Add a Name to a Car Title

A car title is a record that shows ownership of a car. The car is listed in the name or names of the owners and it can be transferred to a new owner, if the vehicle is sold or given to a new party. Car title changes are submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in the state where you live. If you would like to change or add a name to a car title, then the DMV must make changes to the current title in order to transfer ownership into both names. Then, the DMV will send you a new title. This process differs slightly between states. Read more to find out how to add a name to a car title.


  1. Call your state's DMV to inquire about the exact methods that are necessary for adding names to a title in your state. Some states require proof of insurance, a separate application or a notary public's stamp.
  2. Contact your car loan company, if you still owe money on your car. Adding a name to the title may conflict or change the terms of your loan.
  3. Make changes to your insurance policy, so that it will cover all the names you would like to put on the title. Some states require proof of this before updating the title. In other states, you may be able to wait until after you receive the new title.
  4. Fill out an application for registration and certificate of title. This is the same application that is used when registering a car or dropping or changing a name on a title.
  5. Find your current car title. Make sure you are listed as the current owner of the car. If you are not listed as the owner/seller, you will need to get the cooperation of the current owner to change the car title to include additional names.
  6. List all the names you want listed on the new title, including your own, in the "Transfer of Title" section. This may be on the bottom or the back side of the title, next to the odometer listing. On the "Price" line, write the word "gift."
    • Decide on the conjunction you would like to use between the names in the transfer section. If you write the word "and" between the names, then both signatures will be required to sell the car and transfer the title in the future. If you write the word "or" between the names, then only 1 signature is required for future transfers.
  7. Have the owner sign and date the certificate in the presence of a notary public. A notary public is available at most Clerk of Court offices and some private mail companies, like FedEx. They may charge a small fee to endorse and stamp your title.
  8. Bring the title, application, insurance card and fee payment to your local DMV, or mail it to their location. You should receive your new title with all applicable names listed in 1 to 4 weeks.


  • Car titles are only required for cars that were made after 1981. If the car was made before 1981, a title is not required. You must have a certificate of ownership that indicates both, or all, of the names. Contact your DMC for a form called "Request for Report of Sale/Transfer of Non-Titled Motor Vehicle."
  • If the title is currently held by lien to another party, it would need to be released for transfer purposes in order to add a name to a title.
  • Make copies of the paperwork for your records before bringing it to the DMV or mailing it.

Things You'll Need

  • DMV office
  • Car title
  • Application for registration and certificate of title
  • Insurance car
  • Notary (optional)
  • Fee payment
  • Postage (optional)

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