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When you move to a new state, there are a lot of things that you need to take care of. One of the most important is transferring your vehicle title. This California DMV Title Transfer Guide will walk you through the process. We will cover everything from what documents you need to how much the fees cost. So whether you're moving to California or selling your car, this guide has everything you need.

What Do I Need for a California Title Transfer

The first step in any California DMV title transfer service is ensuring you have all the required documents. These include:

  • The California Certificate of Title or an out-of-state title if the car is from another state
  • A smog certification if the vehicle is newer than four years old
  • A completed Application for Title or Registration (Form REG 343)
  • Proof of California Insurance
  • The appropriate fees

If you are missing any of these documents, the DMV will not be able to process your title transfer. So make sure you have everything before you head to the DMV. 

How to Transfer a Title in California

Once you have all your documents, the next step is transferring the title. It can be done either in person or by mail. If you choose to do it in person, go to your local DMV office with all your documents, and they will take care of everything for you. If you choose to do it by mail, send all of your documents to the Department of Motor Vehicles Title Processing PO Box 942869 Sacramento, CA, Be sure to include a check or money order for the appropriate fees. The DMV will process your title transfer and mail you the new title within four to six weeks.

Smog Certification/Vehicle Inspection

California law requires that all vehicles have a smog certification, also known as a vehicle inspection before the title can be transferred. The best way to get this done is to take your car to a California-licensed smog station. You can find one of these by visiting the California Bureau of Automotive Repair website and searching for stations near you. Once you have your smog certificate, submit it along with the rest of your documents when you transfer the title.


The California DMV charges a few different fees when transferring a vehicle title. These include a $15 transfer fee, a $20 smog transfer fee (if applicable), and any back registration fees that may be owed. Include all applicable fees when submitting your payment to the DMV.

Proof of Ownership

The California DMV will require proof of ownership when transferring a vehicle title. The most common way to do this is by providing the California Certificate of Title, but there are other acceptable forms of proof. These include a California registration less than 60 days old, a California out-of-state title, or a California lien satisfaction document. Be sure to check with the DMV to see which forms of proof they accept.

Documents to Submit

In addition to proof of ownership, you must submit a few other documents when transferring a vehicle title in California. These include a completed Application for Certificate of Title or Registration (Form REG 343), a smog certification (if applicable), and a California Certificate of Title or an out-of-state title signed by the previous owner. You may also need to provide proof of insurance, depending on the county in which you live.

Fees to Pay

You will need to pay a few fees when transferring a vehicle title in California. These include the $15 title transfer fee, the $25 smog transfer fee (if applicable), and any taxes and registration fees that may be due. Be sure to check with your local DMV office for specific fee information.

How to Transfer a Car Title Without Probate

If the previous owner of the vehicle died and left the car to you in their will, you may be able to transfer the title without going through probate. To do this, you will need to provide the DMV with a copy of the death certificate, a certified copy of the will, and a letter from the executor or administrator of the estate authorizing you to take possession of the vehicle. You may also need to pay any outstanding fees or taxes due on the car.


The California DMV title transfer guide can be an excellent resource for those looking to change the ownership of a vehicle. The process can seem daunting, but with our help, it can be a straightforward experience. Follow all the steps in the guide to ensure a smooth transition of your car's title. Are you ready to start the title transfer process? Check out our Vehicle Registration Guide for more information.

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