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First Time Vehicle Registration in Maryland

Title and Register a Vehicle in Maryland

New Maryland residents are required to register their vehicles with the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) within 60 days of establishing residency. If you exceed the 60 days, you can be ticketed for having an out-of-state registration and you won’t be credited for the title tax you paid in another state.

When you purchase a new or used vehicle from a Maryland dealership, the titling and registration paperwork is typically handled by the dealership.

The process for titling and registering a vehicle purchased from a private seller or from an out-of-state dealer is the same. Both the seller and buyer share responsibility for completing the transaction and transferring the title properly.

Consider making an appointment at the MVA ahead of time to avoid a long line.

Transfer an Out-of-State Title in Maryland

Make sure you transfer your out-of-state title within 60 days of establishing residency in Maryland to avoid penalties.

To transfer your out-of-state title to Maryland, visit your local MVA office and provide:

  • Your out-of-state title.


  • The fax number for the lienholder that owns your vehicle. Once the MVA receives your title directly from the lienholder they will contact you to complete your transfer. You’ll have to:
    • Complete an Application for Maryland Title (VR-005) form.
    • Write a check or money order for the amount owed payable to the MVA. This will include the:
      • Excise tax (amount provided by the MVA).
      • Title fee.
      • Fee to record the lien.
      • Tag fees.
    • Mail your documents to the address the MVA provides you.

Selling a Vehicle in Maryland

Sellers must:

  • Complete the following on the “Assignment of Ownership” section on the certificate of title*:
    • Print the buyer’s name and address.
    • List the purchase price in the designated space (if there is a space for it in the “Assignment of Ownership” section).
    • Write the odometer reading in the “Assignment of Ownership” section.
  • Hire a notary to witness the sale if the vehicle is 7 years old or less AND is being sold for less than the book value.
  • Provide the buyer with the:
    • Certificate of title*.
    • Original “Notice of Security Interest Filing” if the vehicle previously had a lien. If this is unavailable, request a document from the lienholder on their official letterhead stating that they hold no security interest. The letter must include the:
      • Lien creation date.
      • Amount.
      • Lien release date.
      • Debtor’s address and name.
      • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
      • Year, make, and model of the vehicle.
  • Submit the license plates to the MVA or transfer them to a new vehicle before cancelling insurance.

*If you’re unable to produce the certificate of title, obtain a duplicate by completing an MVA Application for Duplicate Certificate of Title (VR-018) and submitting it to the MVA.

Buying a Vehicle in Maryland

Buyers must:

  • Complete the following on the certificate of title:
    • Sign the “Assignment of Ownership” section.
    • Complete and sign the “Application for Title and Registration” section (co-buyers must also sign if applicable). You'll need to take an insurance policy out on the vehicle to provide the insurance information on this form.
  • Submit the following to the MVA office (you must complete this process before driving the vehicle):
    • A completed Application for Maryland Title (VR-005) if the vehicle has an out-of-state title.
    • The “Notice of Security Interest Filing” (supplied by the seller if there had been a lien on the vehicle).
    • A completed and notarized Bill of Sale (VR-181)​ form if the vehicle is 7 years old or less AND purchased for less than the book value.
    • A “Maryland Safety Inspection Certificate” completed at a licensed Maryland inspection station.
    • Payment for the excise tax if the vehicle is 7 years old or newer.

Gifting a Vehicle in Maryland

You can give a Maryland vehicle to a member of your immediate family by:

  • Having both parties complete their designated sections on the certificate of title.
    • Write “gift” for the “Purchase Price” space on the title.
  • Completing and submitting a Gift Certification (VR-103)​ form to the MVA.
  • Proving that they are part of your immediate family. If they do not share your last name you must submit proof of your relationship. This may include items such as a marriage certificate (signed by a clerk of the court) and birth certificate proving a name change.
  • Providing the “Notice of Security Interest Filing” if the vehicle previously had a lien.

Vehicle gifts are exempt from excise tax.

New plates will have to be purchased for the vehicle UNLESS the vehicle is titled in:

  • The names of both spouses (joint name) and one of the spouses’ names are being removed from the title.
  • A spouse’s name and is being transferred to joint names of both spouses.
  • In a parent’s name and the vehicle is being given to a child OR the child’s name is being added to the title as a joint name.
  • In a child’s name and the vehicle is being given to the parents OR the parents are being added to the title as a joint name.

If the plates expire in less than 1 year, transferring the title will renew the registration for 12 months.

Maryland First-Time Registration and Title Fees

  • Excise tax: 6% of the vehicle’s book value or purchase price (minimum $38.40).
  • Temporary registration: $20.
  • Duplicate title: $20.
  • Registration and Tag transfer: $10.
  • Registration fee:
    • Vehicles 3700 pounds and under: $135.
    • Vehicles over 3700 pounds: $187.