In the state of Ohio, there are certain documents you need to obtain to successfully transfer the title of a vehicle. The vehicle’s seller needs to assign the current vehicle title to the vehicle buyer with a notarized signature.

You need to complete the OH vehicle title application and fill out an odometer disclosure statement (if applicable) with the vehicle’s seller.

All the necessary paperwork needs to be taken to your local Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) along with payment for all applicable vehicle titling fees.

Be advised you may be required to submit additional documents and payments at the time of the vehicle title transfer.

Smog Certification/Vehicle Inspection

In Ohio, certain vehicles in specific counties are required to pass a vehicle emissions test every 2 years. Owners that have vehicles that are exempt from testing will receive a waiver in the mail. New residents of Ohio are required to have their vehicle’s VIN number inspected. A VIN inspection is a new residency requirement for first-time Ohio vehicle registrations.

Ohio Emissions and Smog Check Requirements

Vehicles that are registered in Ohio that are not exempt from smog check requirements that are registered in the following 7 counties are required to pass a smog check every 2 years:

  • Cuyahoga
  • Geauga
  • Lake
  • Lorain
  • Medina
  • Portage
  • Summit

If you have a vehicle registered in one of the above-listed 7 counties, and it falls into one of the following categories, you are required to have the vehicle pass an emissions test:

  • Gasoline-powered vehicles that do not exceed a weight of 10,000 pounds
  • Diesel-powered vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds
  • Hybrid and flex-fuel vehicles (these vehicles can use gasoline or diesel)
  • Vehicles over 25 years or newer

Vehicles that are registered in Ohio, made in even-numbered model years are required to pass a smog check in even-number calendar years, and Ohio-registered vehicles made in odd-numbered model years are required to pass a smog check in odd-numbered calendar years.

Smog Check Exemptions in Ohio

Ohio vehicles that are registered outside the 7 qualified counties in Ohio are not required to pass a smog check to obtain an Ohio vehicle registration or registration renewal. There are three different types of smog check exemptions for vehicles that are permanently outside the state of Ohio:

  • Temporary Exemptions: If you are a vehicle owner who falls under one of the following categories, you can apply for a temporary exemption, such as military personnel and their dependents stationed out-of-state, Ohio residents who are studying in out-of-state schools that are located in areas where there are no vehicle inspections, and the spouse of a recently deceased vehicle owner.

Be advised, Ohio residents who are studying in out-of-state schools must provide a statement from their registrar and complete and submit an Ohio E-Check Exemption/Extension Application (Form EPA 3451).

  • Permanent Exemptions: If your vehicle falls into one of the following categories, you can apply for a permanent exemption for your vehicle (assuming the vehicle passes a visual inspection performed by an Ohio EPA field staff), including electric vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) that use natural gas, probate, alcohol, or butane, and vehicles that exceed a weight of 10,000 pounds with a non-commercial registration.

If your vehicle falls into one of the following categories, you can apply for a permanent exemption for your vehicle without having a visual inspection performed:

  • Vehicles that are older than 25 years old
  • Motorcycles
  • Vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds with a commercial registration
  • Vehicles that have historical and collector registrations
  • Motor homes
  • Vehicles that have parade and exhibitions registrations
  • Recreation vehicles (RVs)

Residents of Ohio who own one of the above-listed vehicles are required to submit an exemption certificate.

  • Permanent Out-of-State Exemptions: If you registered your vehicle in a county that requires smog checks, and you will be permanently located out of Ohio in a non-testing area, your vehicle may be eligible for a smog check exemption. If you are an owner of a vehicle that falls into this scenario, you must submit the following paperwork to your local Ohio BMV:
    • A completed Ohio E-check Exemption/Extension Application (Form EPA 3451)
    • Ohio registration or an Ohio vehicle title (you are only permitted to send copies of these documents)

If you have any questions or concerns regarding smog checks in your residing county, contact your local Ohio BMV for more information.

