What Do I Need for a Maryland Vehicle Title Transfer?

Completing a vehicle title transfer in Maryland is necessary when a vehicle’s ownership is passed from one owner to another, regardless of the nature of the vehicle transfer.

To successfully transfer a vehicle’s title in Maryland, you need:

  • A correctly signed title certificate that contains the vehicle seller’s name and signature. The Purchaser’s name and address also needs to be included on the title certificate.A completed application for title (if required)
  • The MVA bill of sale (if applicable)
  • An odometer statement (if the vehicle’s mileage can’t be recorded on the vehicle’s title
  • A safety inspection certificate that is issued no later than 90 days before the vehicle title transfer date
  • Proof of a valid Maryland vehicle insurance policy
  • A lien release form and/or power of attorney form (if applicable)

If the seller of the vehicle has misplaced the vehicle’s title, or the title is damaged, a replacement vehicle title must be obtained.

Smog Certification/Vehicle Inspection

The emissions testing process in Maryland is overseen by the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) under the authority of the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). Maryland’s drivers are required to complete a vehicle inspection once every 2 years. The MVA will email you 11 weeks before the emissions testing due date.

Drivers in Maryland don’t need a vehicle inspection notice to perform a VEIP test. Maryland vehicles can undergo a vehicle emission test at any time.

Maryland Emissions and Smog Check Requirements

Unless your vehicle is exempt from Maryland emissions testing, your vehicle must endure a VEIP inspection every two years, close to the vehicle registration renewal periods. The safety and smog inspections in Maryland vary according to your vehicle’s model year, the county in which you register the vehicle, and its weight. In Maryland, the following counties require emission tests:

  • Anne Arundel
  • Baltimore
  • Carroll
  • Calvert
  • Cecil
  • Charles
  • Fredrick
  • Howard
  • Hartford
  • Montgomery
  • Prince George
  • Queen Anne
  • Washington

The emissions test that is performed depends on the specifics of your vehicle. During the vehicle emissions testing process in Maryland, the MVA conducts the following tests:

  • Onboard Diagnostic Test (OBD) – designed for vehicle model years 1996 and newer that weigh less than 8,500 pounds, or heavy-duty vehicles that are model years newer than 2008 and weigh between 8,501 and 14,001 pounds.
  • Gap Cap Test – designed for vehicles with model years between 1977 and 1995 with a vehicle weight of less than 8,500 pounds.
  • Tailpipe Test/Idle Test – designed for vehicle model years between 1977 and 1995 that weigh up to 26,000 pounds, and heavy-duty vehicles with model years newer than 2008 that weigh less than 8,500 pounds.

To get a smog certification in Maryland, you are required to bring your vehicle, the VEIP testing notice, and payment for the testing fee to a certified smog testing center. You can pay for this vehicle inspection by check, cash, money order, or traveler’s check.

You can also pay by credit card, including MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. If you choose to pay by check, make the check payable to VEIP. If you never received a smog testing notice, you can use your vehicle’s registration card as an alternative.

Smog Check Exemptions in Maryland

Vehicle emissions testing is required in more than 10 different regions of the state. Some eligible vehicle owners can apply for an MVA inspection exemption by completing the reverse side of the VEIP inspection form (Form EP-1) and mailing the form or submitting the form in person to the MVA.

Generally, safety and emissions test exemptions in Maryland are as follows:

  • Vehicle models older than 1976 or vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds
  • Electric or diesel-powered vehicles
  • Motorcycles, farm equipment, and historic/antique vehicles
  • Hybrid vehicles, following the first 36 months after titling and registration
  • New vehicles, following the first 24 months after titling and registration
  • Fire apparatus, ambulances, military vehicles, and Class H, N, or P vehicles
  • Vehicles owned by senior citizens over 70 years old or qualifying vehicles with metal disability tags (if the vehicle is driven less than 5,000 miles each year)

You can mail the Maryland emissions check exemption form or submit it in person at any VEIP location in Maryland.

How to Transfer Your Vehicle Title in Maryland?

If you need to transfer your Maryland vehicle title, it’s a good idea for you and the seller or buyer of the vehicle to visit the MD MVA together to avoid potential issues and confusion during this process, but this is not a requirement.

To complete a Maryland vehicle title transfer, visit your local Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Office and:

  • Get a vehicle inspection (keep a copy of the inspection certificate)
  • Get proof the vehicle passed the emissions test
  • Obtain the vehicle’s title (if the vehicle title is lost, damaged, or has been stolen, you must request a duplicate vehicle title)
  • If you’re purchasing a vehicle, you may be required to submit a lien release (must be obtained by the vehicle owner)
  • If you’re selling a vehicle, you are required to provide a lien release to the buyer, if required (available from the lien holder)
  • Complete the Maryland Certificate of Title
  • Submit the necessary identification documents (proof of identification, proof of Maryland residency, and proof of a valid Maryland vehicle insurance policy)
  • Pay all applicable taxes and fees (vehicle title: $100, Tax: 6% of sale price)

You should consider registering your vehicle after titling it to avoid unnecessary fees or penalties.

