Transfer ownership when buying from a private party
Starting January 1, 2023, vehicle registrations allow the removal of your address. New registrations have your address located on the bottom. There's a dotted line showing where to cut it. This is optional and intended to provide address privacy in case of theft.
- Know when you need to transfer ownership.
- Gather the information you'll need.
- Complete all necessary forms.
- Submit your forms and payment.
- Get new license plates.
- Add the vehicle to your License eXpress account.
1. Know when you need to transfer ownership
- After you buy or get a vehicle as a gift, you have 15 days to transfer the ownership into your name. If you don't transfer within 15 days you'll have to pay penalties:
- $50 on the 16th day,
- $2 per day after the 16th day, up to $125.
- If you buy from a WA state dealer, they will take care of the transfer. If you buy from an out-of-state dealer, you may need to take care of the transfer. Find out more about buying from a WA dealer.
If you sold, gifted, or donated your vehicle to someone else, you'll need to file a report of sale.
2. Gather the information you'll need
Find out how much it will cost by contacting a vehicle licensing office.
If the vehicle is model year is 2011 or newer, fill out the Odometer Disclosure section on the Title. Most titles have an Odometer Disclosure section. Only vehicles of model year 2011 and newer are subject to the Odometer Disclosure period of 20 years.
If you don't have the Title, you can get an Odometer Disclosure form at your local vehicle licensing office. This form is printed on tamperproof paper and can't be downloaded. To get one:
If the vehicle is model year is 2010 or older, you don't have to report the Odometer miles.
3. Complete all necessary forms
- Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale - Completed by you and the seller.
- Enter sale price - This is used to calculate the use tax.
- Enter zero if it's a gift or inheritance.
- Vehicle Title Application - Sign it in front of a:
- notary public, or
- licensing agent at an office.
4. Submit your forms and payment
Submit the following to an office:
- Vehicle/Vessel Bill of Sale,
- Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application,
- The current vehicle title, and
- Payment - contact an office for the exact amount.
If needed, also submit:
- Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest, or
- Odometer Disclosure Statement.
Getting your title
How quickly do you want your title?
- You can visit or mail your forms and payment to an office.
- It will take 8-10 weeks to get your title.
If you need it faster than 8-10 weeks:
- You can visit or mail your forms and fees to a Quick Title office*.
- It'll cost $50 plus the title fees.
*Note: Quick titles aren't available for snowmobiles, vehicles or boats reported as stolen, insurance or wrecker-destroyed vehicles and boats, or vehicles with "WA Rebuilt" on the title.
5. Get new license plates
Since the vehicle has changed ownership, you'll need to get new plates.
There are exceptions - Plates don't need to be replaced if:
- You're removing a deceased spouse or domestic partner from the title.
- You got your vehicle from:
- your spouse or domestic partner,
- a family member as a gift or inheritance, or
- a trust in which the registered owner or their immediate family members are the beneficiaries of the trust.
See, Required plate replacement for more information.
6. Add the vehicle to your License eXpress account
Once the ownership has been transferred into your name you can add it to your License eXpress account. With License eXpress, you can manage all your vehicles:
- See when your vehicle's tabs are due.
- Make sure your address is up-to-date.
- Sign up or update email renewal notices and more.
To learn more, see What is License eXpress?