Buy or sell a vehicle (transfer ownership)
How to transfer vehicle ownership
Determine exactly what you need before you buy a vehicle
Use DMV’s Document Guide to make sure you get all documents you need from a seller so that you can register your vehicle in New York.
In general, when transferring ownership...
The seller must either
- complete and sign the transfer ownership section of the title certificate, and
- sign a bill of sale (even if it is a gift)
- provide other acceptable proofs of ownership and transfer of ownership
The buyer must
- sign the bill of sale (even if it is a gift)
- pay sales tax or have proof of an exemption
- register and title the vehicle or trailer (or snowmobile, boat, moped or ATV) or transfer a registration from another vehicle they own to their new vehicle
Proof of ownership
The proofs of ownership needed to register and title a vehicle in New York are different for different types of vehicles (for example, cars, trailers, boats, snowmobiles, manufactured homes).
- Acceptable proofs of ownership
- Get proof of ownership at purchase
- Deceased owner
- Proof of ownership at purchase
- Proof of ownership is not available
How to register the vehicle
See information for how to register a vehicle you bought (or received as a gift).
- Register and title a vehicle or trailer (including transfer a registration to another vehicle you own)
- Register a snowmobile, boat or ATV
- How to register a newly purchased vehicle if you do not have the title
You must register the vehicle at a DMV office or by mail. You cannot do this over the phone, or online.
You cannot change the name on the vehicle registration or the title certificate to the name of another person. You must transfer the ownership of the vehicle.
You can check the National Insurance Crime Bureau database to see if a vehicle is flood damaged. You will need the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
Tips for buying a vehicle
Read the DMV brochures, Let the Buyer Be Aware, and Q&A About Your Title Certificate.