Auto Title Information

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To apply for an electronic title online via the Ohio Title Portal or to learn more about this service please visit this Ohio BMV page.


  • Certificate of Title: $15
  • Duplicate Title: $15
  • Replacement Title: $15
  • Notation of Lien: $15
  • Memorandum of Title: $5
  • Title, Lien, Memorandum: $15 if done as one transaction
  • Note: These fees do not include late fees, sales tax, or notary fees

Please Note: This information is for general use. It is not intended nor should it be considered "legal advice." Questions concerning the Titling Laws of Ohio should be referred to your legal advisor.

When You Buy a Motor Vehicle or Watercraft

Your certificate of title is your proof of ownership, so keep it in a safe place. Alterations or erasures on a title will void the document, and a replacement title will have to be obtained. No part of the assignment (top portion) or application (bottom portion) on the reverse side of the title should be filled in until you are in the presence of a notary public or other duly authorized personnel with the power to administer oaths. All signatures must be notarized. For your protection, always make a physical inspection of any automobile you purchase and check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to see that it corresponds with the VIN on your certificate of title. Certificates of title may be obtained in any Clerk of Court's Title office in Ohio.

BMV online certificate of title search page

Boats 14 feet or more in length and outboard motors or personal watercraft of 10 horsepower or greater must be titled under Ohio law. Since 2002, Ohio law has required all watercraft to have a 12-digit hull identification number (HIN) before the watercraft can be titled. As above, you should verify that the HIN or serial number on the watercraft corresponds to that on the title.

Late Filing Fee

Ohio Revised Code section 4505.09 requires the Title office to assess an additional $5 late fee if a new certificate of title is not obtained within 30 days from the date of assignment.

When You Sell a Motor Vehicle or Watercraft

Do not complete the assignment on the reverse side of the title until a legitimate sale has been made. The buyer's full name, address, the purchase price of the vehicle, and the mileage must be provided in the appropriate spaces before you sign the assignment. Again, all signatures must be affirmed or sworn to in the presence of a notary public or other duly authorized person with power to administer oaths. Initials are not acceptable.

Power of Attorney

No person may sign on another person's behalf without a properly executed and notarized power of attorney form. These forms are available on this page. If you are using a power of attorney to transfer a title, bring the original form with you to the Title office.

Payment of Ohio Sales Tax

Section 4505.06 of the Ohio Revised Code requires that Ohio sales tax must be collected and paid to the Clerk of Courts before an application for a motor vehicle or watercraft title can be accepted. The Clerk has been designated to collect this tax on behalf of the state. We accept cash, personal check, cashier's checks, Visa, and MasterCard.

Federal Odometer Law

Federal and state laws require a completed odometer disclosure statement from the seller of a motor vehicle. This information can be completed on the reverse side of a certificate of title. Odometer statements are not required for watercraft, manufactured homes, All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), off-road motorcycles, or vehicles over 16,000 pounds.

Duplicate Titles

If the original title is lost, stolen, or destroyed, you may obtain a duplicate certificate of title. If the original title is recovered after issuance of the duplicate, the original must be returned to the Title office for cancellation.

Car Loans

If you apply for a loan using your car as collateral, always insist upon getting a memorandum title with which you can obtain your license plates, if applicable. Upon satisfaction of your loan, you may receive the original title from the lending institution with a notation "lien canceled" by the Clerk of Courts. Contact your lender if you do not receive a title or a letter explaining how to obtain the title once you have paid off the loan.

If the lien has not been marked as canceled, please bring your title to the Title office for cancellation of the lien with your evidence that the loan has been paid in full. If your lender opted to electronically title the vehicle, you must apply to the Title office for a physical certification of title before you can transfer ownership of the car, unless you trade it in to an automobile dealer.

Memorandum Certificate of Title

You cannot transfer ownership of a motor vehicle with a memorandum certificate of title. It is issued only for the purpose of obtaining license plates or registering the vehicle when the original title is in possession of the lienholder.

