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How to Title a Vehicle in New Jersey

It is important to know how to get a car title in New Jersey as NJ law requires all motorists to obtain both titles and registration after the purchase of a new vehicle, a used vehicle or after moving to the state. Generally, initial titles and registrations must be obtained at a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) office, however, if you purchase a vehicle from a dealership within the state, that dealership will handle your initial title application for you.

You will still need to obtain a MVC car title if you purchase a vehicle from a dealership outside of New Jersey. The process of obtaining an auto title for the first time does differ for individuals relocating to NJ as well as for individuals purchasing a used vehicle from a private seller, so it is important to be aware of both of these processes. Being aware of all title processes can better prepare you for your visit to the MVC and avoid a second trip due to missing an important document or not having the appropriate fees ready. For more on how to get a new car title within New Jersey — review the information that has been provided within the sections below.

How to Get a New Car Title in New Jersey

Your dealership will handle the paperwork for your new car title if you purchase a vehicle from a dealership that is located within the state of New Jersey. However, if you did not receive a title from a dealer, such as when purchasing a vehicle from out of state, you will be required to visit a motor vehicle agency in person in order to apply for your initial title. When visiting the MVC, it is important that you bring the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO) that displays a sales tax-satisfied stamp. If your vehicle has been financed, you will also need to provide proof of the lien holder’s address and Entity Identification Number (EIN) so that your car’s title can be sent to the lien holder.

How to Get a Car Title for a Used Vehicle in New Jersey

The process of obtaining a NJ vehicle title after purchasing a vehicle from a private seller is widely different than the process of obtaining one after the purchase from a dealership. While you will still need to visit the MVC in person and complete a Vehicle Registration Application, the documentation that you must bring along with you to your visit is very different. In order to complete your purchase, the seller of the vehicle must properly complete their vehicle’s title, including the seller’s and buyer’s name, addresses and signatures as well as the date of sale purchase price and your driver’s license number. This title must then be brought to the MVC during your visit. You will also be required to present your driver’s license, proof of New Jersey insurance, your titling and sales tax payments and your lien holder’s information (if applicable).

Obtaining a NJ Vehicle Title After Moving to the State

New Jersey law requires a vehicle titleand registration to be applied for within 60 days of moving to the state. To do so, you will need to visit a motor vehicle agency and present:

  • Your original title
  • Your proof of identification
  • Your proof of New Jersey insurance
  • Appropriate fees

If you have a lien holder on your vehicle, you will be required to complete an additional application instead of presenting your out of state title. Then, the lien holder will become responsible for sending your title to the New Jersey MVC.

You will receive a new car title during your visit, unless you have a lien holder or your mailing address is a P.O Box. Alongside your new title, you will be provided with new license plates, a NJ registration card and a temporary inspection card. If you do have a P.O Box number as your mailing address, the title will be held for a 10 day period before being mailed to you along with your license plates and other documents.

Understanding Initial Title Registration in New Jersey

Your initial title registration must be applied for when titling your vehicle, whether after a purchase or after becoming a resident of New Jersey. In October of 2004, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) implemented the Four-Tear Accelerated Registration Program. This program requires that all vehicle owners of new passenger vehicles pay the registration fee in full for a four year period. However, if you have leased a new vehicle, that registration fee becomes a part of your lease. Refunds are not provided for any unused portion of the four year registration, however. This means that should you move to another state or sell your vehicle within that four year period, there is no way for you to regain any money for unused time of your car’s registration. However, in many cases, you can transfer your registration to your new vehicle when selling your previous vehicle by paying a small transfer fee. 

Your Responsibility to Perform a Title Renewal in New Jersey

It is your responsibility to perform a car title renewal whenever your registration is due for renewal. The Motor Vehicle Commissions will send you a renewal notice by mail within a month or two of your current registration’s expiration date. Therefore, it is important that you always update the New Jersey MVC of any changes made to your residential address as, contrary to common belief, the United States Postal Services will not forward state mail. Failing to update your address could mean that you will miss out on important state mail involving your vehicle’s registration and title. There are a number of ways to perform a MVC title renewal, as you may be able to renew online, by mail or in person. When performing a renewal in person, it is important that you always bring your New Jersey insurance card along with your license plate number and your appropriate payment.