After you provide your vehicle's details (and perhaps request your Montana temp tag), the next step is providing your vehicle's prior title.


In order to register your vehicle, we need to submit your vehicle’s ownership documents (usually its prior title) to the Montana Motor Vehicles Division (MVD).


In this step, we prepare a pre-paid Fedex or DHL shipping label for you to send the vehicle’s ownership documents to visitor.us for registration.



Assign the prior title

Vehicle ownership is handled by the US states, not the federal government, so each US state has its own vehicle ownership documentation.


This means that there’s not a one-size-fits all process for the process of transferring vehicle ownership from one owner to another, called “title assignment.”


We’ve built this Step-by-Step Title Transfer Guide to help you manage the process.


At a high level, the steps are as follows:


Ownership document(s)

Authentic documents - not scans, photos, copies, or images of documents - are required to transfer a vehicle’s ownership.


Usually, this document is a title issued by a US state.


The ownership document for a new vehicle, which is issued by the manufacturer, not a US state, is called a Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO) or Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO).


A handful of states - notably Vermont - don’t issue titles for vehicles older than a certain age.  (You can find a list of these states and the vehicle ages on our Step-by-Step Title Transfer Guide.)  For these states, the vehicle’s registration document serves as its official ownership document.


Ownership interest release

In order to transfer the vehicle’s title to a new owner, the vehicle’s prior owner (the seller) must release his or her ownership interest in the vehicle by properly signing the vehicle’s title, according to the rules of the state that issued the title.


Most states require the registered owner to print and sign their name in the Seller’s Section of the vehicle’s title.


Notarization

However, a handful of states require the owner’s signature to be notarized, or witnessed and countersigned by a notary public.  (You can find a list of these states on our Step-by-Step Title Transfer Guide.)


Multiple Owners

Unless separated by the word “OR”, all owners listed on the vehicle’s title must sign in order to release ownership interest in the vehicle.


Odometer Disclosure

Sellers of vehicles model year 2011 or newer must attest to the vehicle’s odometer reading at the time of sale.


Lien Release

If any liens (a loan against the vehicle) are recorded on the title, the title must be accompanied by a lien release.


Reassignments

If you buy a vehicle from someone other than the owner listed on the front of the title, all “reassignments” must show a clear chain of ownership between the owner listed on the title and you.


You can more detail on each of the requirements above on our Step-by-Step Title Transfer Guide.


New Registered Owner / Buyer

When all of the requirements above are complete, it’s time to add your details to the buyer’s section of the vehicle’s title.

There are three scenarios at this point:

  • You are present to accept and sign the title and the title is on hand,
  • You are present to accept and sign the title but the title is not on hand, or
  • You are not present to accept and sign the title.

Scenario 1: You are present to accept and sign the title and the title is on hand

Complete the vehicle’s title as follows:

    Name of new registered owner / buyer: Example LLC

    Address of new registered owner / buyer: 544 E Main St. Suite B Bozeman, MT 59715

    Signature of new registered owner / buyer: Example LLC by Your Signature, president

    Date: date of sale

Any further items, such as sale price, driver’s license number, etc. are not required to register your vehicle in Montana.


Scenario 2: You are present to accept and sign the title but the title is not on hand

Vehicle dealers usually keep their vehicles’ titles somewhere offsite, such as in a bank safety deposit box, which they may only access once per week.

If this is the case, instruct the seller to complete the vehicle’s title as follows:

    Name of new registered owner / buyer: Example LLC

    Address of new registered owner / buyer: 544 E Main St. Suite B Bozeman, MT 59715

visitor.us will sign the title on behalf of your LLC via the authorization that we captured in the Provide your vehicle's details step.


Scenario 3: You are not present to accept and sign the title

Sometimes, it’s not possible for you, the seller, and the vehicle’s title to be in the same place at the same time.


If this is the case, instruct the seller to complete the vehicle’s title as follows:


    Name of new registered owner / buyer: Example LLC

    Address of new registered owner / buyer: 544 E Main St. Suite B Bozeman, MT 59715

visitor.us will sign the title on behalf of your LLC as via the authorization that we captured in the Vehicle Details step.

Because signed, authentic ownership documents are required to transfer a vehicle’s ownership, and cross-outs, white-outs, and write-overs void ownership documents, your ownership document is secure in transit.  If it is intercepted, your vehicle can only be transferred to the name listed as the vehicle’s new registered owner.


Send the prior title

In the visitor.us dashboard, you’ll be prompted to provide a shipment address.


This address will only be used to populate the “From” address of the prior title shipment.


This address will not be used to send your license plates, registration, and title.  We recognize that you might be on the road when these items become available - so we’ll ask for a “To” address to send your items to when they are ready.

Important: Please provide an address in the country from which the prior title will be shipped.  If you provide a US address, and attempt to ship your vehicle’s ownership documents from France, for example, your shipment will likely be lost forever.


The address that you provide does not need to be the precise location from which the shipment will be sent - somewhere within the same state or province is fine.


visitor.us receives and reviews prior title

When your vehicle’s ownership documents arrive at visitor.us’ office, we’ll scan and upload them to the visitor.us dashboard and you’ll receive an email notification.


We will review your documents, and notify you if any further action is required.


Please note that the timeline to register a vehicle can be very short.  The longest part of the registration timeline involves receiving the vehicle’s prior title (or other ownership documents) and addressing any potential issues.  Your help in carefully following the Step-by-Step Title Transfer Guide will help keep this timeline as short as possible.


After reviewing your documents, we will provide a estimate for when we expect to register your vehicle and obtain your license plates, registration, and title.


The next step is Registration, License Plates, and Title.