Title Transfer Illinois

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If you’re transferring ownership of a vehicle in Illinois, you’ll need to complete a title transfer. You can start the process online but you must visit a Secretary of State facility in person to complete the transfer. The base fee is $150.
Unfortunately, you can’t just hand over the keys when buying or selling a vehicle. You need to make everything official by transferring the title. You may also need to do this if you’re donating or inheriting the vehicle, or if you are registering in Illinois for the first time.
The process usually includes filling out some basic paperwork, visiting the DMV (or using the online portal), and paying a small fee.
Don’t worry, the car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry is sharing everything you need to know about title transfer in Illinois. Follow instructions carefully to ensure you’re compliant with state laws.

What is a title transfer?

A car title is what dictates ownership of the vehicle. So when you transfer the title of a car, you’re transferring its ownership
Transferring a title consists of two steps—one for the seller and one for the buyer:
  • The seller must release ownership of the car by signing the title
  • The buyer must take the signed title to the DMV (Secretary of State facility), where the state will issue a new title and registration
You may need to submit additional paperwork to complete the title transfer process, depending on your situation. This could be a bill of sale, a transfer of ownership form, or an odometer disclosure. Registration will cost extra (more info on that below).

Who does the title transfer?

In a private purchase, the buyer and seller must decide who will complete the title transfer process. The document must be signed by both parties and then filed with the proper body.
If you purchase a car from a dealership, on the other hand, the dealer is responsible for submitting all the paperwork. This convenience is one reason many people prefer to buy via a dealership.
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Reasons for a title transfer

The most common reasons to do a title change are a change of residency or because they are buying or selling a car
You may also need to do a title change in one of the following situations:
  • Donating a vehicle
  • Gifting a vehicle
  • Inheriting a vehicle
  • Paying off a vehicle loan

Car title transfer in Illinois

In Illinois, be sure to submit the title transfer as soon as possible after the change of ownership. Otherwise, you risk being charged with a late-filing fee. But don’t worry, you can easily complete the title transfer process at a Secretary of State office.
Here’s what you need to bring when transferring a title:
  • Application for Vehicle Transaction (VSD 190) - available online
  • Proof of ID and residency
  • The vehicle title, properly assigned (or Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin) with Seller’s signature
  • Bill of sale or proof of payment from the Seller that includes sale price
  • Odometer disclosure from Seller
  • Private Party Vehicle Tax Transaction form (only available at an SOS office)
  • RUT-50 tax form (if applicable)
  • VIN
  • Lien release, if applicable
  • Proof of insurance
  • Fees and taxes 
Note that you are required to register and title your vehicle in Illinois when you establish residency there.
The base fee for a title transfer in Illinois is $150. Once you’ve submitted all required documentation, you can expect to receive the new title within 3 to 4 weeks
One exception is if the transfer is from a deceased owner to a joint owner (someone who was already on the original title). The fee for this is just $15.
Pro Tip Speed up your Illinois title transfer process by starting the forms online at home.

Registering a car in Illinois

After a title transfer, you also need to register your vehicle. Whereas title transfer is about ownership, registration is proof that you can legally drive on the streets. 
Registration is done annually in Illinois. Note that before you can register, you must be able to show an Illinois title and proof of auto insurance that meets the state minimum coverage requirements.
The base registration fee is $101 in Illinois. This is discounted to $24 for seniors. The EV fee is discounted to $35 for a two-year registration. 
Other fees may apply based on the fuel type, license plate type, county of residence, or driving record. 

Finding insurance for your vehicle

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Start by reaching out to your lender. They may need to do the title transfer on your behalf if the vehicle is still financed. Otherwise, they can advise how the transaction should be handled.
The title should have two lines—one for buyers and for sellers. Sign on the appropriate line. If there is more than one person in each party (e.g., two buyers or sellers), both people should add their signature to the relevant line.

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