What Do I Need for an Iowa Vehicle Title Transfer?

In order to successfully transfer a vehicle’s title, you need to make sure you have the necessary documents and payments. It’s a good idea for the buyer and seller of the vehicle to visit the Iowa MVD together to avoid possible delays and errors with the IA vehicle title process.

To transfer the title of a vehicle in Iowa, make sure you have:

  • Odometer disclosure and damage disclosure statements
  • A signed and completed IA vehicle title/ Application for Certificate of Title and/or Registration (Form 411007)
  • Payment for all applicable IA vehicle title transfer fees

Make sure you have these documents and payments before heading to your local IA MVD office. Keep in mind, you may be required to submit additional documents and payments.

Smog Certification/Vehicle Inspection

Smog checks and emissions testing are not required in Iowa, but IA residents need to remain aware of all out-of-state vehicle inspection standards. A smog check becomes necessary when a resident moves from the state of Iowa to a state that requires vehicle emissions testing. In this situation, a smog check will be required for residents to renew their vehicle registration.

How to Transfer Your Vehicle Title in Iowa?

Once you establish residency in Iowa, you have 30 days to title and register your vehicle with the IA county treasurer’s office. If your vehicle license plates are valid in a different state, you are still required to complete the Iowa vehicle title and registration process. Visit your local Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) office with:

  • A completed Application for Certificate of Title and/or Registration (Form 411007)
  • The out-of-state vehicle title
  • Payment for the vehicle title transfer and registration fees

Selling a Vehicle in Iowa

If you are selling a vehicle in Iowa, it may be in your best interest to have the buyer accompany you to the nearest IA county treasurer’s office to complete the vehicle title transfer process to avoid errors and other complications.

When you sell a vehicle in Iowa, you need to:

  • Sign and date the vehicle title and complete an odometer and damage disclosure statement before giving it to the buyer (If a damage disclosure section isn’t present on the vehicle title, you must complete a Damage Disclosure Statement (Form 411108). If an Odometer Disclosure Statement isn’t present on the vehicle’s title, you need to submit a separate Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form 411077).
  • Complete a bill of sale with the buyer (it’s a good idea to have this document notarized)
  • Provide the vehicle’s buyer with the name of the county where the vehicle was last registered in addition to the date the license plates expire
  • Complete a Notice of Sale of Vehicle and Delivery of Title (Form 4111107) and submit it to your local IA county treasurer’s office (the Delivery of Title form certifies the transfer/delivery of your vehicle title and vehicle to the purchaser)

If you choose to sell your vehicle to an individual who is out of state, you need to provide the following documentation separately:

  • A completed Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form 411077)
  • A completed Damage Disclosure Statement (Form 411108) if required

If you purchase another vehicle within 30 days, you can transfer your current license plates to your new vehicle. If not, you can surrender your license plates to your nearest IA county treasurer’s office.

Buying a Vehicle in Iowa

When you purchase a new vehicle from a dealership in Iowa, the dealership will take care of the required paper for the MVD vehicle title transfer. If you purchase a vehicle from a private party, make sure you get the name of the county where the vehicle was previously registered and the date the license plates expire.

In order to successfully apply for an Iowa vehicle title transfer and register your vehicle, follow these steps:

  • Ask the seller of the vehicle to sign, date, and complete the vehicle title, then complete the sections of the title the buyer is responsible for completing. Keep in mind the vehicle’s seller is responsible for completing an odometer disclosure (Form 411077) and damage disclosure statement (Form 411108) on the title. If there is a lien on the
    vehicle, the lien holder must also sign the vehicle’s title.
  • Obtain a bill of sale from the vehicle’s seller
  • Complete an Application for Certificate of Title and/or Registration (Form 411007)

Take the above-mentioned documents and payment for the vehicle title transfer and registration fees to your local IA DOT office.

In the state of Iowa, you are able to drive your vehicle for up to 30 days without license plates if you carry either a signed and dated bill of sale or the vehicle’s title assigned to you in your name. A photocopy of both sides of the vehicle’s title is also an acceptable document.

How to Transfer a Car Title When the Owner is Deceased?

An Iowa vehicle title transfer is required when the owner of the vehicle passes away if you intend on keeping, gifting, or selling the vehicle. In this situation, you need to determine if the vehicle’s title was in the individual’s name as a descendant or whether it was joint ownership. If the vehicle’s title was solely in the descendant’s name, you are responsible for determining if the estate is being probated.

Probate is the legal process in which the deceased individual’s estate is administered based on their will. This legal process occurs if there is no living spouse or beneficiary listed on the will. The probate proves the last will and testament is legitimate and looks into the deceased individual’s assets and property. The Probate Court will determine how to distribute the deceased individual’s belongings based on their will.

If the vehicle is part of a probated estate, you need to follow these steps to correctly transfer the vehicle title of a deceased individual:

Contact Probate Court and Attorney

Until the probate process is complete, the vehicle’s title can’t be transferred. The executor or administrator of the deceased individual needs to contact Probate Court or an attorney to receive further instructions on how to proceed. When the probate process is complete, the heir will be given the vehicle. During this time, if the executor was given the vehicle, they can choose to sell the vehicle.

Gather the Required Documents to Transfer the Vehicle’s Title

Make sure you have the following documentation to transfer the vehicle’s title in Iowa:

  • Odometer disclosure statement (Form 411077)
  • Certificate of the title
  • Order from Probate Court to Transfer the vehicle
  • Death certificate
  • Transfer fee

You are required to have ALL of these documents before you can initiate an Iowa vehicle title transfer.

