application
  4. Bring the necessary personal documents:
    1. Proof of identification
    2. Proof of insurance
    3. Documents stating any liens have been paid
    4. Bill of sale (if applicable)
  5. Pay the taxes and fees
    1. Title: Varies by county
    2. Transfer: Varies by sales tax

* The title transfer may happen when receiving a duplicate title.

Always keep copies of the bill of sale for record-keeping. Congratulations, you’ve completed the Kentucky title transfer application and switched ownership of the vehicle!

Alternative KY Title Transfers

Kentucky wants to know when titles are transferred outside of private sales, whether buying from a car lot or passing the vehicle & title around family and friends.

Buying from Dealerships

Dealerships will process your title & registration, sending documents to their appropriate locations if they don’t, request the forms and deliver them to a KY DMV. They will complete the title application form and do the process as noted in the section above.

Out-of-State Vehicles

Transferring your out-of-state title requires you to file the title application. You’ll also need to provide proof of insurance and ownership/lien and pay the appropriate fees. You may need a letter from the lender if renting when submitting the vehicle.

Inheriting a Vehicle

Inheriting a vehicle from a deceased family member involves much of the same process as private auto title transfers. Except, the recipient will pay the sales tax. Else, the estate will handle the process.

Gifted/Donated Vehicles

You will complete the process much like transferring a title through private sales. Except, you’ll typically be eligible for a tax credit because it’s gifted/donated.


Transferring a title in your state is important to becoming the vehicle’s new owner. You will need to bring all the necessary documents and proof of ownership when filing the transfer application. Fees and taxes may apply based on the type of transfer, so make sure you are prepared before heading to your DMV office.