First Time or Out-of-State Title and Registration

A person who purchases a vehicle or brings a vehicle from another state is required to title the vehicle(s) within 15 days. If the owner of a motor vehicle does not reside in Kentucky, the vehicle shall be registered with the County Clerk of the county in which the motor vehicle is principally operated (KRS 186.020).

New residents titling vehicles in Kentucky must present the current out of state title. In some states, if the money were borrowed to purchase the vehicle, the lien holder would keep the title. In those cases, the County Clerk's office must contact the lien holder and have the title sent directly to the County Clerk. Information concerning the lien holder must be submitted to the Clerk. While waiting for the title to be sent, a temporary (30 day) license plate may be issued. The owner must provide proof of insurance and current out of state registration before the temporary "tag" may be issued.

The following documents & information are required:

  • Out of state title--a photocopy is not acceptable.
  • If purchasing from out of state dealer or individual, assignment portion of title must be properly completed.
  • Proof of sales tax paid in another state. A credit equal to the amount paid in the other state will be applied to amount owed in Kentucky. The proof must identify taxpayer, type of tax paid, dollar amount paid and serial number of vehicle.

The following types of proof are acceptable:

  • Tax shown on certificate of title
  • Dealer purchase contract
  • Financing statement from lender
  • Receipt or letter from tax agency

If proof of sales tax paid is not available, presumed credit can be given on vehicles that are being titled in the same name. The owner must show proof of current registration from the other state. The credit is the same percentage charged in the other state and is applied toward the amount owed in Kentucky, which is 6% of the current trade-in value as listed in the NADA (National Auto Dealers Assoc.) Official Used Car Guide.

  • Application for title/registration (VTR form #TC96-182) must be completed, signed by all registered owners and notarized. Persons that have power of attorney for the owner(s) may sign, but a copy of the power of attorney must be submitted with the application. If County Clerk staff notarizes signatures, identification must be presented.
    Note: Titles that contain AND (instead of OR) between the names of owners requires the signature of all owners.
  • Certified Sheriff's inspection of serial number (Sheriff's inspection section is on the application for title/registration VTR form #TC96-182. The Sheriff will not do the inspection until the VTR is signed and notarized.)
  • Proof of insurance on the vehicle being titled and registered
  • Social Security Number of each individual listed on title or Federal ID number for companies.
  • Title Lien Statement, if applicable.