In the State of Rhode Island when buying or selling a vehicle in a private transaction you must complete a Bill of Sale Form. This is important for you and also the buyer, because the Bill of Sale form is needed for titling and registration of the vehicle at the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles.
If the vehicle is 2001 or newer, you must give the new owner your title, signed over on the back of the document. You should sign as “seller” and have the person you are selling it to sign as “buyer”. Make sure you include the vehicle’s current mileage reading.
If you do not have the title, you must apply for a duplicate title at the Cranston DMV location. This process can take up to 90 days, so you should do this as soon as possible. Costs are listed in the DMV Fee Table below.
You must also give the new owner a completed Bill of Sale form. The Bill of Sale should include all the basic information about the car, such as year, make, model, VIN number, color; it must also include the purchase price. You need to sign the Bill of Sale and fill in your address, as the new owner will have to supply that information on the registration application when he registers the car.
If you are buying the car from a dealership, they may offer a service to register and title the car for you.
If you are buying the car from a private party, keep your plates and go to any Rhode Island DMV branch location with proof of insurance, your bill of sale, the title (which must be signed over to you by the previous owner), and the car’s previous registration. You will need to fill out forms to register and title the car and transfer your plates to your recently purchased vehicle.
If the vehicle is 2001 or newer and the title is from another state, the vehicle must have a VIN inspection at your local police department. Call the local police department for days and hours of operation.
To obtain a 5 day temporary plate to bring your vehicle to the police department for a VIN check you would need to bring your bill of sales, title, and proof of insurance, to any Rhode Island DMV office, and a temporary plate will be issued.
If the vehicle is a gift from a relative you need a letter stating both your names and addresses, the relationship and vehicle’s information (year, make, model, and VIN number). If you are also keeping the vehicle’s current plates, he/she must give permission for you to do so in this letter. If the vehicle is 2001 or newer you must have the title to the vehicle, signed over to you by your relative in the ‘transfer by owner’ section on the back of the title. You must also have with you your current RI license and insurance information.
Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles Fee Table.
For more information go to Rhode Island Department of Revenue – Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles.