• Buying a car is a stressful enough experience without worrying about what you have to do to drive it legally once you get home. Fortunately Pennsylvania's regulations regarding purchasing out-of-state vehicles aren't overly burdensome or complicated. Just a couple of extra steps and you'll be on your way.

    Florida Purchase

    When you buy a car, the seller must sign the existing title and must write the name and address of the buyer on the title. When you buy a car in Florida, presumably the car is titled in Florida. First look carefully at the title and find the place for the seller's signature and the odometer reading. Both must be present for you to transfer to a Pennsylvania title. The seller will likely go with you to the Florida county tax collector's office to be sure the vehicle title is transferred to your name. At the very least, you will have to pay the title fee which is $85.25. Be sure to get a sales receipt as you will need this later. A sample receipt is on Pennsylvania's DOT website.


    Now that you're back in Pennsylvania, you have to get a Pennsylvania license plate and transfer the title from your Florida title to a Pennsylvania title. Go to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or an authorized PennDOT agent to help you through this process. You must get a VIN Tracing/Verification done to ensure that the car's VIN number matches the title. To do this, get tracing paper and place it on the VIN plate, then apply pressure with a lead pencil and stroke left to right until the image of the VIN can be seen on the tracing paper. This paper must be attached to Form MV-1, "Application for PA Certificate of Title." If you can't find the VIN plate, you must contact a certified inspection mechanic or a notary public in the employ of a dealership, manufacturer or full agent.

    Plates and Fees

    Complete Section G of Form MV-1 to get your license plate and ensure that your vehicle is registered. Before you can get a temporary license plate, you must show proof of insurance to the PennDOT agent. You must pay $22.50 for the title, $5 if there is a lien, $36 for annual registration, and 6 percent of the purchase price or the current market value of the vehicle, unless you live in Allegheny county, in which case it's 7 percent and city of Philadelphia residents pay 8 percent. If the car you bought is used, it must be inspected at an inspection station within 10 days of purchase.


    Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Fee Schedule

    Florida title transfers

    Pennsylvania DOT factsheet

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