Is your second-hand vehicle already registered in your name? If not, you have to transfer car ownership immediately.
Updating your vehicle’s ownership records with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is among the first things to accomplish after purchasing a used unit. Generally, you can’t drive a car or motorcycle in the Philippines if it’s not under your name.
Here’s everything you must know about how to transfer name of car ownership in the Philippines.
How to Transfer Car Ownership in the Philippines
1. Get a Clearance from the PNP-HPG
Photo from HPG Motor Vehicle Clearance Satellite Station Facebook page
What is Motor Vehicle Clearance Certificate?
A Motor Vehicle Clearance Certificate is an official document certifying that the vehicle is not in the list of wanted or stolen vehicles as of the issue date. The Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) issues this certification.
A PNP-HPG clearance is an important requirement for the transfer of ownership. It’s your proof to the authorities that the second-hand vehicle you’re using has neither been carnapped nor used in a crime.
To confirm that, the PNP-HPG will inspect your car or motorcycle. Also, a representative from the HPG will verify your engine and chassis numbers through a process called stenciling or macro-etching. This verification uses a paint remover to check that the numbers are valid and are not tampered with.
Where Can I Get a PNP-HPG MV Clearance Certificate?
You can apply for a motor vehicle clearance at any PNP-HPG motor vehicle clearance satellite station. The office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (no noon break), Mondays to Fridays.
A few PNP-HPG satellite stations are located within the premises of LTO offices, which makes completing your transfer of ownership a bit more convenient.
However, if you can easily access the PNP-HPG main headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, it’s better to apply for the MV clearance there. All LTO offices nationwide accepts the certificate issued at Camp Crame. If you secure the PNP-HPG clearance from a satellite station, you can only submit the certificate to the LTO branch in the same area of jurisdiction.
PNP-HPG Requirements for Motor Vehicle Clearance Certificate
The PNP-HPG requires motorists to submit an original copy and photocopy of the following documents for transfer car ownership.
General requirements for MV Clearance:
Accomplished PNP Motor Vehicle Clearance Application Form
Notarized Deed of Sale or Writ of Execution from court authorizing the transfer
Two valid IDs of the original owner and the new owner (with photocopies attached to the Deed of Sale)
LTO Certificate of Registration (CR) and Official Receipt (OR)
Tax identification number (TIN) of the vehicle seller and buyer
Macro-Etching Certificate (See template here.)
Additional requirements for MV Clearance:
Mortgaged vehicles: Cancellation/Release/Assumption of Chattel Mortgage (from the Registry of Deeds)
For Vehicles acquired from a company/corporation: Secretary’s Certificate
Vehicles from an insurance company: Certification that the vehicle was not declared a total loss/wrecked prior to sale (from the insurance company)
And for vehicles sold through a representative: Special power of attorney
How to Get a Vehicle Clearance Certificate
Drive to the nearest PNP-HPG MV Clearance Division.
Submit the original and photocopy of the requirements at Window 1 or Receiving Station.
The officer will review your documents. Once approved, an order of payment form will be issued to you.
Go to the nearest LANDBANK branch to pay for the clearance fee of PHP 300. Have the payment slip photocopied.
Return to the HPG office and present the validated payment slip from the bank.
Fill out the MVC application form and action slip that will be handed to you by the police officer.
Proceed to the PNP Crime Laboratory or Motor Vehicle Inspection Area for the physical inspection macro-etching examination of your vehicle.
An official will take your photo together with your car or motorcycle and license plate.
Receive your claim stub, which indicates the date when you can get your MV Clearance Certificate. Clearance processing usually takes three working days.
Claim your vehicle clearance. Visit the PNP-HPG MV Clearance Division where you applied for the clearance and present your claim stub at the Releasing Section.
Tips When Getting a Clearance from the HPG:
Instead of paying manually at the bank, you can pay for the MV clearance fee online via the LANDBANK Electronic Payment Portal (EPP). Select the Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group as the merchant name and Transfer of Ownership as the transaction type.
If the vehicle is registered at the LTO main office (meaning the mother file of the registration is at the East Avenue branch), you need to secure a certified true copy of the requirements at the LTO main before applying for the PNP vehicle clearance. This additional step is required by the PNP HPG.
How Long is the Validity of MV Clearance Certificate?
The Motor Vehicle Clearance Certificate is valid for seven working days only. Since it’s one of the LTO requirements for the transfer of ownership, make sure to file your application at the LTO before your PNP clearance expires.
2. Prepare the LTO Requirements for Transfer of Ownership
Before you start your transfer of ownership application, make sure your supporting documents are complete to avoid going back and forth to the LTO office and other concerned agencies.
LTO Transfer of Ownership Requirements for Private Cars and Motorcycles
Prepare the original copy and photocopy of the following documents:
LTO Requirements for Transfer of Ownership
Where to Get the Document
Motor Vehicle Clearance Certificate, macro-etching report, and special bank receipt
PNP-HPG MV Clearance Division
Accomplished Motor Vehicle Inspection Report (MVIR)
Motor Vehicle Inspection Center (MVIC) at the LTO District Office/Extension Office
Insurance Certificate of Cover (COC) / Endorsement of insurance proving that the vehicle has an existing CTPL coverage
Any Insurance Commission-accredited insurance company
Certificate of Emission Compliance (CEC), if with renewal
Any Private Emission Testing Center (PETC)
Photocopy of valid IDs of the original owner and the new owner
Issued by any government agency
LTO Certificate of Registration (CR) or Certificate of Registration Encumbered (CRE)
Original vehicle owner
Notarized Deed of Sale/Transfer/Conveyance
Original vehicle owner
3. Apply for LTO Transfer of Ownership
Instagram photo by @libethquinones
Once you have all the requirements for the transfer of ownership, you can now file a request at the LTO branch where the car or motorcycle is originally registered. If the mother file of the CR is at the LTO main office in East Ave., Quezon City, you can transfer the car registration at any LTO branch.
