To successfully complete a Washington vehicle title transfer, you need to take several steps. A few of the steps you need to take are:
- Having the previous vehicle owner sign the vehicle over to you
- Completing a bill of sale with the previous vehicle owner and completing a WA vehicle title application
- Submit all forms and applicable payment(s) to the Washington Department of Licensing (WA DOL)
There are different situations where you may be required to perform a vehicle title transfer in the Evergreen State. Here’s what you need to know about transferring a vehicle title in the state of Washington.
Certain counties in Washington are required to pass a vehicle emissions test before the owner can obtain their registration or “tabs”. Residents of Washington are required to pass emissions tests are required every two years, and the same applies to new residents of this state. If your registration has expired while you are in the process of emissions-related repairs, you can obtain a temporary tab until your vehicle can pass an emissions test.
If you are a Washington resident and vehicle owner with a non-exempt vehicle that is registered in one of the following counties*, your vehicle is required to pass a smog check before being registered in the State of Washington:
*There are certain zip codes within the above counties that are exempt from smog checks.
Smog Check Exemptions in Washington
There are different criteria that qualify certain vehicles in Washington to be exempt from smog checks.
If your vehicle falls into one of the following categories, it doesn’t need to pass a Washington smog check:
- Electric vehicles
- Gas-powered vehicles made in the 2009 model year or new model year
- Hybrid vehicles with a rating of 50 miles per gallon or more in the city
- Clean fuel vehicles (Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Electric, Solar, Propane-powered vehicles)
- Gasoline-powered vehicles that are older than 25 years
- Motor-driven cycles
- Street rods
- Farm vehicles
- Vehicles that are sold from a Washington automotive dealer
- Collectible vehicles (if you are an owner of this type of vehicle, you are required to fill out and submit a Collectible Vehicle Certification for Emission Test Exemption (Form TD 420 810) This form is available at your local WA DOL office.
- Diesel-powered vehicles that exceed 6,000 pounds and are older than 2007
- Diesel-powered vehicles that are newer than 2007
Vehicle owners that are out of the area during the time they need to have a smog check performed on their vehicle may be eligible for a temporary out-of-area smog check exemption. You can complete an Out-of-Area Emission Test Application (Form ECY 020-09) and mail it to the address on your tabs renewal notice.
As a resident of Washington, there are different instances when you are required to transfer a vehicle’s title, such as selling or purchasing a vehicle. Here’s what you need to know about transferring a vehicle’s title in Washington.
As a new resident of Washington, you are required to register your vehicle within 30 days of establishing residency in the state. Before you can transfer your vehicle’s title, you must apply for a WA driver’s license.
The WA DOL will issue a Washington vehicle title with your vehicle registration. In order to obtain your WA vehicle title and vehicle registration, you need to submit the following documents and payments at your local WA DOL branch:
- If your vehicle is the model year 2011 or newer, you must obtain an Odometer Disclosure Statement. This form can only be obtained at any WA vehicle licensing office, by email ([email protected]), or by calling the DOL at (360) 902-3900.
- If you’ve owned your vehicle for less than 90 days, you need to obtain a Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale (Form TD 420 065)
- A completed Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application (Form TD 420 001) This form must be notarized or you need to sign it in front of a DOL employee.
- A copy of your current vehicle title (if your vehicle has an active lien against it, the WA DOL will not issue a vehicle title. Once the lien has been released, you can apply for a WA vehicle title.
- Payment for the WA vehicle title transfer service fee of $15 plus all other applicable vehicle titling fees
You can submit the above-listed forms to the WA DOL by mail or in person. If you are mailing these documents, you need to mail them to the address listed on the application and wait for your license plates to be mailed to you. If you are submitting the above-mentioned documents in person, your vehicle license plates will be issued to you immediately. You should receive your vehicle’s title within 10 weeks at the address you provided on the WA vehicle title application.
When you are purchasing a vehicle from a private party in Washington, you are required to transfer the vehicle’s title to your name within 15 days. Failure to transfer the vehicle’s title within the allotted time will result in a $50 fine on the 16th day, and $2 for all subsequent days per day, until a total of $125 is reached.
In order to successfully complete a vehicle title transfer in Washington for a vehicle purchased from a private party, take the following steps:
- Provide the original vehicle title (obtained from the vehicle’s seller)
- If you’re the vehicle buyer, make sure you remove the license plates or surrender them
- If the vehicle is less than the model 2011, you are required to complete an Odometer Disclosure Statement. You can contact the WA DOL at (360) 902-3900 to get this form.
