Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 13 of 38

Chapter 12: Nonresident Vehicles

12.055 Evidence of Ownership

Nonresident Title—The original nonresident title is required to register and title a nonresident vehicle in California. A replacement title showing the current license number and the registered owner’s name may be used in applications for nontitle (goldenrod) registration only.

Non-Title State—In general, other states issue titles on most motor vehicles and trailers. However, titles may not be issued for some older vehicles and/or certain trailers. Example: Connecticut does not require issuance of a Connecticut title on vehicles manufactured prior to 1981. Ownership is transferred using a Connecticut Supplemental Assignment of Ownership (CT DMV form Q-1) form and a copy of the Connecticut registration.

Notarization Requirements—The signatures on a nonresident title or a nonresident certificate of origin are not required to be notarized, even if the nonresident title contains provisions for notarization upon transfer. Accept the nonresident owner’s signature on the title or a bill of sale to the new owner.

Title State—Evidence of ownership must be the title, endorsed by the owner to the purchaser, if the vehicle is being transferred. Otherwise, bills of sale must be submitted in lieu of the signature(s) on the title.

The surviving owner of a nonresident vehicle registered to co-owners as Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship may obtain California registration in their name by submitting a death certificate for the deceased owner in addition to the usual nonresident clearance requirements.

Any legal owner/lienholder shown on the REG 343 must be the same as is shown on the nonresident title, unless the application includes one of the following:

  • A lien marked “paid” and countersigned by the legal owner on the out-of-state title.
  • The legal owner’s signature on the legal owner release line of the out-of-state title.
  • A lien satisfied, such as a Lien Satisfied/Legal Holder/Titleholder Release (REG 166) form.
  • The original or a certified copy of the conditional sales contract or security interest, showing the name(s) of the purchaser and lienholder, marked “paid” and countersigned.

If the vehicle was not registered in the applicant’s name before being brought into California, the nonresident title must be:

  • Properly endorsed by the registered and legal owners shown on the title. Bills of sale and a lien satisfied from the legal owner may be accepted in lieu of signatures on the title to establish a complete chain of ownership from the registered owner shown on the out-of-state title to the applicant.
  • Signed by the applicant as purchaser.

Acceptable Evidence of Ownership When a Title Was not Issued—The following must be submitted:

  • A REG 256 from the applicant stating the vehicle is free and clear of any liens other than shown on the application and one of the following:
    • Bill of sale or dealer invoice to the registered owner named on the out-of-state registration that shows no lien against the vehicle and indicates the vehicle was paid in full.
    • The original or certified copy of a conditional sales contract that shows the same lien as shown on the REG 343 or which has been stamped/marked “paid” and countersigned or is cleared by a lien satisfied (a REG 166 is acceptable).
    • Title from a different nonresident jurisdiction or a letter from the nontitle state verifying the title was surrendered to that state unless the out-of-state registration indicates the title was surrendered.
  • Bills of sale to establish a complete chain of ownership from the registered owner shown on the out-of-state registration to the applicant, including any dealers, for a vehicle not registered in the applicant’s name in the other state.

The original or certified copy of a dealer invoice may be substituted for a bill of sale provided it describes the vehicle, gives the name and address of the dealer and the name of the buyer(s), and is either stamped/marked “paid” and countersigned or indicates the same lienholder as shown on the REG 343.

Foreign Country Title Documents—A vehicle previously registered in a foreign country may be registered in California using the foreign title documents.