How to Transfer Your Vehicle Title in Ohio?

Whether you’re buying or selling a vehicle in Ohio, you need to transfer ownership of the vehicle. Keep reading to learn more about vehicle title transfers in the state of Ohio.

Transferring a Vehicle’s Title As a New Resident of Ohio

As a new resident of Ohio, you have 30 days to title and register your vehicle in the state. First, you need to have your vehicle identification number (VIN) verified by means of an out-of-state vehicle inspection at any Deputy Registrar’s Office.

Once you pass your VIN inspection, you must take the following documents and payment(s) to your local Ohio BMV branch:

  • The out-of-state inspection form (this form will be provided after you pass the inspection)
  • The original vehicle title certificate from the previous state
  • If a lien holder currently possesses your vehicle title, you are required to send them a transfer request form, so they can send the vehicle title to the BMV.

You will need to bring the lien release letter when you visit your local OH BMV office to title and register your vehicle. Contact your local OH BMV clerk to obtain the lien release form, and take a copy of your security agreement or loan contract to the OH title office.

If there are multiple vehicle owners listed on the current out-of-state vehicle title, all owner’s signatures are required to transfer a vehicle’s title in Ohio. If your vehicle has a lien, you will pay an additional lien notation fee.

Transferring the Title of a Vehicle Purchased From a Private Seller

When you purchase a vehicle from an individual (private party), you are responsible for completing a vehicle title transfer within 30 days of the purchase.

In order to successfully transfer a vehicle’s title purchased from a private party, you need to take the following to your local OH BMV branch:

  • The current and properly assigned vehicle title certificate (the assignment needs to be completed directly on the vehicle title certificate by the vehicle’s seller, and it must be notarized. If there is a lien holder, they need to be properly noted on the vehicle’s title and the application).
  • A completed Application(s) for Certificate of title to a Motor Vehicle (Form BMV 3774)
  • A proper form of ID
  • Out-of-state inspection form (if applicable)
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement (often provided on the vehicle title certificate). Not required if your vehicle weighs 16,000 pounds or more.
  • Payment for all applicable OH vehicle title fees and sales tax (a $5 late fee will apply if you neglect to title your vehicle within 30 days)

Make sure you have the necessary paperwork and payment(s) ready to avoid unnecessary delays and possible penalties.

Transferring the Title of a Vehicle Purchased From a Dealership

When you purchase a vehicle from a dealership, the dealer usually handles the vehicle title and registration paperwork on your behalf. In the state of Ohio, the dealer is required to provide you with your new vehicle title within 30 days of the vehicle purchase.

However, if the dealer doesn’t provide the necessary paperwork on your behalf, take the above-mentioned documents and payment with a bill of sale from the dealer to your local Ohio BMV office. If your vehicle was a casual sale, the purchase price of the vehicle is required to be listed on the vehicle title in lieu of a bill of sale.

Transferring the Title of a Vehicle You’re Selling

If you’re selling a vehicle in Ohio, it’s the vehicle buyer’s responsibility to complete the Ohio BMV vehicle title transfer.

As the seller of the vehicle, you are required to complete the vehicle title assignment on your current vehicle title certificate and give it to the new vehicle owner.

In order to successfully reassign the vehicle’s title, you need to:

  • Complete the vehicle title assignment section of the title certificate, which needs to include:
    • The buyer’s name and address
    • The vehicle’s purchase price
  • Complete the odometer reading (make sure the vehicle’s buyer acknowledges the reading with a signature)
  • Provide a notarized signature on the vehicle title

Make sure you remove the license plates before completing the sale of the vehicle.

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

Transferring a vehicle title of a vehicle owner that is deceased is required when the beneficiary wants to keep the vehicle, sell it, or gift it to a family member. If you are the surviving spouse, beneficiary, or joint-owner, you have the legal authority to transfer the vehicle title to someone else when the owner passes away.