LTO Transfer of Ownership Procedure
Here are the steps to take for your transfer of ownership application:
Bring your car or motorcycle to the appropriate LTO office.
Proceed to one of the transaction counters and submit all the requirements for the transfer of ownership for evaluation and computation of fees.
An authorized inspector will inspect your vehicle and conduct emissions testing.
Proceed to the cashier, pay for the fees (total: PHP 229.06 to PHP 379.06), and receive your official receipt.
When a representativ, proceed to the Releasing Counter. Present your OR and receive your Certificate of Registration, plates, and stickers.
Transfer of Ownership FAQs
1. Who should apply for the change of ownership?
No law specifically mandates who should request the transfer of ownership. Either the original owner or new owner may do it.
The Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act (Republic Act 11235) requires original or new motorcycle owners to complete the transfer of ownership within five calendar days. Also, the owners need to report the motorcycle sale to the LTO within three calendar days. This involves submitting a notarized Deed of Sale to the LTO office where the latest CR was issued.
But in most cases, the new owner handles the transfer of car ownership and coordinates with the previous owner to secure some of the required documents such as the valid ID, Deed of Sale, and CR.
No need for the previous owner to apply personally together with the new owner at the LTO for car ownership transfer.
2. How much does it cost to transfer car ownership in the Philippines?
For changing car registration to your name, expect to spend a total of PHP 529.06 to PHP 679.06 for the different fees charged by the PNP-HPG and LTO. Beware of scammers who try to charge you a lot higher than that range.
Here’s the breakdown of car ownership transfer costs. This also applies to the transfer of motorcycle ownership.
Transfer of Ownership Fees
Motor Vehicle Clearance processing fee
PHP 300 (PHP 100 transfer of ownership fee + PHP 200 physical inspection fee)
Legal Research Fund
Penalty fee for late application (charged only if the deed of sale exceeds 30 days)
PHP 529.06 to PHP 679.06
3. The original certificate of registration is lost/damaged. What should I do?
The registered owner should secure a notarized affidavit stating that the original CR is lost or damaged. Once the new owner gets a hold of this legal document, an application for duplicate CR/OR can be filed at the originating LTO office (where the mother file of the CR was first issued).
Aside from the affidavit of loss/mutilation, the LTO also requires two valid IDs of the registered car owner and an accomplished MVIR for the duplicate CR/OR application.
Note that it takes a while for the LTO to issue a replacement CR, as it has to verify first the original document. You can apply for transfer of ownership only after receiving the duplicate or replacement CR/OR from the LTO.
4. Can I drive a motorcycle not registered in my name?
In most cases, riding a motorcycle under someone else’s name is not allowed. If you do that, police officers may be suspicious of what you’re using the motorbike for and may not let you pass the checkpoints.
According to the LTO though, riders may present proof that they’re authorized by the registered owner to use the motorcycle. The authorization document should include a description of the vehicle, too.
5. What will happen if I don’t transfer car ownership?
The entire process of updating your car registration will take much of your time and involve a lot of paperwork, but you’ll be in greater trouble if you keep delaying it.
Here are the consequences of failing to transfer the car or motorcycle registration to your name.
You’ll face penalties
The punishment for failure to transfer ownership is hefty for motorcycle owners in the Philippines. Under Republic Act 11235 (better known as the “Doble Plaka” law), it can lead to a fine of PHP 20,000 to PHP 50,000, up to six-year imprisonment, or both.
There’s also a penalty for late application for transfer of ownership. You’ll have to pay an additional PHP 150 if you apply beyond 30 days from when the Deed of Sale was executed.
You will be liable when something happens to the car
If you’re the original owner and the vehicle is still registered in your name, you are then responsible for any accident, traffic violation, or crime the car is involved in—even if you’ve already sold it.
Changing car ownership transfers responsibility from the original owner to the new owner. For your peace of mind, make sure that the car registration is under the name of the new owner.
The seller may cancel the contract
The seller or previous owner of the second-hand vehicle may file for cancellation of the contract of sale if the buyer fails to transfer car ownership. The sale of the vehicle may be canceled due to breach of contract. If that happens, the buyer must return the unit to the seller and even pay damages. The seller will also have to return the payment (minus the depreciation cost) to the buyer.
Getting car insurance could become difficult
If the used car you’re trying to insure is not registered in your name, the insurance company likely won’t approve your application.
Normally, car insurance providers require the car to be registered in the name of the policyholder. It’s because the person who holds the title has what is called “insurable interest”—the motivation to protect the vehicle and keep it in good condition.
Ideally, your car registration and insurance policy are both under your name. This way, you won’t run into problems should you need to make a claim.
As it is, it’s very challenging and time-consuming to transfer car ownership, what with the red tape you have to overcome. The current pandemic makes the situation worse as numerous motorists swarm the PNP-HPG and LTO offices everyday. This further slows down the transaction and processing times.
Thus, it’s important to manage your expectations. You have to be very patient when submitting your request for the transfer of ownership. If you can, ask a lot of questions about the specific requirements and procedure to the authorized personnel, so you won’t have to waste time and effort during your application.
 PNP Motor Vehicle Clearance Application Form (PNP website)
 Sample Request Format of Macro-etching Test (PNP website)
 Accredited Private Emission Testing Centers (DTI website)
 Republic Act 11235 (Official Gazette)
 Riding someone else’s motorcycle? Be ready to prove you’re not a criminal (Philstar.com, June 14, 2020)
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