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Proof of ownership is not available

What should I do if the proof of ownership is not available when I buy a vehicle?

Titled Vehicles

If the seller has a title certificate that was transferred to the seller by the previous owner, and the title certificate displays the name of the previous owner, the seller must get a title certificate that displays the name of the seller. Use the Application for Title Only (MV-82TON) form. Follow the instructions carefully. Do not use form MV-82TON to apply for both a vehicle registration and a title certificate at the same time. Do not use form MV-82TON to replace a lost title certificate.

If the seller cannot get a title certificate that displays the name of the seller, the seller can contact the DMV to get more information.

 

Non-Titled Vehicles

Replace a NYS transferable registration: If the NYS transferable registration is lost, the current owner can apply for a duplicate registration document at a DMV office. Use the Application for Registration or Title (MV-82) and the instructions (MV-82.1). The current owner can transfer the ownership with the duplicate registration document, even if the registration is expired. The current owner must also complete a bill of sale (see Get proof of ownership at purchase).

Use the Certification of NYS Registration for Transfer of Non-Titled Vehicle (MV-353): If the NYS transferable registration is lost and the DMV cannot issue a duplicate, the current owner can apply for form MV-353. The DMV must verify from its records that the vehicle was registered to the current owner. The current owner must provide proof of identity - see Proofs of Identity for Registration and Title (ID-82). There is a fee $10 for form MV-353. The current owner can use form MV-353 and a bill of sale.

Use the Statement of Ownership (MV-51B): If the DMV cannot issue a transferable registration or form MV-353 the registration applicant must show other evidence of ownership. For example, the applicant can show an old registration, an original Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, or an original Manufacturer's Statement of Origin. If the proof is not available, the applicant can use the Statement of Ownership for Non-Titled Vehicles, Boats, Snowmobiles and All-Terrain Vehicles (MV-51B) for proof of ownership.

Use the Certification [Affidavit] of Sale or Transfer (MV-51)  for 1972 or Older Vehicles or Any Other Non-Titled Vehicles: If the seller did not register the vehicle, the boat, the ATV or the snowmobile, the seller can complete the Affidavit of Sale or Transfer (MV-51) and give the form to the buyer. The seller must also give the buyer the original proof of ownership and bill of sale that the seller received from the previous owner. If there are other previous owners, the seller must also give the buyer proofs of all previous transfers of ownership. The seller must also give the buyer a bill of sale.

Proof of Ownership Supplied by the Buyer: Before you purchase a vehicle, boat, or snowmobile that is non-titled, make sure that you will receive the acceptable proofs of ownership. If you cannot get any of these proofs, you must

    • contact the previous owner that sold the vehicle, boat or snowmobile to you - get a bill of sale, and a registration receipt or form MV-353 transferred to you

or

    • write to the owner and request that the owner transfer the acceptable proof of ownership to you and mail the proof to you - use certified mail to request a return receipt

If you do not receive proof of ownership, and the US Postal Service returns your certified letter, bring all of these items to a DMV office

    • the returned certified letter in its envelope, not opened
    • a pencil tracing, a photo or a police statement that shows the vehicle identification number
    • a notarized affidavit that explains how you got the vehicle and describes how you tried to get the acceptable proof of ownership
    • other documents that are evidence of ownership. For example, any bills of sale or registration documents of previous owners, or your cancelled check for payment, is evidence of ownership
    • a completed Statement of Ownership (MV-51B) -  if you have had the vehicle, the boat or the snowmobile for less than one year and it was never registered by the previous owner, the previousowner must complete form MV-51B

Important: If your proof of ownership for a vehicle, boat, or snowmobile that is non-titled is not a NYS transferable registration transferred to you by the previous owner, the local DMV office will issue a non-transferable registration. You can use the vehicle, boat or snowmobile with a non-transferable registration, but you cannot transfer your ownership to another person.

After your non-transferable registration is issued, the DMV Title Services Bureau examines your proofs. The Title Services Bureau decides if the DMV can issue a transferable registration. The Title Services Bureau will mail to you a transferable registration or a letter that explains why the DMV cannot issue a transferable registration.