Buying a Vehicle From a Maryland Dealership

If you purchased your vehicle from a Maryland dealership, most of the time you don’t have to worry about the titling process. The dealership will take care of the required forms and send them to the MVA.

If the dealership doesn’t provide this service, you can obtain the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin, file a bill of sale, and get the required vehicle proofs, such as a vehicle inspection and emissions test, and submit these documents at your local Maryland MVA office once you pay all applicable fees.

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

If the owner of a vehicle has passed away, and you’re a beneficiary who wants to keep the vehicle, gift the vehicle to a relative or sell the vehicle, you are required to transfer the vehicle’s title.

As a beneficiary, surviving spouse, or joint-owner, you have the legal authority to transfer the vehicle’s title to someone else when the owner passes away.

If the vehicle is part of a probated estate, you need to know if the vehicle’s title was in the individual’s name as a descendant or whether it was a joint ownership. If the vehicle’s title was solely in the descendant’s name, you need to know if the estate is being probated, the legal process that involves administering the estate of the individual who has passed away.

The probate process takes place when there is no beneficiary or living spouse provided in the will. This process also proves the last will and testament is legitimate. The Probate Court will determine how you need to proceed with the individual’s belongings. During this step in the probate process, the deceased person’s property is distributed according to their will.

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

Contact Probate Court and Attorney

You won’t be able to transfer the vehicle’s title until the probate process is complete. If you are the executor or the administrator of the deceased, you need to contact Probate Court or an attorney to be advised on how to proceed in the probate process. When the probate process is complete, the heir receives the vehicle, or the executor can choose to sell the vehicle if they were the person given the vehicle.

Gather the Required Documents

Make sure you have these documents ready to successfully transfer the vehicle’s title in Maryland:

  • Death certificate
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Certificate of title
  • Order from Probate Court to Transfer the Vehicle
  • Transfer fee

You need to make sure you have ALL of these documents ready in order to transfer the vehicle title of a deceased individual.

Visit the Title Office

As the administrator of the deceased person’s estate or the beneficiary of the vehicle, you can visit your nearest title office with the above-mentioned documents to begin the vehicle title transfer process.

You need to follow these steps to help you avoid delays and penalties during the transfer of the vehicle’s title.

How to Transfer a Vehicle Title Without Probate

In the state of Maryland, the deceased person’s property can’t exceed a certain amount, and a specific amount of time needs to pass since the individual passed away before the vehicle’s title can be transferred. Be aware that joint-owners, beneficiaries, administrators, and spouses may only need to submit the death certificate and vehicle’s title at their title office to retitle the vehicle’s title. Attorneys and court orders are not required for this process.

Transferring a Title After a Lease Buyout

You paid off your vehicle loan! Congratulations. Now you need these documents to transfer the vehicle’s title:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Application form
  • Bill of sale
  • Odometer disclosure statement (located on the back of the vehicle’s title)

Be advised that you may be required to submit additional documentation and information to complete the vehicle title transfer process.

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

You won’t be able to transfer the ownership of a vehicle without a vehicle title in Maryland. You are required to apply for a duplicate vehicle title (Form VR-018). The vehicle’s title must be signed by all vehicle owners.

Can I Gift a Car to a Family Member?

Yes, you can gift a vehicle to a family member. The new owner of the vehicle is responsible for paying the 6% excise tax unless both parties involved in the vehicle title transfer are immediate family members.

In order to complete a Maryland vehicle title transfer to gift a vehicle to a family member, follow these steps:

  • Locate the original vehicle title (all liens must be released)
  • Both parties need to sign and date the title in the “Assignment of Ownership” section of the vehicle’s title
  • Record the current odometer reading on the vehicle’s title or complete a separate Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form VR-197)
  • Write “Gift” as the purchase price
  • The new vehicle owner needs to have:
    • Proof of a valid Maryland vehicle insurance policy
    • Certificate of Inspection (a 30-day temporary registration may be required to have the vehicle inspected
    • Emissions inspection (if applicable)
    • Pay the Maryland titling fee: $100
    • Pay the 6% excise tax (if applicable)

Vehicles that were recently purchased are assessed based on the price listed on the Bill of Sale (Form VR-181). The tax on older vehicles is based on the sale price listed on the title. The minimum excise tax allowed in Maryland is $38.40, based on the minimum vehicle value of $640. You will also need a Vehicle Gift Certificate (Form VR-103)

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

To transfer a vehicle with an out-of-state title, you will need an out-of-state vehicle title transfer form. Other required documentation includes:

