How Much Does It Cost To Transfer A Title In California?

Transferring vehicle ownership in California involves paying title transfer fees to the DMV. This helps register the new owner and update DMV records.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: It costs $15 to transfer a title in California. Additional registration and paperwork fees can bring the total to $65 or more.

California Title Transfer Fees

$15 Title Fee

When transferring a title in California, one of the main fees you will encounter is the $15 title fee. This fee is charged by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and is a standard fee for transferring the ownership of a vehicle.

The $15 title fee covers the administrative costs associated with updating the vehicle’s title and registering the new owner.

Registration, Plate & Misc Fees

In addition to the $15 title fee, there are other fees that you may need to pay when transferring a title in California. These fees include registration fees, plate fees, and miscellaneous fees. The exact amount of these fees can vary depending on factors such as the type of vehicle, its weight, and the length of registration.

  • Registration Fees: Registration fees in California are based on the value of the vehicle and are due at the time of registration. These fees can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
  • Plate Fees: When transferring a title, you may also need to pay plate fees to obtain new license plates for the vehicle. These fees typically range from $20 to $50.
  • Miscellaneous Fees: There may be additional miscellaneous fees associated with transferring a title in California. These fees can include fees for smog certification, vehicle inspections, and other related services.

    It is important to check with the DMV or consult their website for a complete list of fees and requirements.

It is worth noting that the fees mentioned above are subject to change and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the title transfer. It is always a good idea to consult the California DMV’s website or visit your local DMV office for the most up-to-date information on title transfer fees.

For more information about title transfer fees in California, you can visit the official California DMV website at

Title Transfer Process in California

Transferring a title in California involves several steps and requires the completion of specific forms and payment of applicable fees. Understanding the process can help ensure a smooth and hassle-free title transfer.

Filing a Title Transfer Form

The first step in transferring a title in California is to fill out the appropriate form. The most commonly used form is the Application for Transfer of Title (Form REG 343). This form can be obtained from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website or at a local DMV office.

When completing the form, it is important to provide accurate and up-to-date information. This includes the vehicle identification number (VIN), current registered owner’s information, and the name and address of the new owner.

Additionally, if the vehicle being transferred is less than 10 years old, a smog certification may be required. This certification ensures that the vehicle meets California’s emission standards.

Submitting Payment & Paperwork

Once the title transfer form is completed, it must be submitted to the DMV along with the necessary fees. The current fee for transferring a title in California is $15. However, additional fees may apply depending on factors such as the type of vehicle being transferred and any outstanding taxes or fees.

Along with the form and payment, certain supporting documents may also be required. These can include a bill of sale, a lien release if applicable, and any necessary vehicle inspections or certifications.

It is important to note that the DMV may take several weeks to process the title transfer. During this time, it is advisable to keep a copy of the submitted paperwork and any receipts as proof of the transaction.

For more detailed information on the title transfer process in California, including specific requirements and forms, it is recommended to visit the official California DMV website at

In-Person vs. Online Title Transfer

Online Filing Convenience

When it comes to transferring a title in California, you have the option of doing it in-person or online. Online filing has become increasingly popular due to its convenience and time-saving benefits. With online title transfer, you can simply visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website and complete the necessary forms and payments from the comfort of your own home.

This means no more waiting in long lines at the DMV office or taking time off work to complete the process. It’s a hassle-free way to transfer your title and get on with your day.

One of the major advantages of online filing is that it allows you to complete the title transfer at any time that is convenient for you. Whether it’s early in the morning or late at night, you can easily access the online system and complete the necessary steps.

This flexibility is especially beneficial for individuals with busy schedules or those who live in remote areas where access to a DMV office may be limited.

Furthermore, online filing also provides a streamlined process for submitting all the required documents and payments. The system will guide you through each step, ensuring that you provide all the necessary information and complete the payment accurately.

This reduces the chances of errors or missing documents, which can delay the title transfer process.