- Complete a Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale (Form TD 420 065) This form needs to be completed by the vehicle buyer and vehicle seller
- Complete a Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application (Form TD 420 001) All vehicle owners who wish to be named on the vehicle title are required to sign this application in front of a notary public or an employee at a WA vehicle licensing office.
- Submit all required documentation and payment(s) for the vehicle title fee (varies according to the vehicle) and the $15 WA vehicle title transfer fee to your local WA licensing office, or by mail to the address listed on your application (if the application is notarized)
You can expect your vehicle title to arrive within 10 weeks. If you need your vehicle title sooner, you need to apply for an expedited vehicle title by taking the required documents and payment(s) along with $85.50 for the WA quick vehicle title fee to a WA Quick Title office. If the vehicle’s seller has lost or misplaced the original vehicle title, they will need to apply for a duplicate Washington vehicle title.
If you purchase a vehicle from a dealership in Washington, you don’t have to worry about too much paperwork because the dealership handles the vehicle titling and vehicle registration paperwork for you. However, you are required to provide your valid, current Washington driver’s license. All associated WA DOL fees are paid through the dealer as part of the vehicle’s sale.
If you’re selling a vehicle in Washington, you need to complete specific documents and pay all applicable fees. In order to correctly transfer the title of a vehicle you’re selling in Washington, take the following steps:
Complete all vehicle title transfer information on the back of your current WA vehicle title, including the:
- License plate number
- Name of the vehicle buyer
- Date and price of sale
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- Complete a Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale (Form 420 065)
- Remove the license plates and surrender or transfer them
- Report the sale of the vehicle to the WA DOL within 5 business days of the transaction. You will be required to pay a $13.25 fee. You can pay this fee online, at your local WA vehicle licensing location, by mail with a completed Vehicle Report or Sale (Form TD 420 062)
Make sure you have the required paperwork and payment(s) to avoid unnecessary fees and penalties.
When a vehicle owner passes away, you are required to transfer the vehicle’s title to correctly transfer ownership of the vehicle. If you are the beneficiary, you can choose to keep the vehicle, gift it to a relative, or sell the vehicle. As the beneficiary, joint-owner, or surviving spouse, you have the legal authority to transfer the vehicle title to someone else when the vehicle owner passes away.
Be advised, before you can initiate a WA vehicle title transfer in this situation, you need to know if the vehicle is part of a probated estate.
The vehicle title transfer process in a probated estate depends on whether the vehicle’s title was solely in the individual’s name as a descendant or joint ownership. If the vehicle title was only in the descendant’s name, you need to know if the estate is being probated.
Probate is a legal process that involves administering the estate of the deceased. This legal process occurs when there is no beneficiary or living spouse listed on the will. The probate validates the deceased’s assets and property and proves the last will and testament are legitimate. The Probate Court determines how you will proceed with the individual’s belongings. During this process, the deceased individual’s property will be distributed based on their will.
If the vehicle in the estate is part of probate, you are required to follow these steps to transfer the vehicle title of the owner who is deceased:
Contact an Attorney or Probate Court
A vehicle’s title can’t be transferred until the probate process is complete, so the administrator of the deceased or the executor should contact the Probate Court or an attorney immediately to receive further instructions regarding the next steps in the probate process. When the probate process is complete, the heir will receive the vehicle, unless the vehicle was left to the executor, allowing them to sell the vehicle.
Gather the Required Documentation
While the documents that are required to transfer the vehicle title of a deceased individual varies from one state to the next, in the state of Washington, you must submit all the following documents in order to successfully transfer the vehicle’s title:
- Certificate of title
- Order from Probate Court to transfer the vehicle
- Death certificate
- Odometer disclosure statement
- Transfer fee
Visit the Title Office
If you are listed as the administrator of the deceased individual’s estate or the beneficiary, you can visit your local WA title office with the above-mentioned documentation to begin the vehicle title transfer process.
The steps you need to follow to transfer the title of a vehicle without probate vary depending on the state in which you live. In Washington, the deceased individual’s property can’t be more than a certain amount and a specific amount of time needs to have passed since the individual passed away before the vehicle title transfer can be initiated.
If you happen to be the joint-owner, administrator, or beneficiary, you may only be required to provide the death certificate and the vehicle’s title to your local WA title office. The title office agent will retitle the vehicle for you without an attorney or court order.
