To register a vehicle, either new or used, with DC DMV, you must have proof that you own it, or that you hold the vehicle title. The title is the legal form that establishes ownership of the vehicle. The title will have the vehicle identification number and some other important information that identifies the specific vehicle.
If you purchase a new vehicle, a Certificate of Origin will be provided from the vehicle dealership. The original Certificate of Origin serves the same purpose as a title for your new vehicle until you title it with DC DMV.
To get a current, valid title to a vehicle you purchase or otherwise obtain, you will have to submit certain documents to DC DMV. The following original documents are required to obtain a new vehicle title (DC DMV cannot accept photocopies or scanned documents):
Current title or Certificate of Origin
Altered titles are not acceptable; you will have to apply for a replacement title if the title to the vehicle has been altered. If you are transferring a vehicle from another jurisdiction to the District of Columbia and the vehicle has a lien on it, you will need to contact the lienholder and have the original title sent to one of DMV's service centers. You can access the lienholder out of state title request form from the link below:
- Lienholder Out of State Title Request Form
DC DMV driver license or DC DMV non-driver identification card
If the vehicle has multiple owners, all owners must be listed on the title. The primary owner must be a District resident with a DC DMV credential. Additionally, information on the other owners, including photo identification, will be required for vehicle registrations. More information on required documents for registrations is available at the link below:
Car Bill of Sale
Proof of Valid Odometer Statement
For a new car, the dealer’s odometer statement
For a used car, either:
Certification of odometer mileage on back of title (when signed over)
Certification of odometer mileage on dealer reassignment form (if purchased from dealer)
Lien contract (if applicable)
Lease contract (if applicable)
Your DC DMV vehicle title will be mailed to the primary owner, or the primary lien holder, within 10 business days of presenting all the required documentation to DC DMV.
You can use the link below to obtain an online estimate of the vehicle registration and title fees:
NOTE: If you acquire the vehicle through the death of the vehicle’s owner, you will need to provide additional information, whether you are a surviving owner also listed on the title or not. Information on vehicles acquired through the death of the owner is available at the link below:
If you only want the title to your vehicle—and you do not intend to operate it in the District—it does not need to pass inspection or be insured. However, you may not operate a vehicle in the District unless it is registered; to register the vehicle, it will have to have a valid inspection sticker and be insured.
If you would like to title a vehicle that has been branded “salvage,” the vehicle must pass a safety inspection first.
To Replace a Vehicle Title
If your vehicle title is lost or stolen, or the lien on the vehicle has been satisfied, you may obtain a duplicate title. You will have to provide certain documents (listed below) and pay a fee.
If there are no changes to your title, such as removing a lien or changing ownership, you may apply for a duplicate title online at the link below:
You can also mail the documents and fee to:
PO Box 90120
Washington, DC 20090
Or, you can visit a DC DMV service center with the required documents and fee. Information on DC DMV service centers is available at the link below:
If your vehicle title has been lost or stolen, you will need the following documents:
Certificate of Title/Temporary Tag Application (must be signed by all owners), available at the link below:
Valid photo identification of vehicle owner(s)
A Vehicle Power of Attorney form and copy of the valid DC DMV credential for the District resident owner of the vehicle if you are not the owner, but requesting the duplicate title for the owner. The Vehicle Power of Attorney form is available at the link below:
- Vehicle information—at least one of the following items to identify your vehicle:
- Vehicle renewal notice
- Vehicle registration
- Vehicle identification number
- DC DMV title number
- Vehicle tag number
To obtain a duplicate title once a lien has been satisfied, you will have to submit or bring to a DC DMV service center the documents listed above, and any one of the following documents:
- Letter of financing on company letterhead stating that the lien is satisfied
- Loan agreement stamped “paid” by the financial institution and certified by an appropriate party
- Title stamped with lien release from the financial institution
Dealers may request duplicate titles on behalf of customers by providing the following documentation and paying the appropriate fee, either by mail or in person at a DC DMV service center:
- Certificate of Title/Temporary Tag Application, available at the link below:
- Certificate of Title/Temporary Tag Application
- A copy of the customer’s driver license or non-driver identification card
- Vehicle Power of Attorney form, available at the link below:
- Vehicle Power of Attorney Form
To replace a title and/or request a change of name or change of address, please bring in the supporting documentation. Information on name and address changes is available at the links below:
To replace an existing DC DMV title due to an incorrect vehicle identification number (VIN), you must bring one of the following documents:
- VIN correction from DC DMV inspection station
- VIN correction letter on letterhead from another state's motor vehicle agency
Information on titles for salvage vehicles is available at the link below:
All duplicate titles will be mailed to the primary owner within 10 business days of processing. Titles are not issued over the counter.