DMV Office Visits

On the other hand, if you prefer a more traditional approach or if you have specific questions or concerns, you can still choose to transfer your title in-person at a DMV office. While this option requires a visit to the DMV, it does have its advantages.

When you visit a DMV office in-person, you have the opportunity to speak with a DMV representative directly. This can be helpful if you have any questions regarding the title transfer process or if you need assistance with completing the necessary forms.

Additionally, if you have any unique circumstances or special requests, the DMV representative can provide personalized guidance to ensure that everything is handled correctly.

However, it’s important to note that visiting a DMV office in-person may involve longer wait times, especially during peak hours. You may also need to take time off work or rearrange your schedule to accommodate the visit.

Nonetheless, for those who prefer face-to-face interactions or who have complex situations, an in-person visit may be the preferred option.

Additional California Car Transfer Costs

Aside from the basic fees associated with transferring a title in California, there are a few additional costs that you need to consider. These costs can vary depending on factors such as the value of the vehicle and whether or not you have a loan on the car.

Sales Tax on Vehicle Value

One of the additional costs you may encounter when transferring a car title in California is the sales tax on the vehicle’s value. The sales tax is calculated based on the purchase price or fair market value of the vehicle, whichever is higher. The current sales tax rate in California is 7.25%.

However, it’s important to note that certain counties and cities in California may have additional local sales tax rates, so be sure to check with your local tax authority for the most accurate information.

Did you know? You can use online calculators to estimate the sales tax you may have to pay when transferring a car title in California. These calculators take into account factors such as the purchase price of the vehicle and any applicable local sales tax rates.

Loan Payoff Fees

If you have a loan on the vehicle you are transferring the title for, you may also have to pay loan payoff fees. These fees are charged by the lender to cover the costs associated with processing the loan payoff. The exact amount of these fees can vary depending on the terms of your loan agreement.

Pro tip: Before transferring the title of a car with an outstanding loan, it’s a good idea to contact your lender and get a payoff statement. This statement will provide you with the exact amount you need to pay to satisfy the loan and transfer the title.

Avoiding Title Transfer Delays & Issues

Meeting Deadlines & Requirements

Transferring a title in California can be a complex process, but by understanding and meeting all the necessary deadlines and requirements, you can avoid delays and potential issues. One of the first steps is to gather all the required documents, such as the current title, bill of sale, and smog certification.

Taking the time to carefully review and complete these documents will help ensure a smooth transfer process.

Additionally, it’s important to be aware of the specific deadlines set by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for title transfers. Failure to meet these deadlines can result in penalties or additional fees.

For example, if you are purchasing a vehicle, you generally have 10 days from the date of purchase to complete the title transfer. By being proactive and submitting your paperwork in a timely manner, you can avoid unnecessary complications.

Another important requirement to keep in mind is the payment of the necessary fees. The cost of transferring a title in California can vary depending on factors such as the value of the vehicle and whether it is being transferred between family members or unrelated parties.

It’s a good idea to visit the official California DMV website to get an accurate estimate of the fees involved in your specific situation.

Double-Checking All Paperwork

One of the most common causes of delays and issues during the title transfer process is errors or missing information on the paperwork. To avoid this, it’s crucial to double-check all the documents before submitting them to the DMV.

Make sure to review the information on the current title, bill of sale, and any other relevant documents for accuracy. Ensure that all names are spelled correctly, all the necessary signatures are present, and any required forms are properly filled out.

Taking the time to carefully review and correct any mistakes can save you from having to resubmit documents or deal with potential complications later on.

If you’re unsure about any aspect of the title transfer process, don’t hesitate to reach out to the California DMV or consult with a qualified professional who can provide guidance and assistance. Remember, it’s better to take the necessary steps to avoid issues upfront rather than dealing with the consequences of mistakes or delays down the line.


The cost to transfer a title in California is at least $15, plus applicable registration and transfer fees. Following DMV requirements closely can help avoid delays or headaches when transferring vehicle ownership.

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