Change of Name

If your name is changed through marriage or court proceedings, the name of your title may not be changed. There is no authority in the law to issue a new title for the reason of a name change of the current owner. Your new name may be listed on a title only upon a transfer of vehicle ownership.

Surviving Spouse Affidavit for Motor Vehicles & Watercraft

A decedent's surviving spouse may take title to one or more vehicles (automobiles, motorcycles, pick-up trucks up to one ton in weight) with a total appraised value not to exceed $65,000 by providing an affidavit stating the date of death, a description of the motor vehicle(s), and the approximate value(s). If you have the decedent's title(s), those may also be provided to the Clerk.

Surviving spouse affidavits are available on this page. This transfer is subject to any outstanding liens upon the motor vehicles. A surviving spouse may also elect to take title to 1 boat and 1 outboard motor.

For more information on estate planning and topics such as surviving spouse affidavits, transfer-on-death titles, and title ownership with rights of survivorship please download this short presentation: Surviving Spouse - Transfer on Death - Rights of Survivorship Presentation (PDF)

Purchasing & Titling an Out-of-State Vehicle

All vehicles except watercraft or mobile homes previously registered in another state must be accompanied by a physical inspection certificate verifying the make, body type, model, and manufacturer's serial number of the motor vehicle for which an Ohio title is desired. Inspection certificates can be obtained at any license bureau and at various inspection stations located throughout the state. Call the Title office for an inspection station located near you.

The seller of an out-of-state vehicle must assign his title to you. If the car is registered in a non-title state, the seller's certificate of registration and a notarized bill of sale are required.

Motor Homes, Mobile or Manufactured Homes, Travel Trailers, & Truck Campers

All of these are required by Ohio law to be titled. Before a buyer can obtain title to a mobile or manufactured home, the seller must have the title stamped by the offices of the Treasurer and Auditor in the county where the home is located, indicating that all annual taxes have been paid prior to the sale.

Commercial Trailers

A certificate of title is not required for any utility or commercial trailer weighing 4,000 pounds or less. To obtain license plates, you must procure a weight card from the license bureau and have the trailer weighed. Commercial trailers or semi-trailers weighing in excess of 4,000 pounds must have a title. To sell, transfer, or mortgage such trailers the certificate of title must be presented.

Body Type Change

If the body type of the vehicle is changed in any manner, and no longer matches the vehicle described on your title, please present the certificate of title to the Title office so a body type can be updated.

Salvage Vehicles

When you dismantle, destroy, or change your automobile such that it loses its character as a motor vehicle, you must surrender your certificate of title to the Clerk for cancellation pursuant to Ohio Revised Code section 4505.11. If you sell the car to a salvage dealer, you must surrender your title to that dealer with the assignment on the reverse side of the title completed executed. If the car is totaled and you make arrangements with your insurer to keep the vehicle, you should obtain a salvage title. To convert a salvage title to a regular certificate of title, the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) must first inspect the rebuilt vehicle at one of its inspection facilities. For more information, please visit OSHP's website. After the inspection, bring your title and inspection certificate to the Title office for a rebuilt salvage vehicle title.

Buying a Boat or Outboard Motor

Before purchasing a boat or outboard motor that is subject to Ohio titling requirements, be sure the seller has obtained a certificate of title. The seller is also required to assign the Ohio Watercraft Registration card to you. Canoes and kayaks are exempt from Ohio's certificate of title law.

Transfer of Title

A new title in your name will be issued to you by the Title office upon presentation of your application, which is on the reverse side (bottom) of the existing title. The seller's signature must be notarized on the assignment portion (top) of the title and show your name as the buyer.


A certificate of title to your automobile or watercraft is similar to a deed to your real property. Do not carry it on your person or keep it in the vehicle. Store it in a safe place with your other important documents. If you have questions about titles and transferring, buying or selling a vehicle or watercraft, please feel free to call us.