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How To Get A Vehicle Title In 2023

What is the best way to get a title for a vehicle in 2023? Several times per year, we like to update our clients and readers on the changing landscape of vehicle titles, updates to title laws, and what to expect from the DMV. 

Vehicle title transfer requirements 2023

First, let’s look at what is generally required to transfer a vehicle title using the state of Michigan as an example. To transfer a title, you’ll need the following documents:

  • The original certificate of title signed by all titled owners (photocopies are NOT accepted)
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Lien release letter or letter of non-interest
  • Your driver’s license 

While each state has its own requirements, all states will look for these documents when it’s time to transfer the title. However, oftentimes the original certificate of title is missing and is the whole reason for you to be looking into other title methods. So if you purchase a vehicle and didn’t get a title, the title was lost, or you only have a bill of sale, what do you do?

Vermont loophole 2023

One of the most common methods to get a vehicle title with a bill of sale is to use what’s known as the Vermont loophole, or the Vermont registration process. This method has been around for decades, does it still work in 2023? Technically, yes it’s something that can be done. It’s been used by people all over the country and featured in various automotive publications as a valid method to get a vehicle title. 

How does the Vermont loophole work?

Vermont is a non-titling district for vehicles that are 15 years old or older. Instead, Vermont issues a registration as their version of a title for a vehicle of this age that can be obtained by both residents and non-residents of the state. Once you receive the Vermont registration, you present it to your state’s DMV as proof of ownership and exchange it for a title certificate.

So on the surface, it’s a method to get a title for an older vehicle that lacks proper ownership documentation. However, it may not be the best method to use in all situations.

Cons of the Vermont loophole

So on the surface, it’s a method to get a title for an older vehicle that lacks proper ownership documentation. However, it may not be the best method to use in all situations.

Sales tax

If you use this process, you’ll have to pay sales tax to Vermont based on the value of your vehicle. It’s not based on what you paid for it or what you think it’s worth, it’s based on the NADA book value of the vehicle. And at a 6% sales tax, in many cases, this ends up being many hundreds of dollars being paid to Vermont for sales tax. This cost is in addition to the registration fee from Vermont and any other fees from your state DMV.

State pushback

While this process produces a valid ownership document, some states are starting to push back on allowing it. For example, in Florida, FLHSMV released an official notice to be on the lookout for fraudulent Vermont registrations. While the notice doesn’t outright say they won’t accept a Vermont registration in lieu of an original title certificate, it makes it very clear that the process will be heavily scrutinized to avoid fraudulent applications.


Since this is not a direct path to ownership, the timeline is not always straightforward. If all parts of the application process are done correctly and neatly, it’ll take at least 7-10 business days to get your documents from Vermont. Once that has been received, it can take that long for your home DMV to get an appointment, process the documents, and print you a new title. 

Bonded Title Application

The bonded title process is a very valuable and misunderstood method of title recovery. The bonded title process involves purchasing a surety bond, signing an affidavit, and submitting that to your DMV in exchange for a title. So, what’s so misunderstood about this process?

Cost of the bond

Most states require the surety bond value to be 1.5x the value of the vehicle, many see this as having to pay 1.5x the value of the vehicle to get a title, but that’s not the case. The value of the surety bond should equal 1.5x the value of the vehicle, but you’re only required to pay a fraction of that upfront. Most surety bonds for average-valued vehicles are around $100-$150 to purchase for your title. The remaining amount of the bond is only required to be paid if there is a discrepancy in ownership after the title is issued. So with the cost of the bond and your state’s fees and taxes, this method often is more cost-effective than the Vermont loophole. Additionally, it’s a method that your state will prefer.

Timeline to get a title

A bonded title is a title brand that stays on your vehicle for 2-3 years, depending on your state. Many times this is misunderstood, thinking that it takes 2-3 years to get the title. Once you are issued a bonded title, the title will be labeled “BONDED” for 2-3 years before it is removed for good. A bonded title brand is not a permanent brand, it can eventually be turned into a clean title.

Not all states accept bonded titles

While this is a valuable and widely accepted method of title recovery, not all states accept bonded titles. So if you’re in a state that doesn’t accept bonded titles, and the Vermont loophole isn’t an option for your situation, how do you get a title with limited ownership?

Court-Ordered Title

When all else fails, or your state doesn’t accept bonded titles, a court-ordered title process may be your best option. If the original title has been lost, destroyed, stolen, or never received from the prior owner in the first place, you can go through the court system to have a judge legally declare you the owner of the vehicle. This process bypasses the DMV initially and takes the case straight to the courts. Even if they wanted to, the DMV can’t issue you a title without proper proof of ownership, it’s against government policies. However, the court can do it and a court order can bypass any DMV policies.

Most of the time, if you have all of your ducks in a row, meaning that the vehicle isn’t stolen, there are no liens, no permanent title brands, etc. the court-ordered title process is an extremely valuable and official method of getting a vehicle title without proper ownership proof. The court is here to hear your case and can make the decision to overrule DMV requirements as they see fit. There are 3,611 counties in the US and each of these counties has its own court-ordered title process that can be done to issue a vehicle title. 

So, what’s the best way to get a vehicle title in 2023?

If you’re missing proper proof of ownership, the best way to get a title is through the court-ordered title process. While other methods also work, the court-ordered title process is the most direct and official way to get a new title issued in your name if you’re missing the old title.

Want a professional to do it for you?

For as little as $159 for most processes, we will save you the headache and prepare all of the car title paperwork needed to get you a new title. Simply choose the title recovery method you’d like to use and we’ll get started!

Select your title recovery method:

Order Vermont Title LoopholeOrder Deceased Owner Title TransferOrder Bonded Title ProcessOrder Abandoned Vehicle ProcessOrder Prior Owner ContactOrder Lien Release Request LetterPGlmcmFtZSBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vYXBwLmFjdWl0eXNjaGVkdWxpbmcuY29tL3NjaGVkdWxlLnBocD9vd25lcj0xOTQ4ODEyNiZhcHBvaW50bWVudFR5cGU9MjMwNjY0MTAiIHRpdGxlPSJTY2hlZHVsZSBBcHBvaW50bWVudCIgd2lkdGg9IjEwMCUiIGhlaWdodD0iODAwIiBmcmFtZUJvcmRlcj0iMCI+PC9pZnJhbWU+PHNjcmlwdCBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vZW1iZWQuYWN1aXR5c2NoZWR1bGluZy5jb20vanMvZW1iZWQuanMiIHR5cGU9InRleHQvamF2YXNjcmlwdCI+PC9zY3JpcHQ+

Have Title Questions? Talk to a Car Title Expert.

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Don’t let uncertainty hold you back. If it’s your car, you deserve a title.

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