Out of State Vehicle Title Transfers

Out of State Vehicle Title Transfers

Arizona Certificate of Title

A vehicle title from another state is that vehicle’s proof of ownership document. Titles vary greatly from state to state, and their requirements to transfer ownership to a new owner do too! In most circumstances, the out of state title must be surrendered when transferring ownership and titling the vehicle in Arizona.

An Arizona resident who purchases a vehicle titled in another state must obtain an Arizona title prior to selling or transferring ownership of the vehicle to another person, company, or dealer.

When moving to Arizona, residents are required to title and register their vehicles within 30 days. If you are moving to Arizona, or have recently become an Arizona resident, you will need to surrender your out of state title, and take title in Arizona for your vehicle. You will not be required to sign the back of the title, because ownership is not changing. You will be required to show photo identification in these cases.

Note that Arizona law requires residents to update their address with the MVD within 10 days of moving. This applies to out of state license holders as well. A new resident who moves to Arizona has 30 days to obtain an Arizona driver license, and surrender their old out of state driver license.

To process an out of state title transfer from one owner to a new Arizona resident owner, the buyer must present photo identification at the time of the transaction, must have the previous owner’s title properly endorsed and/or notarized on the back, and if a lien was recorded on the title, a lien clearance or release will be needed. The lien release is sometimes completed and notarized on the title itself, and other times it is provided to the seller as a separate document.

To transfer ownership, typically the seller and buyer must both complete fields on the back of the title, including the odometer section. The seller’s signature may need to be notarized before the buyer can take title to the vehicle, but not all states require this. Look at the back of the title to determine if notarization is required.

It’s also a great idea for the seller to prepare and sign a Bill of Sale, and have it notarized. Even though it’s is an out of state title, the Arizona bill of sale form will help prevent potential issues when the buyer comes in to complete the title transfer process. The seller may also choose to complete a Power of Attorney form, and have it notarized, to allow the buyer to sign on their behalf for title transfer related documents.

All of the required documents can be notarized by any Notary Public, or in person at any MVD office or authorized third party provider, by an MVD agent. The notarization is typically only required for the seller’s signature, and is required to prevent fraudulent signatures from being submitted on title transfer paperwork.

On the back of the title, the seller will need to complete and sign certain fields, which vary from state to state. Generally speaking, the following information is found on most titles…

  • Odometer Reading
  • Seller’s Name (printed)
  • Seller’s Signature (may need to be notarized)
  • Seller’s Street Address, City, State, and ZipCode
  • Note, if notarization is required, the Seller MUST SIGN in the presence of a Notary Public, or an MVD agent!

The buyer should review the back of the out of state title, to ensure that no fields were missed by the seller. The buyer will also need to complete and sign certain fields, which vary from state to state. Generally speaking, the following information is found on most titles…

  • Buyer’s Name (printed)
  • Buyer’s Signature
  • Sale Date
  • Buyer’s Street Address, City, State, and Zip Code
  • Odometer Reading

Note that there may be other fields that appear, and may be required, to transfer ownership for an out of state title. We highly recommend that you thoroughly review the front and back of the title to ensure that the seller has properly completed all required fields. If you have any questions or doubts, please bring the title in question to our office for review. We can let you know which items must be completed. It is a really good idea to complete a Bill of Sale and a Power of Attorney any time you are buying a vehicle with an out of state title, or where the seller resides out of state. It can be much more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to contact the seller to obtain signatures after the sale.