Pennsylvania: Car Registration & Title Guide

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This page will provide an overview of everything you need to know about vehicle title and registration steps in Pennsylvania.

In order to legally operate your vehicle on public roadways, you’ll need to make sure it is properly titled and registered. This includes: 

  • Applying for a new title and registration when you buy a vehicle
  • Transferring your out-of-state registration when you move. 
  • Renewing your car registration before it expires.
  • Applying for a duplicate registration or title if you lose it. 
  • Getting the necessary smog checks and vehicle inspections, when applicable. 
  • Making sure your car is properly insured. 

Find the details you need below to get started.

For official registration and title information, online applications, and forms, please visit your local DMV office or the official DMV website at: https://www.penndot.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Apply for a New Vehicle Registration & Title in Pennsylvania

If you’ve recently moved to Pennsylvania, you’ll need to transfer your out-of-state registration within 20 days. To transfer your out-of-state registration to a Pennsylvania registration:

  • Complete a VIN verification.
  • Visit the PennDOT office.
  • Provide proof of insurance.
  • Submit your out-of-state documents.
  • Complete an application for a certificate of title.
  • Pay the required fees.

If you’ve purchased a car from a dealer, they’ll typically take care of the registration and title paperwork for you. You’ll generally receive your permanent registration paperwork from the Pennsylvania DOT within a few weeks. 

If you’ve recently purchased a vehicle in a private sale, you’ll need to complete the title transfer and apply for a new vehicle registration and plates yourself. To register a used vehicle you purchased from a private party:

  • Complete any necessary inspections within 10 days of purchase.
  • Fill out a registration and title application.
  • Submit the signed title.
  • Pay the registration and transfer fees.

Title Transfers in Pennsylvania when Buying or Selling a Vehicle

If you buy or sell a vehicle in a private transaction, you’ll need to complete a title transfer as part of the transaction. 

As the seller, you’ll need to fill out and sign the portion of your title that releases your ownership. Additionally, you’ll typically need to:

  • Complete a bill of sale. 
  • Submit a Notice of Transfer or Release of Liability to the Pennsylvania DOT.

As the buyer, you’ll need to fill out the buyer portion of the signed-over title, and bring that document with you when you visit the Pennsylvania DOT to register and title the vehicle in your name. 

If at any time you lose a title, you should request a duplicate or replacement title as soon as possible. To do so, complete an Application for a Duplicate Title and submit it to the Pennsylvania DOT. 

If there is a lien on your vehicle (i.e. you’re still making payments on it), the title will not be in your possession. Once you pay off your lien, you’ll typically receive the pink slip in the mail. You may need to pay a fee to remove the lienholder’s name from the title.  

How to Renew Your Pennsylvania Car Registration

You’ll need to renew your car registration before it expires to avoid any late penalty fees, tickets for operating an unlicensed vehicle, or possible vehicle impoundment. 

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Renewing your registration will get you new sticker tags for your license plates with the updated year. 

In Pennsylvania, you’ll have the option of renewing your registration:

  • Online.
  • By mail.
  • In person at a PennDOT office.

To renew your vehicle registration and get new tabs, you’ll need to:

  • Enter your vehicle information.
  • Confirm that all of your details are correct.
  • Pay your renewal fees.

You should receive your updated registration documents in about 10 days.

Replace a Lost Registration in Pennsylvania

If you lose your current registration papers or your license plate or license plate stickers become lost, stolen, or badly damaged, you can request replacements. To do so:

  • Provide your vehicle information.
  • Pay the replacement fee.

You can request a replacement online, by mail, or in person.

PennDOT Mailing Address

Documents and applications can be mailed to:

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

P.O. Box 68593

Harrisburg, PA 17106

Registration & Title Fees in Pennsylvania

StateTitle FeeRegistration FeeDuplicate RegistrationDuplicate PlatesDuplicate Title
Pennsylvania$53.00$37.00$2 to $6$11.00$53.00

For more details and the most up to date fees, please visit the official DMV website: https://www.dmv.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx/home/index.shtml

You can also refer to your renewal notice for your exact registration tag and tax fees.

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