The state of California requires that all sail-powered vessels that are over eight feet long be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles. To be able to register your vessel, you have to provide the original California Certificate of Ownership (title), which is a document that proves that you are the legal owner of the boat you want to register. When vessel ownership needs to be transferred, such as when buying or selling a vessel, a title transfer procedure has to be completed.

Buying a Used Vessel

If you have bought a vessel that has already been registered in the state of California, you will need to transfer the title into your name. The first thing you should do in order to transfer the title is obtain California Certificate of Ownership from the seller, and have the seller sign it.

Then, you have to print your name and address, and sign on the back of the title. Finally, you have to submit the title to the California DMV, and pay the $15 transfer fee.

Selling Your Vessel

When selling a used vessel, you must submit a Notice of Release of Liability within 5 days of the sale, providing the name and address of the buyer, along with the date of the sale. Then, you have to sign the original Certificate of Ownership and give it to the buyer.


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California residents who intend to move to another state and want to be able to use their vehicle in their new state, have to get informed about the regulations in that state, and their regulations regarding out-of-state title transfers. When moving to another state, you have to register your vehicle with that state’s DMV, and obtain new license plates, and to be able to do that, you have to prove that you are the legal owner of your car. You can prove ownership by providing the vehicle title.

Inform the DMV

Before you move out of California, you have to notify the DMV that you are leaving the state, let them know what your new state is, and send them a copy of your new registration.

Get Familiar With The Titling Procedure in Your New State

Depending on the state, your vehicle might have to pass a smog inspection or emission tests, before you can register it. In order to complete the title transfer as fast as possible, it’s recommended to do a research and find out what the DMV in your new state requires from those who move from another state and want to bring their vehicles with them.

Proving You Are the Legal Owner of Your Vehicle

When you go to the DMV to register your vehicle, you have to bring your current title, along with a document that proves you are a legal resident of the state you have just moved to, and a proof of identity from your old state, such as a driver’s license.

Surrender Your Title and Pay the Title Transfer Fee

Before the DMV in your new state can issue your new title, you have to surrender your old title, and pay the required fees.


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There are a couple of things you have to take care of if you are planning to move out of California on a temporary basis. Depending on how long you are going to be living outside of California, you might have to notify the DMV that you are moving and let them know what your new address is. However, this only applies in case you stay in another state for several years. One of the most important details you have to pay attention to in this situation is the title transfer procedure, which varies depending on what state you are moving to. To find out what the title transfer procedure in California is, you can go to the state’s DMV website and see what documents are required and what fees are due.

Driver’s License

When you move out of California, no matter whether it’s on a permanent or a temporary basis, you don’t have to cancel your current license. If you move permanently, and obtain a new license in the state you move to, the DMV will cancel it automatically.

Transferring Your Vehicle Title

California does not require you to transfer your vehicle title if you move out of the state temporarily and get back after a certain period of time. However, you might have to title your car in the state you move to, depending on how long you will be staying there. Usually, other states allow you to keep your out-of-state title for a couple of months, but if you extend your stay for more than a year, you will have to obtain a new title and register your car in the state you have moved to.


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A vehicle title is a document that proves ownership of a vehicle. It includes some basic information about a vehicle, such as its make, model and year, as well as its vehicle identification number. Also, it shows the name and address of its legal owner, and the name of the lienholder, in case there is money owed on the car. When ownership has to be changed, a title transfer has to be made. There are several situations that require a title transfer, such as selling, buying, inheriting, gifting, or donating a vehicle, and making name corrections, such as adding a name or changing a name.

In California, title transfers are required for non-resident vehicles, too. A non-resident vehicle is defined as a vehicle that was last registered outside the state of California. If you move to California and bring your vehicle that was registered in another state, or if you are a California resident, and you buy a non-resident vehicle, you have to register it in California.

 Out-of-State Vehicles

The title transfer procedure for out-of-state vehicles is a bit different from the procedure for resident vehicles. The first thing you should do is complete the Application for Title or Registration. Then, you have to submit the out-of-state registration certificate, and the Verification of Vehicle form. In some cases, the California DMV requires an out-of-state title, a Lien Satisfied Statement, a Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight, a Statement of Facts, a Smog Certification, and a Weight Certificate. Finally, you have to pay the appropriate fees.

If you are a California resident who has bought a vehicle in another state, you have to pay the fees within 20 days of the day the vehicle has entered California. Nonresidents have to register their vehicles and pay the appropriate fees in case they accept gainful employment in California, rent or lease a residence in California, or if they claim homeowner’s exemption in California.


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