How to Transfer a Car Title Without Probate

The steps you’re required to take to transfer the title of a vehicle without probate vary depending on the state in which you live. In Ohio, the deceased individual’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 process can be initiated.

As the joint-owner, administrator, beneficiary, or spouse, you may only be required to take the death certificate and vehicle title to your local OH title office where they will retitle the vehicle’s title. Court orders and attorneys are not required in this scenario.

Transferring the Title of a Vehicle in a Probated Estate

When the owner of a vehicle passes away, the next steps you need to take depend on if the vehicle’s title was in the individual’s name as a descendant or joint ownership. If the vehicle was only in the descendant’s name, you need to know if the estate is being probated.

When there is no beneficiary or living spouse listed on the will, the probate process occurs. The probate is a legal process that involves administering the estate of the deceased individual, and it proves the last will and testament are legitimate. The Probate Court determines how you will proceed with the individual’s belongings, based on the individual’s will.

If the vehicle in question is part of a probated estate, you must follow the following steps to successfully transfer the vehicle title of a deceased individual:

Contact Probate Court or an Attorney

The administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate needs to contact an attorney or Probate Court immediately to determine the next steps in the probate process. Be advised, the vehicle’s title can’t be transferred until the probate is completed. Once the probate is complete, the heir receives the vehicle, unless the executor was given the vehicle, in which case they can choose to sell the vehicle.

Gather the Necessary Documents

The required documents vary by state, but in the state of Ohio, you must have the following documents to successfully transfer the vehicle’s title:

  • Order from Probate Court to transfer the vehicle’s title
  • The death certificate
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Certificate of the vehicle title
  • Transfer fee

Visit Your Local Title Office

If you are the beneficiary of the vehicle or the administrator of the deceased individual’s estate, you can visit your local OH title office with the above-listed documents to being the vehicle title transfer process.

Transferring the Title of an Inherited Vehicle

The process you need to follow to transfer the title of an inherited vehicle depends on the way the estate is distributed.

As the surviving spouse, you can transfer an unlimited number of vehicles that are valued up to $65,000 owned by the deceased individual. To do so, you will need the following:

  • The current OH vehicle title certificate
  • Surviving Spouse Affidavit (available at your local OH title office)
  • Death certificate

If the estate is subject to probate, the vehicle’s ownership will be established by the court. If you are a surviving named joint owner on the vehicle’s title, you can complete and sign the vehicle title assignment and provide a copy of the death certificate if you want to transfer the vehicle title to a new vehicle owner.

An odometer statement is not required for vehicles that are being transferred to a surviving spouse or through inheritance.

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

If you don’t have a title for your vehicle, you must apply for a duplicate OH vehicle title (Form BMV 3774). You can’t transfer a vehicle title in Ohio without having the original vehicle title.

Can I Gift a Car to a Family Member?

Good news! You can gift a vehicle to a relative as long as you have the proper documentation. If you received a vehicle as a gift, or a vehicle is being transferred from a family member, you must complete a vehicle title transfer at your local OH BMV office. The steps you are required to take are similar to the steps that are taken when you’re buying or selling a vehicle in Ohio.

There’s a section on the vehicle’s title named “price”. In this section, write “0”. The person receiving the vehicle may be exempt from paying the sales tax on the vehicle. Just like with a private vehicle sale, you are required to complete the transfer of ownership sections on the back of the original vehicle title.

Even if the vehicle is being gifted to a family member, they still may be required to pay tax on the current market value of the vehicle when they are registering the vehicle. You must sign the original vehicle title and take it to the city clerk to have the application for a new vehicle title completed.

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

When you are transferring the title of an out-of-state vehicle in Ohio, you must meet different requirements.