Without a vehicle title, you can’t transfer ownership of a vehicle in the state of Washington. If the vehicle’s seller has misplaced the title of the vehicle, they will need to complete an Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest/Gross Weight License (Form TD 420 040)
Gifting a vehicle to a family member is quite generous of you! In order to gift a car to a family member, you need to transfer ownership of the vehicle. The transfer of ownership of the vehicle is the responsibility of the individual who is receiving the vehicle. However, as the gifter of the vehicle, you are required to:
- Sign the current vehicle title over to the individual receiving the vehicle as a gift
- Fill out the appropriate section of the Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale (Form TD 420 065)
- Report the sale (gifted vehicle) to the WA DOL (can be done online for $13.25 or at your local WA DOL licensing office, and fees may apply)
- Vehicle Report of Sale (Form TD 420 062) Fees may apply.
- Remove the vehicle’s license plate and transfer the plate or surrender them
It’s a good idea to give the recipient of the vehicle proof of sales tax paid on the vehicle, or they will be required to pay use tax on the vehicle.
If you have an out-of-state vehicle title, you are required to provide specific documents and vehicle title information to successfully perform an out-of-state vehicle title transfer in Washington. You need to submit the following documents to your local WA DOL office to complete the WA out-of-state vehicle title transfer process:
- A completed out-of-state vehicle title transfer form
- The original vehicle title
- An odometer disclosure statement (if applicable)
- A bill of sale (if required)
- Payment for all applicable taxes and fees
Keep in mind, you may be required to submit additional documents depending on your unique situation.
If your vehicle title is lost, damaged, or has been stolen, you must request a duplicate WA vehicle title. To request a duplicate vehicle title in the state of Washington, you need to:
- Complete an Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest/Gross Weight License (Form TD 420 040)
- Sign the duplicate WA vehicle title form in front of a notary
- Provide the vehicle’s buyer with the duplicate vehicle title form (if you are the vehicle buyer, you need to obtain this form from the seller of the vehicle)
- Pay the $35.50 fee for the duplicate title, plus the $15 service fee
To avoid unnecessary fees and possible penalties, make sure you have the correct amount for all applicable fees.
Congratulations are in order. You paid off your vehicle loan! Now that your vehicle loan is paid off, the lender needs to release the lien on your vehicle, so you can title and register the vehicle in your name.
In most instances, your lien holder will handle the removal of the lien from your vehicle title, but if they don’t, you need to submit a completed Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest/Gross Weight License (Form TD 420 040) with a notarized signature from your lien holder or the current vehicle title that is released to you with the lien holder’s signature. You will need to contact your lien holder for details on obtaining a released vehicle title.
In the state of Washington, a vehicle title transfer is $12. Be advised, you may be required to pay additional fees depending on your specific situation.
There are quite a few different DOL locations in Washington where you can transfer a vehicle’s title.
Washington DOL – Lynnwood Branch
18023 Highway 99 N Suite E
Lynnwood, WA 98037
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (7:30 AM to 5:30 PM)
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (Closed)
Washington DOL – Tacoma Branch
2502 112th St E #200
Tacoma, WA 98445
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (9 AM to 5 PM)
Thursday (10 AM to 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)
Washington DOL – Wenatchee Branch
325 N Chelan Ave Ste B
Wenatchee, Wa 98801
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (8:30 AM to 5 PM)
Thursday (9:30 AM to 5 PM)
Saturday (8:30 AM to 2:30 PM)
Sunday and Monday (Closed)
In order to complete the Washington vehicle title and title transfer forms, you need to make sure you have the required signatures of the vehicle’s seller and buyer in the provided areas of the vehicle title. You also need to complete a bill of sale that discloses information regarding the vehicle, such as its make, year, model, and color. Don’t forget to include the vehicle’s VIN!
If you sold a vehicle instead of gifting it, you need to make sure you add the correct sales tax to the vehicle’s total price. In the “transfer of title by seller” section located on the vehicle title, provide an odometer reading, and make sure the recipient of the vehicle signs the vehicle’s title in the designated areas.
Be advised that you may be required to provide additional documentation, such as a valid Washington vehicle insurance policy that meets or exceeds the state’s minimum vehicle coverage limits. You may also be required to provide a valid government-issued photo ID or a foreign passport for proof of identification.
If your vehicle’s title is signed but not transferred, the vehicle has an open title, which means the vehicle’s seller didn’t transfer ownership of or register the vehicle in their name. Since the vehicle’s seller didn’t register the vehicle in their name, they do not assume any legal responsibility for anything pertaining to the vehicle, including taxes and other fees.
If the vehicle’s seller has lost the title or the title is damaged, they can apply for an Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest/Gross Weight License (Form TD 420 040) and sign it over to you, so you can put the vehicle title in your name. Be advised, the individual who is listed on the vehicle’s title is responsible for requesting a duplicate vehicle title.