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How to Register a Car in NJ Without a Title

How to Register a Car in NJ Without a Title

Are you trying to register a car in New Jersey, but you lost or never received the original title?

Unfortunately, registering a vehicle in New Jersey does require presenting the car’s title as proof of ownership,

But, thankfully, there is a process for people who don’t have a title.

This process is more complicated, but New Jersey has procedures in place to accommodate these cases, and I will help walk you through those below.

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The Steps to Register a Car in NJ Without a Title

If you don’t have the title, you’ll need to complete what New Jersey calls the “Improper Evidence of Ownership Procedure.” This is a 12 step process to obtain a new title by providing alternative proof of ownership.

The Improper Evidence of Ownership Procedure

The key steps include:

  1. Obtain the Procedure Packet: Download the required forms from the NJ MVC website or request the packet by calling 609-292-6500 ext. 5064.
  2. Provide Proof of Ownership: This could include a bill of sale, previous registration, insurance documents, or other paperwork linking you to the vehicle.
  3. Submit Additional Documents: You’ll need to provide identification, complete vehicle information, and potentially get a vehicle inspection.
  4. Get a Title/Lien Search: Pay the $15 fee for NJ MVC to search their records for any existing titles or liens on the vehicle.
  5. Obtain a Surety Bond: If no existing title is found, you must purchase a surety bond (typically around $200) to protect against future ownership claims. Unlike other states, this bond is purchased directly from that state and not a private company.
  6. Complete Final Forms and Fees: Once all documents are prepared, submit the final application, photos of the vehicle, and pay the $60 title fee.

The full procedure packet has very specific instructions, so be sure to follow them precisely. The process can take several weeks from start to finish.

Additional Requirements

  • If the vehicle is financed or leased, you’ll need lien information and releases from the lender.
  • Vehicles over a certain age may require a vehicle inspection.
  • Out-of-state vehicles have additional requirements to re-title in New Jersey.

Registering an Out-of-State Vehicle Without a Title in NJ

If you are trying to register a vehicle in New Jersey that was previously titled in another state, and you don’t have the actual title document, there will be additional requirements:

  1. Out-of-State Title Search: As part of the Improper Evidence of Ownership procedure, you’ll need to request a title search/record from the previous state the vehicle was titled in. This proves there is no existing active title that could be a lien against the vehicle.
  2. Out-of-State Vehicle Inspection: Vehicles from outside New Jersey that are over a certain age (typically 5 years old or older) will require an inspection by the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission before registration. This is to verify the vehicle identification number (VIN) and ensure it meets safety standards.
  3. Proof of Ownership Documents: In addition to bills of sale or previous registration, you may need to provide further documentation like:
    • Out-of-state title history printout
    • Insurance cards or records from the previous state
    • Maintenance/repair records
  4. Lien Release Requirements: If the vehicle had an outstanding lien in the previous state, you must provide the lien release documentation from that state as part of the application.
  5. Additional Fees: There may be extra fees for vehicles coming from out-of-state, such as higher title fees or registration costs based on the vehicle age/weight.

The key is having all the proper paperwork from the previous state to prove you are the rightful owner and there are no active liens or titles that could prevent registration in New Jersey.It’s a good idea to contact the NJ MVC ahead of time if registering an out-of-state vehicle without a title, as additional documentation may be required based on the specific circumstances. Following their instructions precisely is critical.

When You Might Need to Register Without a Title

Some common scenarios where you may not have the title include:

  • You purchased the vehicle from a private seller who lost the title
  • The title was damaged or destroyed
  • You acquired an older vehicle that is “title exempt” in the state it came from

No matter the reason, New Jersey requires specific steps to prove ownership and get the vehicle properly registered.

Tips for Registering Without a Title

  • Retain all documentation from your purchase, including bills of sale, receipts, etc.
  • If purchasing from a private seller, request the title up front and have the seller initiate a duplicate title if it’s lost.
  • Be prepared for a lengthy process – don’t wait until the last minute if your registration is expiring soon.
  • Consider using a service to handle the paperwork if you want assistance.


While more complicated, it is possible to register a car in New Jersey without the original title. By following the proper procedures and providing sufficient proof of ownership, you can get your vehicle titled and legally registered fairly quickly.

Sources and Citations

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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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