How to Transfer a Car Title in Rhode Island

A car title is the document that proves ownership of a particular vehicle. However, when that ownership changes, whether through a sale, a donation, or through inheritance, the title must be updated to reflect the new situation. This is called a title transfer, and it’s a crucial step. If you’re wondering how to transfer a car title in Rhode Island, the process is actually relatively simple, although there are some specific things to get right.

If you’re a seller

In a private vehicle sale, it is the responsibility of the buyer to have the car title transferred. However, the seller also has many responsibilities. You must:

  • Provide the buyer with the title, with all of the seller’s information completed. Note that not all cars in Rhode Island will have titles – only models from 2001 and newer. Cars older than 2001 do not require a title.

  • You must complete the Application for Title (the seller’s section).

  • You must complete the Use Tax Return (the seller’s section).

  • Give the buyer a bill of sale.

  • Give the buyer a lien release.

Common mistakes

  • Not completing the seller’s sections on the title application and tax form

If you’re the buyer

For buyers, the process of transferring a title falls squarely on your shoulders. You will need to:

  • Complete the Application for Title (buyer’s section).
  • Complete the Use Tax Return (buyer’s section).
  • Prove your residency in the state.
  • Prove that the car is insured.
  • Provide a complete bill of sale (the seller will give this to you).
  • Bring all of this information to the DMV, where you’ll also need to pay the $51.51 title transfer fee.

Common mistakes

  • Not completing all forms accurately

Note that an alternative ownership document is available for cars from 2000 and older. It costs $11.50 from the DMV.

Gifting or inheriting

For the process of gifting a car, the steps required are the same as above. However, you will also need either a bill of sale or an Affidavit of Gift of Motor Vehicle. The title transfer fee is the same.

If you’re inheriting a vehicle, you will need a bill of sale, or the Affidavit of Gift. You will also need an Application for Registration and Title Certificate, as well as a Sales or Use Tax certificate. The title transfer fee is the same. You may also need to provide the death certificate, a voluntary executor form and the current registration.

For more information about how to transfer a car title in Rhode Island, visit the state’s DMV website.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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