Tom Corbett, Governor Barry J. Schoch, P.E., Secretary, Department of Transportation

Motor Vehicle Information for New Residents

How To Title and Register Your Out-of-State Vehicle in Pennsylvania

All new residents are required to make application for Pennsylvania title and registration of their vehicle(s) within 20 days of establishing residency in Pennsylvania.

As indicated below, individuals are required to have a valid form of Pennsylvania identification in order to make application to title and register a vehicle in Pennsylvania. Although new residents have 60 days to obtain a Pennsylvania driver's license, there is nothing to prevent them from obtaining their Pennsylvania driver's license sooner.

Pennsylvania title procedures require that the out-of-state title be surrendered to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles when applying for a Pennsylvania title. The current lienholder of an out-of-state title may require that the vehicle owner refinance the balance of the outstanding lien through another lending institution and pay the out-of-state lienholder in full. A Pennsylvania certificate of title will only be issued when the out-of-state title is submitted with the completed Form MV-1, “Application for Certificate of Title.” Likewise, a temporary Pennsylvania registration plate may only be issued when the out-of-state title is submitted with the application for Pennsylvania certificate of title.

Form MV-1 is not available online. This form must be completed by an authorized agent of the Department. Most notaries, dealers, and messenger services are authorized agents and will be able to complete an application for title and issue you a temporary registration. Some authorized agents are online with the Department and are able to process your title and/or registration request on the spot. To locate an On-Line Messenger in your area that processes new resident title and transfers online, visit the Locations Information Center.

In order to title and register your vehicle(s), you will need to bring the following items with you to the authorized agent:

  • A valid title for all of the vehicles you want to register in Pennsylvania, issued in your name, from your previous state; and
  • Proof of Pennsylvania insurance, such as a valid insurance identification card, declaration page of an insurance policy, a copy of a valid binder or a copy of an application for insurance to the Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan for all of the vehicles you will be registering. These documents must indicate both effective and expiration dates.
  • A tracing of the vehicle identification number (VIN) or the verification of the VIN by an inspection mechanic or notary public at a dealership or issuing agent.
  • Appropriate title, lien, registration fees and sales tax (if applicable). Make checks or money orders payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Please do not send cash.
  • If you are titling and registering a leased vehicle, the leasing company will also be required to complete Form MV-1L. NOTE: A Power of Attorney may be required from the leasing company.

The Department will only allow agents to issue title and registration documents to customers who provide one of the following credentials for identification purposes:

  • a valid Pennsylvania Photo Driver's License
  • a valid Pennsylvania Photo Identification Card
  • a valid Pennsylvania Photo Exempt Driver's License
  • a valid Pennsylvania Photo Exempt Identification Card
  • a valid U.S. Armed Forces Common Access Card
    • Dependents of Armed Forces Personnel must provide a valid United States Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card (DD Form 1173)

Note: The requirements for Pennsylvania ID do not apply to the seller or sellers of a vehicle. However, this does not exempt the seller or sellers from providing valid government issued photo identification for identification purposes when completing motor vehicle documents as the seller of a vehicle.

New Standards For Titling Model Year 2008 and Newer Vehicles

If you are titling and registering a 2008 or newer vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 pounds or less, and it has less than 7,500 miles on the odometer, your vehicle must be certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). For more information about this program, visit the Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program page.

VIN Tracing

When completing Section A of Form MV-1, the vehicle identification number (VIN) is required to be verified to ensure that the number listed on the out-of-state title matches the number on the vehicle's VIN plate. A VIN plate tracing is required to be attached to the reverse side of the white copy of all MV-1 applications for PA certificates of title for the following vehicles:

  1. All trucks or truck tractors - VIN plate tracings of trucks should contain the:
    • complete vehicle identification number
    • gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)
    • gross axle weight rating (GAWR)
  2. All motor homes
  3. All vehicles previously titled in another state

A tracing is obtained by placing tracing paper against the VIN plate and applying pressure with a lead pencil, stroking left to right across the entire surface of the VIN plate to produce on the paper an image of all information which has been embossed on the plate. If you are unable to locate your vehicle's VIN plate or you are unable to secure a legible tracing of the plate, contact a certified inspection mechanic or notary public at a motor vehicle dealership. These individuals are authorized to inspect and verify the VIN when a tracing of the plate is not possible. The certified inspection mechanic or notary public is required to list their name, dealer identification number (DIN) or mechanic number and signature in Section A. (NOTE: A photograph of a vehicle's VIN plate is acceptable if the photo is signed and dated by a certified inspection mechanic or a notary public at a dealership.) The certified inspection mechanic or notary public's signature indicates that he/she visually inspected the VIN on the vehicle and it matches the VIN on the out-of-state title. If the vehicle is located outside of Pennsylvania, the VIN must be verified by a police officer, a mechanic employed by a motor vehicle dealership or an armed forces installation provost marshal or motor officer.

Fees

For a complete listing of fees related to Driver and Vehicle Services, please visit our fees page.

Sales Tax

If you hold a valid title issued in another state and have owned the vehicle 6 months or more before moving to Pennsylvania, you will not be required to pay any sales tax when you register your vehicle in Pennsylvania. Applicants exempt from Pennsylvania sales tax will list the appropriate Sales Tax Exemption reason code in Section I, block 1A and/or 1B on Form MV-1.

If you hold a valid title issued in another state and, have owned the vehicle less than 6 months before moving to Pennsylvania, you will need to provide proof of sales tax paid to the previous titling jurisdiction, or remit PA sales tax. Applicants entitled to a tax credit will list the appropriate tax credit amount in "Less Tax Credit" block on Form MV-1.

Vehicle Safety Inspection

A vehicle newly registered in Pennsylvania must be safety inspected within ten (10) days of the registration date. Inspections are performed at official inspection stations (usually a repair garage or a service station with a repair shop). Equipment checks include: lights, brakes, horn, tires, safety belts, exhaust system, mirrors, tag mounting, suspension, turn signals, steering, glazing, wipers, and other major parts of your vehicle.

Inspection fees are posted at official inspection stations. These fees do not include repairs to correct vehicle defects.

Regulations regarding window tinting in vehicles vary from state to state. If you have altered the tinting from the original manufacturer’s specifications on any of your vehicle’s windows for any reason, please refer to PennDOT’s Vehicle Sun Screening Fact Sheet for the level of sun screening acceptable under current regulations.

Emission Inspection Maintenance

Pennsylvania is one of many states required by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to have a vehicle emissions inspection & maintenance (I/M) program. The I/M program is a key part of the Commonwealth's strategy to improve its air quality.

Visit the Drive Clean PA website or call the customer hotline at 1-800-265-0921 to find out if the county your vehicle is registered in is required to participate in the emissions inspection program.

Boat/Snowmobile/ATV Registration

PennDOT does not register boats, snowmobiles or ATVs.


Driver's License Information

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