How do I complete a title transfer in Alabama? Alabama

A title provides proof of legal ownership, so a title transfer must be completed whenever you complete the buy car/sell car process.

You complete transactions related to your vehicle’s title and registration with the Alabama Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), as opposed to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) which handles driver license services, and the AL MVD will not allow you to complete the vehicle registration process without a correctly assigned certificate of title.

To avoid penalty charges, title transfers should be completed within 20 calendar days of a change in vehicle ownership.

Applying for a Car Title

Generally, vehicles from 1975 and newer that must be registered in Alabama must have an Alabama certificate of title. This includes automobiles, motorcycles, mobile trailers, semi trailers, trucks, truck tractors, and trailers as well as manufactured homes that are fewer than 20 years old. ATVs, snowmobiles, boats, vehicles moved solely by animal power, junked vehicles, and off-road vehicles are not required to be titled, however.

You can apply for a certificate of title by completing the application at your local county license plate office. If you purchased your vehicle from a licensed Alabama motor vehicle dealer or you're getting a loan through a bank or credit union, these designated agents can also process your title application.

To apply for a title, you will need to present the outstanding manufacturer's certificate of origin or a certificate of title that is properly assigned to you as well as any documents to support the transfer of the vehicle such as a bill of sale. If the vehicle was registered in a location that does not issue titles, you will need to produce outstanding registration documents to support ownership of the vehicle.

The fee to apply for a certificate of title is $15 or $20 if you are applying for a certificate of title for a manufactured home. Designated agents and county license plate officials will add a $1.50 charge as commission for application processing. Additional local fees may also apply, depending upon your county of residence.

Processing times for receiving a certificate of title may vary. If you are concerned that you application may have been lost or misdirected, contact the agent who completed the application for assistance or email

Obtain a Vehicle History Report

When you're thinking about how to buy cars, do not confuse a car title with a vehicle history. While car titles show who is the legal owner of a particular vehicle, a vehicle history report contains information such as whether or not the vehicle has ever been rebuilt after a serious accident. To protect yourself, you should always order a vehicle history report when purchasing used cars.

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