South Carolina Title Transfer: How It’s Done

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Want to sell a vehicle? Buying one? Or, perhaps you’re gifting or inheriting it?

You’ll need to complete a title transfer to pass ownership if the vehicle.

The two parties exchange the title, file the appropriate paperwork, and pay any necessary fees. This process doesn’t take long, given you’re prepared. Or, if both parties go to the DMV (recommended).

Below, you’ll learn how the South Carolina title transfer process works for private transactions. Plus, learn the alternative title transfers and how you’ll bring a vehicle from out of the state, too.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Transferring Your Title in South Carolina

It’s recommended that both parties go to the DMV, as this clears any confusion and potential issues when passing ownership of the vehicle. However, you’re more than welcome to exchange the title on your own time and later visit the DMV to complete the process.

You will visit a South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles office (see our directory).

Here is what you’ll do to complete a title transfer in South Carolina (including the seller and buyer):

  1. Retrieve the vehicle’s title or request a duplicate title
    1. Buyers: You may need a lien release from the current owner
    2. Sellers: Provide a lien release to the buyer if needed
  2. Fill in the South Carolina 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. Vehicle price the buyer paid
    4. Signatures from both parties
  3. Bring any necessary documents:
    1. Proof of identification
    2. Proof of SC residency
    3. Proof of SC auto insurance
    4. Bill of Sale (if the title is from June 19, 1989, or older)
    5. Power of Attorney (if signing for someone else)
    6. Receipt for paid vehicle property taxes
    7. Sellers: Notice of Vehicle Sold (Form 416)
  4. Pay the variable taxes and fees
    1. Title: $15
    2. Infrastructure Fee: 5% of purchase (up to $500)

You should register your vehicle after titling it to avoid any complications. See our South Carolina vehicle registration guide to learn how the process is done. If you haven’t got it yet, do consider adding or dropping auto insurance. Or, shopping around for a new policy as you may find new discounts.

Alternative Title Transfers in South Carolina

South Carolina 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. See each section below for the alternative title transfer process you require.

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 an SC DMV.

Moving to South Carolina (Out-of-State Vehicle)

Bringing your vehicle from another state because you’re moving to South Carolina? You’ll want to get it registered within 45 days. The process is surprisingly simple.

You will:

  • Show proof of ownership
  • Show proofs: ID, residency, insurance
  • Submit the Form 400
  • Show the receipt for your vehicle property tax
  • Pay your transfer and fees
  • Pay the $250 Infrastructure Maintenance Fee

You can turn this information in at a local DMV office or mail it.

Inheriting a Vehicle

Inheriting a vehicle typically involves the following:

  • Getting the current title and death certificate of the deceased
  • Filing and signing the vehicle’s title

You may also need to provide an affidavit, certificate of appointment, or court order. We suggest you check with your local DMV for the exact procedures as this greatly changes depending on the situation.

In all, though, you’ll fil the Form 400 and provide the necessary documents.

Gifted/Donated Vehicles

Gifting a vehicle is basically the same as transferring ownership under a private transaction. Except, you’ll mark the “Bonafide Gift” box during the transfer. Complete the steps outlined in the private transaction section above, and you’ll have finished the gifting process.


As you can see, transferring car titles in South Carolina is not a difficult process. However, you must keep in mind the deadlines and paperwork you need to submit. If done correctly, your title transfer will be smooth and uneventful! Remember to do your research so that all of your documents are in order before submitting them for review.