[This is the first of a two-part series on automobile-related topics, like getting car insurance and what to do when moving between states.]
Over the past few days (I seem to use this expression a lot, huh?), I have been figuring out the best means of legally moving my vehicle from the state of Maryland to the state of Virginia. I should have already done this by now but external forces have forced my procrastinating hand. This post comes in the midst of the process --an ordeal I hope to end by Wednesday this week.
The background is a simple one: my parents gifted me a car during college, but they did not title nor register the vehicle in my name. Because I had been driving it exclusively in Maryland, there has not been issues with formally transferring the vehicle to Virginia. Now I have to do it because I will otherwise lose parking privileges in my apartment complex's parking lot. Transferring the vehicle means I have to title and register the vehicle with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
There are a number of documents one must have to successfully transfer a vehicle, some of which are specific to the state of Virginia:
- Safety Inspection Sticker -- this must be renewed annually and can be obtained at any authorized garage. The cost is $16. This is also required prior to titling the vehicle.
- Vehicle Emissions Test -- the vehicle must pass this test every few years and the cost is generally around $30. I am able to skip this step as I have a current (within the past 12 months) vehicle emissions certificate from the state of Maryland. Also required before titling the vehicle.
- Signed "Power of Attorney" Form -- can be obtained directly from Virginia DMV website and required if you do not hold the title to the vehicle.
- Notarized "Purchaser's Statement of Tax Exemption" if the vehicle titling falls within certain criteria, such as between family members. Otherwise you'd have to pay a 3% tax of at least $35.
- Signed "Odometer Statement" between buyer and seller (or transferees)
- Completed Application for Title and Registration (VSA 17A)
- Proof of Address
- Title or Registration Card from previous state and/or by previous owner
- County Tax Sticker -- I was told this should be completed before titling the vehicle, the cost for Arlington county is $33
- Current Insurance (discussed more in part 2)
It's a mind-boggling list of documentation to title and register the vehicle. After speaking with multiple DMV agents, I am told that both the titling and the registration can be performed on the same day -- provided all the necessary documentation is there. Some of the items listed are straightforward, but others are not so much. A few are specific to my case of transferring a vehicle not currently titled to me.
In my case, my parents (owners of the vehicle) must sign the "Power of Attorney" form that effectively cedes authority to me on the vehicle. This grants the ability to title the car in my name without them being present. An "Odometer Statement" also appears to be required, unless you fall one of the rare exemptions. A third item also needs to be completed -- if you do not wish to pay the $35 minimum vehicle sales tax-- called the "Purchaser's Statement of Tax Exemption". This document (only a single page) needs to be notarized.
Although titling and registering the vehicle can occur on the same day, this need not be the case. It makes sense to do both on the same day though. Titling involves the least of the documents listed, with only the (1) proof of address, (2) completed aforementioned forms, and (completed Application for Titling and Registration. Registering a vehicle requires the rest on the list, such as the insurance and county tax sticker. Total cost for the whole thing from beginning to end should be around $100 ($10 for title, $40 for registration, $16 for safety inspection, and $30 for emissions test) plus insurance -- which is very expensive in Virginia.
I'd say the process can be completed within a few (2-5 business days) if all the documents can be readily found. I just completed the Safety Inspection and tomorrow plan to finalize all matters related to insurance. On Wednesday morning, I will be going to the DMV to title and register my vehicle. Hope to not hit any snags...