NH Division of Motor Vehicles
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Title > Apply for a Title

The Certificate of Title is primarily issued to the vehicle owner by the DMV to certify the ownership of a motor vehicle and to record information concerning liens (outstanding charges against the vehicle known at the time of title issuance). The following minimum information is contained on a certificate of title: name and address of owner, vehicle make, vehicle body type, model year, VIN, title number, and lienholder information. If the vehicle owner wants to sell or transfer the vehicle to a new owner, the title provides space to identify the new owner and record the odometer mileage reading at the time of sale or transfer.

The Certificate of Title should be treated as an important document by the owner and should be stored in a secure location, for example, a safe deposit box. For security reasons, the title should not be stored in the vehicle. Titles are more secure than a registration certificate since they are difficult to counterfeit and harder to steal. Remember, both registration certificates and certificates of title are used to establish ownership; however, the certificate of title is the only real evidence of ownership. Note: Canada and Germany do not issue titles; therefore, the registration is used to show ownership.

The title is one of the key documents for maintaining the chain of ownership since it will identify the previous owner and title, specifically by including the previous title number and state of issuance on the title. It will:

  • Provide motor vehicle departments with data about previous owners, and therefore, aid in the searching of registration and titling files to locate previous records.
  • Provide a readily identifiable ownership chain, which would describe the history of the vehicle.
  • Make it more difficult for fraudulent ownership of a vehicle to be obtained.

During the life of a vehicle, only one certificate of title may be legally valid at any one time. In most states, registrations are renewed annually, that is, a new registration certificate is issued each year. However, a new title is only issued whenever the vehicle is sold to a new owner. The new owner must turn in the seller's title to ensure that only one title is in force. The vehicle remains titled until it is destroyed, dismantled or becomes exempt from the title law.

In addition to issuing Certificates of Registration and Title, other uses of vehicle and owner information are as follows:

  • Maintain a record of safety related identifying information for each vehicle.
  • Record the name and address of the owner.
  • Provide for effective anti-theft and stolen vehicle recovery programs.
  • Provide a means for linking vehicle and ownership information for highway and traffic safety studies, research, and accident and injury investigations.
  • To aid law enforcement personnel in obtaining registration and owner information on individuals rapidly.
  • Provide a database of information that can be exchanged between motor vehicle departments in other states.
  • Protect the public in their buying and selling of motor vehicles.
  • Provide a paper trail of odometer disclosure.

New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles | 23 Hazen Drive | Concord, NH 03305
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