How to Register a Car With No Title

by Connie s Owens
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Registering a car without a title will vary slightly from state to state. If you purchased a vehicle and the owner lost the original title or a salvaged vehicle you can complete the registration. Check with your state for the specific requirements to register a car with no title.

Step 1

Visit your state and/or county department of motor vehicles website or the local office to obtain the precise paperwork required.

Step 2

Collect the necessary credentials such as your identification and insurance card. You will need to provide these when you register the vehicle.

Step 3

Request an application for duplicate title from the previous owner. In some states like California the owner will need to have it notarized.

Step 4

Obtain a smog certification. This is a requirement when registering a new vehicle. Some states may require the previous owner to obtain the certificate.

Complete all forms with the required information, including the VIN, odometer reading at the date of sale, and provide the required certificates and fees. Check all forms to ensure the information is complete and accurate.


  • The forms required for registration without a title will vary according to the state you reside in. The state of Virginia requires a safety inspection prior to registering your vehicle. All states require a smog certification and proof of insurance. Proof of your identity with a bill of sale will help make the process smoother.

Items you will need

  • Proof of ownership
  • Identification
  • Insurance
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Odometer reading
  • Previous owner's signature

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