Step-by-Step Guide: How To Do a Pennsylvania Title Transfer

Pennsylvania Title Transfer Guide

You will need to do a title transfer to prove ownership whenever a car is sold or bought in the state of Pennsylvania.

The title transfer process happens automatically when buying through a dealership. Private sales require a little extra legwork (which we explain in this post).

You’ll do this (in a nutshell):

  • Visit a PA DMV
  • File the title
  • Show ID/Insurance
  • Submit an MV-4ST
  • Pay the fees

Need to transfer a title in Pennsylvania? Keep reading and learn what’s needed.

How to Transfer a Title in Pennsylvania State

What brought you to this page is a private title transfer – more than likely – since dealerships handle this process on their own (more on that later).

There shouldn’t be problems when transferring the title between sellers, friends, or family members. Request a duplicate title if you have troubles finding the original.

You must get the car registered else you cannot legally drive it in the state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania State needs:

  1. Get the Certificate of Title
    1. Fill out the back of the title with the following information in front of the PennDOT agent:
      1. Name, address, signature – ALL owners listed must be present to sign
      2. Lienholder information if financing
  2. File the Vehicle Sales and Use Tax Return/Application for Registration (MV-4ST)
  3. Trace the vehicle identification number (VIN) if:
    1. The vehicle was purchased from a non-resident
    2. The vehicle is a motorhome or truck
  4. Complete the vehicle inspection*
  5. Show your personal documents:
    1. Proof of ID
    2. Proof of insurance (Insurance card, declaration page of policy, or copy of binder)
  6. Pay the title taxes and fees
    1. Title Transfer fee
    2. Lien Recording fee (if financing)
    3. Sales tax

*The vehicle inspection must be completed 10 days after title and registration.

Congratulations! You’re good to hit the roads!

Those selling will largely follow this process placing the burden of registration on the buyer. Always file a bill of sale for tax/legal reasons.

The PA DMV recommends both parties complete this process on-location so forms/fees are paid at the time of the transaction.

Pennsylvania Title Fees and Taxes

Title transfers and its associated fees and taxes are expected.

Fees can include:

  • Registration Fee: $37 for passenger vehicles
  • Title Certificate Fee: $53
  • Title with lien recorded: $78
  • Motorcycle: $19
  • Truck: Based on weight.

You will also pay Pennsylvania county sales tax when purchasing a vehicle. Refer to the PA Payments and Fees page for exact details for your vehicle type and county fees.

Dealerships, Out-of-State, Inherited, and Gifted Vehicles

You should try to begin the title transfer process as soon as you can. Luckily, this process is about the same as private registration – with a few exceptions.

Buying from Dealerships

Dealerships will process your title – often free, but sometimes with a cost.

You may choose to submit paperwork (Certificate of Origin, Bill of Sale, Proof of Payment) and the MV-4ST form. You’ll show ID and make payments, too.

Out-of-state Vehicles

Got the vehicle’s title? You’ll need to bring these when transferring to PA State:

  • PA Driver’s license or ID
  • Proof of insurance (Insurance card, declaration page of policy, or copy of binder)
  • Application for Certificate of Title (MV-1)
  • Tracing of the vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Out-of-state title/registration
  • Application for Lessee Information if the vehicle is leased

Pay the title registration fees and any extras (see our registration guide) and you’re good to go!

Gifted/Donated Vehicles

This process is largely the same following a title transfer and registration fees.

gifted vehicle should a proof of ownership and a completed Affidavit of Gift form (MV-13ST). Then, follow the same process as you would with private title transfer steps (mentioned above).

Inherited vehicles are passed depending on the circumstances of inheritance.

If it is passed to the joint owner of the vehicle who is the surviving spouse or has the right of survivorship, submits the following:

  • The vehicle title (do NOT write anything)
  • Original Death Certificate
  • Notification of Assignment/Correction of Vehicle Title Upon Death of Owner (MV-39)
  • Title Transfer fee
    • Free to surviving spouse who was a joint owner
    • $53 otherwise

If the vehicle is passed from a probated will, submit the following:

  • The car title transferred by the estate’s executor
  • Short Form Certificate
  • Vehicle Sales and Use Tax Return/Application for Registration (MV-4ST)
  • Payment for Fees:
    • $53 transfer fee
    • Sales tax
    • $9 Plate transfer fee (Plate can be transferred to a spouse, parents, step-parents, parents-in-law, children, step-children, or children-in-law)