Visit the Title Office

Beneficiaries of the vehicle or the administrator of the deceased individual’s estate can visit their local title office with the above-stated documents to initiate an Iowa vehicle title transfer.

It is important to have all the required paperwork to avoid unnecessary penalties and fees.

How to Transfer a Vehicle Title Without Probate

If there is no probate process to follow in this situation, in the state of Iowa, the deceased person’s property can’t exceed a certain amount, and a specific amount of time needs to have passed since the person passed away before the vehicle title transfer can be initiated.

If you are the spouse, joint-owner, beneficiary, or administrator, you may only be required to provide the death certificate and the title of the vehicle to your nearest title office. The vehicle’s title will be retitled at the title office, and no court order or attorney is required.

Transferring a Title After a Lease Buyout

Congratulations! You paid off your car loan. When you pay off your car loan, you need to remove the lien holder’s name from the vehicle’s title. To apply for a lien-free vehicle title in Iowa:

  • Obtain the vehicle’s title and a copy of the completed Cancellation of Security Interest (Form 411168) from the lien holder (the lien holder will forward the cancellation form to the DOT in Iowa)
  • Complete an Application for Certificate of Title and/or Registration (Form 411007)
  • If not already provided by the lien holder, make a note of the cancellation on the vehicle’s title
  • Submit the above-listed items and the payment for the vehicle title of $25 in person at the Iowa county treasurer’s office where the title was issued

Don’t delay completing these steps. You can avoid additional fees and penalties.

How to Transfer Ownership of a Vehicle Without a Title in Iowa?

In order to transfer ownership of a vehicle without a title in Iowa, you need to apply for a duplicate vehicle title. If you are bringing a vehicle from a different state, file the Application for Certificate of Title and/or registration (Form 411007). You have 30 days to complete this process.

Can I Gift a Car to a Family Member?

You can gift a vehicle to a family in the state of Iowa. Depending on the circumstances, the recipient of the vehicle may be exempt from paying the taxes associated with the vehicle, as well as the one-time registration fees. In order to gift a vehicle to a family member, follow the same steps as you would to transfer a vehicle’s title in Iowa.

Keep in mind, any vehicle title transfers among relatives that involve a sale are NOT exempt from paying the one-time vehicle Iowa registration fee.

Transferring a Vehicle Title When You Have an Out-of-State Title

In Iowa, residents may be required to provide a bill of sale and other information and documentation when transferring an out-of-state vehicle title. Below are the documents you need to transfer an out-of-state vehicle title:

  • The out-of-state vehicle title and/or vehicle registration
  • Application for title
  • Payment for the applicable fees
  • Lessee’s signature on the application for the vehicle title of a leased vehicle and payment of 5% one-time new vehicle registration fee

Make sure all required paperwork is in order to avoid unnecessary delays and possible fees.

Requesting a Duplicate Vehicle Title in Iowa

If you lose your vehicle’s title, damage it, or it is stolen, you are responsible for replacing it. To request a duplicate vehicle title in Iowa, follow these steps:

  • Complete the duplicate vehicle title request form (Form 411033)
  • Drop off or mail your completed duplicate vehicle title request form to:

Linn County Motor Vehicle
935 2nd Street SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

How Much Does a Title Transfer Cost in Iowa?

In Iowa, a vehicle title transfer costs $25. If you recently purchased your vehicle, be prepared to pay the sales tax that is based on the price you paid for the vehicle, local usage taxes, and processing fees.

Where Can I Go to Transfer a Vehicle Title in Iowa?

There are a few different MVD locations in Iowa where you can transfer your vehicle’s title.

Department of Motor Vehicles – Cedar Rapids Office
152 Collins Rd NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
(319) 377-6461

Department of Motor Vehicles – Elkader Office
111 High St NE
Elkader, IA 52043
(563) 245-1807

Department of Motor Vehicles – Waterloo Office
2060 Crossroads Blvd
Waterloo, IA 50702
(319) 235-0902

You need to call the MVD office for their current hours of operation.

How to Fill Out the Iowa Vehicle Title and Title Transfer Forms

To successfully fill out the Iowa vehicle title and vehicle title transfer forms, you must fill out these forms in their entirety. Make sure you create a bill of sale that provides specific information about the vehicle, such as its model, make, year, and color. You also are required to provide the vehicle’s VIN.

If you sold a vehicle instead of gifting it, you must add sales tax to the vehicle’s total price. An odometer reading is also required and must be provided in the “transfer of title by seller” section of the vehicle’s title. The recipient of the vehicle needs to sign the vehicle’s title in the provided spaces.

Keep in mind, you may have to provide additional documents, such as proof of a valid IA vehicle insurance policy that meets or exceeds the state’s minimum coverage requirements. You will also need to provide a valid government-issued photo ID or foreign passport for proof of identification.

My Car Title Was Signed But Never Transferred. What Do I Do?

Without the proper signatures, a vehicle’s title can’t be transferred, but a vehicle’s title can be signed but not transferred. In this situation, the seller didn’t transfer ownership of the vehicle or register the vehicle in their name, resulting in an open vehicle title.

With an open vehicle title, the vehicle’s seller is not legally responsible for anything that happens with the vehicle, including paying taxes and any other fees associated with the vehicle because their name is not listed on the vehicle’s title.

You can apply for a duplicate Iowa vehicle title and ask the seller of the vehicle or the individual who is listed on the vehicle to request a duplicate vehicle title (Form 411033). Once the duplicate vehicle title is complete, the seller can sign the title over to you for you to put in your name.

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