How to Transfer Car Ownership in Illinois

Do you live in Chicago and think of selling your car and taking public transportation instead? Or live in the ‘burbs of Illinois and need a new car to get around? Whenever there’s a change in vehicle ownership, there needs to be an Illinois car title transfer. In this guide, find out how to transfer car ownership in Illinois. 

How to Transfer Car Title in Illinois | Metromile

What is required for an Illinois car title transfer? 

Before you consider getting car insurance in Illinois, you first need to take care of a title transfer. As part of doing a title transfer in Illinois, you’ll need the original vehicle title. The buyer and the seller of the vehicle must sign the title. Include a bill of sale, and an Odometer Disclosure Statement. Buyers will need to complete the Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD 190) and Tax Form RUT-50 must be completed as well as part of vehicle sales among private parties. 

Is emission testing required in Illinois? 

In Illinois, vehicles that run on gas and are from 1996 and later may require an emission test after the vehicles are four years old. This emissions test must be done before registration is updated. You can use this Vehicle Eligibility Check tool and find testing locations here. If you’re selling a vehicle, make sure everything is up-to-date. If you’re buying, you can ask about the emission test status. 

How to transfer car ownership in Illinois 

In order for a vehicle to switch owners, there needs to be a title transfer in Illinois. The steps to do this can vary by situation. Below are several situations where you’ll need to transfer a title in Illinois. 

Selling your car in Illinois 

When you sell your vehicle, you’re changing ownership and need to do a title transfer in Illinois. You must have your title to sign and complete and give to the buyer. Additionally, provide a bill of sale, with the final price and date and an odometer disclosure. To finalize the process, fill out and submit a Seller’s Report of Sale and mail it to:

Secretary of State 

Vehicle Services Department 

Record Inquiry Division 

501 S. Second St., Rm. 408 

Springfield, IL 62756

Remove your license plates before handing over the keys. 

If there’s a missing title 

Your vehicle title illustrates that you’re the rightful owner. If you don’t have the title, you need to get a new one before selling your car. Submit an Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD 190) and check “duplicate title” and pay $50. 

Buying a car from a dealership 

If you end up buying a vehicle in Illinois at a dealership, the dealer will likely handle the title and paperwork on your behalf. Paperwork for your title, taxes, etc. must be sent to the Secretary of State (SOS) within 20 days. 

Buying a vehicle from an individual 

If you buy a car from another individual, make sure you have the vehicle title and both you and the seller sign it. Make sure the VIN is included, plus the mileage on the odometer. 

Once you have the title completed, signed, and dated, you can use the Electronic Registration and Title (ERT) System to fill out an Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD 190). You may need to pay taxes on the vehicle and submit Form RUT-50. Take all associated materials and mail them to:

Secretary of State

Vehicle Services Department

ERT Section, Rm. 424

If Expedited Title, Rm. 629

501 S. Second St.

Springfield, IL. 62756

You have a 20-day period of time to submit the documents and transfer the title in your name. 

Title transfer in Illinois if you have an out-of-state title 

Are you a new Illinois resident? If so, you have 30 days to get an Illinois title and register your car in the state once residency has been established. To do an Illinois car title transfer with an out-of-state title, you’ll need:

  • An Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD-190) 
  • Illinois address 
  • Mileage from odometer 
  • A description of the vehicle, including the year, make and model
  • List of any lienholders, if applicable
  • Owner’s signature
  • Form RUT-25 and pay any applicable taxes 

If the vehicle is leased, you’ll also need:

  • Lease agreement
  • The original out-of-state registration
  • The current out-of-state title
  • The Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO)
  • Bill of sale 

You can submit these documents at a local Secretary of State office or mail them to:

Office of the Secretary of State 

Vehicle Services Department 

014 Howlett Building 

501 S. Second St. 

Springfield, IL 62756-6666 

Title transfer if gifting a car to a family member 

Want to give your old car to your son or daughter or sibling? It’s possible to gift your vehicle to a family member but the car title transfer process remains the same. 

You need to sign the title and give it to your family member. The family member then needs to submit an Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD 190) within 20 days to get the title in their name and must file Form RUT-50 and pay any applicable taxes. 

Transferring a title after the death of an owner 

If the owner of the vehicle passes away, the vehicle may be passed down to an heir. What happens can depend on whether the estate goes through the probate process or not. 


If going through probate, you’ll need:

  • The car title
  • Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD-190) with mileage
  • Certified copies of either the letters of administration or testamentary, which name the representative 
  • Form RUT-50 and any applicable taxes
  • Title fee of $155 

Without probate 

If you avoid the probate process and the estate is less than $100,000 it’s possible to go through the Small Estate Affidavit Procedure. For this, you’ll need:

  • The Small Estate Affidavit 
  • The car title 
  • Copy of the death certificate
  • Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD-190) with mileage
  • Form RUT-50 and any applicable taxes
  • Title fee of $155

If your situation falls outside these two scenarios, you can learn more about what to do here. 

Illinois car title transfer cost 

To get a new title in Illinois the current cost is $155 for a title. A replacement is $50. On top of that, registration fees are $151 for a passenger vehicle. 

The bottom line

Regardless of your situation, if a vehicle is going from one owner to another, you need to figure out how to transfer car ownership in Illinois. Follow the steps above for your situation to complete the title transfer in Illinois and make sure to file paperwork quickly and pay taxes to avoid any issues. Be sure to check the Illinois Secretary of State website for current information at the time of the transfer.

If you need to update your insurance, review if you have enough coverage or if you could find something more cost-effective. Don’t drive that often? Pay-per-mile insurance could be just what you need. Pay less when you drive less. Grab a quote using Metromile today. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.