  • Proof of vehicle ownership
  • A completed application form for vehicle title transfer
  • A valid MD auto insurance policy
  • A state-issued safety inspection certificate
  • Proof of the vehicle’s value (such as a bill of sale Form VR-181)
  • The lease agreement (if applicable)
  • Lien information and/or lien release (if applicable)
  • Power of attorney (if required)
  • Proof of military status (only for military members)

Completing an Out-of-State Vehicle Title Transfer as a New Resident of Maryland

You can perform a title transfer for an out-of-state vehicle in person at your nearest Maryland MVA branch or by mail. To transfer the out-of-state vehicle’s title:

  • Register the motor vehicle with the MVA within 60 days of the move
  • Apply for an MD vehicle title and registration
  • Prepare and submit the required documentation in person or by mail
  • Submit all applicable payments for the vehicle title and tag fees, as well as state taxes

You may be required to submit additional information or take additional steps to complete the title transfer of an out-of-state vehicle.

Out-of-State Vehicle Title Transfers in Maryland After Buying or Selling a Vehicle

After buying or selling a vehicle, you need to transfer the vehicle’s title. Follow these steps to transfer the title of a vehicle in Maryland after buying or selling a vehicle:

  • Get an out-of-state transport tag or a 30-day temporary registration
  • Pass a vehicle safety inspection (for used vehicles)
  • Present the appropriate out-of-state vehicle title transfer paperwork

The total price of an out-of-state vehicle title transfer can vary according to your situation. The standard out-of-state vehicle title transfer fee includes a $100 title fee, tag fee, and lien fee (if applicable).

Requesting a Duplicate Vehicle Title in Maryland

The MVA handles the issuing of new and duplicate vehicle titles. You will need to request a duplicate vehicle title (Form VR-018) if the vehicle’s title is lost, damaged, or has been stolen. You can request a duplicate vehicle title online, by mail, or in person at your local Maryland MVA office.

If you are requesting a duplicate Maryland vehicle title online, you will need to provide:

  • Vehicle title number
  • License plate number (if applicable)
  • Payment for the $20 replacement fee (you can use MasterCard, Visa, or Check to pay this fee. The MVA doesn’t accept traveler’s checks or money orders for online payments)

If you’re applying for a duplicate vehicle title by mail or in-person, you need:

  • A completed Application for Duplicate Certificate of Title (Form VR-018). This form must be completed by all vehicle owners.
  • The damaged/mutilated title (if applicable)
  • Submit a copy of your driver’s license or ID card
  • Payment for the $20 duplicate vehicle title fee

If you’re mailing the duplicate vehicle title, use the address provided on the title.

How Much Does a Title Transfer Cost in Maryland?

To perform a vehicle title transfer in Maryland, you will pay $100. You may be required to pay additional fees based on your situation.

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

There are a few different MVA locations in Maryland where you can transfer a Maryland vehicle title.

Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration – Glen Burnie Headquarters
6601 Ritchie Highway NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062
(410) 768-7000

Monday-Friday (8:30 AM to 4:30 PM)
Saturday (8:30 AM to 12 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration – Loch Raven Office
8966 Waltham Woods Rd
Parkville, MD 21234
(410) 768-7000

Monday-Friday (8:30 AM to 4:30 PM)
Saturday (8:30 AM to 12 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
16520 S Westland Dr
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
(410) 768-7000

Call office for hours of operation

How to Fill Out the Maryland Title and Title Transfer Forms

To successfully fill out and complete the Maryland vehicle title and title transfer forms, you need to provide:

  • Full legal name and address of the buyer and current vehicle owner
  • Date of sale (month, day, year)
  • Vehicle mileage, condition, and purchase price
  • Odometer reading
  • Complete a bill of sale (Form VR-181) for vehicles that are 8 years old or newer or the sale price is above $500
  • Complete and submit an Application for Certificate of Title (VR-005)

Make sure you complete these forms entirely because they are required to successfully register and title your vehicle, and you don’t want to encounter delays or acquire additional fees. You may be required to provide additional documentation and information, such as your valid MD vehicle insurance policy and your government-issued photo ID. You can also use a foreign passport as a form of proof of identity.

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

If your vehicle’s title was signed, but not transferred, your vehicle has an open title, and the previous vehicle owner is not responsible for anything relating to the vehicle, such as paying the taxes and other fees.

When the vehicle’s title is signed, but not transferred, the vehicle’s seller didn’t transfer ownership or register the vehicle in their name.

In the event the buyer loses the title, the vehicle title will be temporarily open. You can resolve this issue by applying for a duplicate Maryland vehicle title (Form VR-018). The seller of the vehicle or the person who is listed on the vehicle is responsible for requesting a duplicate vehicle title, then signing it over to the buyer to put in their name.

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