The following out-of-state vehicle title transfer paperwork is required to successfully transfer the vehicle title from one state to Ohio:

  • The original out-of-state vehicle title
  • A completed application for a certificate of ownership
  • A completed Ohio vehicle registration application
  • Proof of a valid Ohio vehicle insurance policy
  • Proof of identification (ex. A valid driver’s license)

If the lien holder possesses your vehicle title, you must fill out an application for the release of the title, which will be sent to the OH BMV. Be advised, you may be required to submit additional information.

Requesting a Duplicate Vehicle Title in Ohio

All Ohio vehicle titles are administered and governed by the OH BMV. If you are operating a vehicle in Ohio, you are required to have a physical Ohio certificate of title that is free from erasures and alterations.

If your vehicle’s title is lost, damaged, illegible, or stolen, you need to apply for a replacement vehicle title immediately (Form BMV 3774).

In order to replace your Ohio vehicle title as the title owner or lien holder, you must visit your local OH title office and:

  • Complete an Application(s) for Certificate of Title to a Motor Vehicle (Form BMV 3774). This form is the same for requesting an original certificate of title. Skip the first section of this form and proceed where it states “Duplicate Certificate of Title”, and make sure you check the duplicate title box.
  • Provide proper identification, such as your picture ID or driver’s license
  • Bring your current vehicle registration
  • Pay the $15 replacement fee and all other fees

If you happen to find the original vehicle title later, you need to present it at your local OH title office, so it can be canceled.

Be advised, only the vehicle owner(s) or lien holder(s) can apply for a duplicate vehicle title in Ohio.

Transferring a Vehicle Title With a Lien

Hooray! You’ve paid off the loan on your vehicle. Now that you’ve fully paid your vehicle loan, the lender will release the lien hold on your vehicle title. The lender will send you the title certificate with a stamp from a clerk of courts indicating that the lien on the vehicle has been released.

How Much Does a Title Transfer Cost in Ohio?

The following are the basic car titling fees in Ohio:

  • Title certificate: $15.
  • Duplicate title: $15.
  • Out-of-state inspection: $3.50 (plus $1.50 clerk fee).
  • Lien notation: $15
  • Late fee: $5.

Keep in mind, you may also be required to pay sales tax on your vehicle before it can be titled.

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

There are different BMV locations in Ohio where you can transfer a vehicle’s title.

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles-Agency #2528
415 Agler Rd
Gahanna, OH 43230
(614) 476-0398

Monday-Friday (8 AM to 5 PM)
Saturday (8 AM to 12 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles-Agency #2188
256 W Olentangy St.
Powell, OH 43065
(614) 766-7730

Monday-Friday (8 AM to 5 PM)
Saturday (8 AM to 12 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

Ohio BMV
16945 Chargin Blvd
Shaker HS, OH 44120
(216) 283-4000

Monday-Friday (8 AM to 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

How to Fill Out the Ohio Title and Title Transfer Forms

Completing and submitting the Ohio vehicle title and vehicle title transfer forms are essential for ensuring the vehicle title transfer process is successful. You need to make sure you have all necessary signatures of the vehicle’s seller and buyer in the designated areas of the vehicle title. Create a bill of sale that discloses the vehicle’s information, such as its model, make, year, and color. You will also need to provide the vehicle’s VIN.

If you sold a vehicle in Ohio rather than gifting it, make sure you add the proper sales tax to the vehicle’s total price. Find the “transfer of title by seller” section of the vehicle’s title and provide an accurate odometer reading. Make sure the recipient of the vehicle signs the vehicle’s title in the proper spaces.

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

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

A vehicle has an open title when the vehicle’s title is signed but not transferred. When a vehicle has an open title, this means the vehicle’s seller or owner didn’t transfer owner of or register the vehicle in their name.

Since the vehicle seller’s name isn’t listed on the vehicle title, they do not have any legal responsibility for anything associated with the vehicle, including taxes and other fees.

If the owner of the vehicle has lost the title, they can apply for a duplicate Ohio vehicle title (Form BMV 3774).

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