Buying a Car in Utah From Out of State

The process of buying a car in Utah from out of state will vary depending on the state you’re purchasing from, but transferring an out-of-state title is fairly straightforward.
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
In order to buy a car from out of state in
, you’ll need to transfer the title to Utah. Make sure you get a valid Certificate of Title from the seller, apply for a Utah Title, comply with any
required emissions inspections
, and get the car’s VIN or HIN inspected. You’ll also have to pay your
vehicle sales taxes
at the DMV.

How to buy a car out of state as an Utah resident

If you live in Utah but you just bought a car from another state, you’re probably wondering what you have to do in order to legally
register it in Utah
. Luckily, you wouldn’t be the first Utah resident to buy a car out of state, and the process isn’t too complicated.
If you live in
Salt Lake City
and had to go to
to get the car you wanted, you’ll have to do an out-of-state title transfer to register it in Utah. The best way to get the ball rolling on this is to make sure you do the sale right. When you go to the DMV to do your out-of-state title transfer, you’ll need the following documentation:

Original Certificate of Title

  • Make sure the Vehicle or Hull Identification Number (VIN/HIN) on the vehicle and title match
  • Ensure the seller has correctly signed to release ownership of the vehicle
  • Make sure any liens have been released by the lienholder(s) on the title
  • Make sure the purchase date is correct
If the vehicle is less than 20 years old, make sure to fill out the odometer disclosure section or
Odometer Disclosure (Form TC-891)
If the seller can't provide the original title, they must complete an
Application for Duplicate Utah Title (Form TC-123)
When you’re at the DMV, you’ll have to complete the
Application for Utah Title (Form TC-656)
. Part of the application process is a VIN/HIN inspection to ensure that the identification number is valid and correct.
In some cases, you also might be required to get a safety inspection for a car you purchased out of state. A safety inspection suffices as a VIN/HIN inspection
required by Utah state law
If you live in Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Cache, or Utah county, you may also need an Emissions Inspection Certificate.
This page on the Utah DMV website
has all the info you need regarding whether or not your car needs an emissions inspection.
When you register your car in Utah, you’ll have to pay
registration fees and applicable sales taxes
. Fees depend on a number of factors, and taxes will depend on the city you live in, the vehicle’s sale price, and the sales tax rates in the state you purchased it from.
You may also need to get a temporary permit from a local DMV office in order to drive the vehicle back to Utah after purchasing it, depending on where you buy it from. In other cases, the bill of sale and certificate of title will be sufficient documentation if you’re pulled over by law enforcement.
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How to buy a car in Utah if you live out of state

Okay, so let’s flip it around now. Let’s say you buy a car in Utah, but you live in another state. You’ll have to follow the registration process in your state, but there are a few things to make sure of when buying in Utah specifically:
  • Get a bill of sale (your state might require a notary stamp)
  • Get a title—if it is lost, get the seller to fill out the
    Application for Utah Title (Form TC-656)
  • Get the seller’s current registration certificate and current safety and emission certificates
You’ll need to pay local sales tax in the state where you register the vehicle.

What if I don’t have a physical title?

If the physical title isn’t available, you’ll need to fill out an
Application for Utah Title (Form TC-656)

Tips for buying a vehicle out of state

While buying a car from a different state can be a great move—especially if you’re looking for a model that’s hard to find or can take advantage of lower prices in another state—it does add some complication. Here are some tips to make sure things go smoothly:
  • Get the vehicle history report. This is a key way to make sure you’re not buying a lemon from a private seller.
    is a service that provides vehicle history reports, and it will let you know of any accidents or issues pertinent to the specific car you’re considering purchasing.
  • Get your vehicle inspected at home. Getting your vehicle inspected after buying it from out of state is the way to go, since you might be required to get an inspection done anyway.
  • Remember emissions testing! It’s quite possible your title transfer will also require an emissions test, so you might as well get it done.
  • Research your home state’s vehicle sales tax laws. Remember that you’ll pay taxes in your home state when you register your car, not the state where you buy it.
  • Buy car insurance before you leave the dealership. Don’t drive home without car insurance! It is illegal to drive a car in Utah without insurance that meets the
    Utah state minimum requirements

How to save on car insurance in Utah

Car insurance
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