I currently live in New Jersey and will be moving to New Mexico at the end of the summer. My parents live in Utah and in-laws in Idaho. We will be driving to visit them on our way to New Mexico.

Looking online at used cars in Utah vs. New Mexico, we're thinking we might be more likely to find what we want in Utah. We will only be in Utah for one day though. So we thought maybe we could do the following:

  • Identify a car and have my parents purchase it.
  • Reimburse parents for purchase and pick up car the day we're in Utah
  • Drive to New Mexico.

However, as I started looking at registration and titling, it wasn't so clear to me that this would be possible. My question is, is what I am proposing to do possible on the legal (titling and registration) side of things?

Here is what I understand currently that will make this difficult or impossible, please clear up any misconceptions I have.

  • When I get the car from my parents, they would have to transfer the title to me, and that would have to be done at the DMV (they couldn't just sign the back of the title to transfer it).
  • I would then have to register the car in my name just to be able to drive it to New Mexico.
  • I would also have to get the car added to my insurance, both for insurance sake and because it's required for car registration.
  • Could I even register a car in Utah if I wasn't a Utah resident and my insurance was still based in New Jersey?
  • Does New Mexico require getting a new title on a car when you move into the state? Or would my Utah-based title still be valid?
  • I would then have to register the car in New Mexico and maybe pay taxes on it (though it looks like out-of-state tax paid to purchase the vehicle counts as a credit against New Mexico's MVET). This part seems straightforward, as long as I can get the car to New Mexico.
  • Would New Mexico care that I bought the car in a different state just the day before arriving?

Does any of this change if instead of Utah it happens in Idaho? We're spending more time in Idaho so we also have the advantage of more likely being able to be the ones to purchase the car rather than parents/in-laws.

  • Why can't you just register it when you get to New Mexico?
    – Putvi
    May 18, 2019 at 19:18
  • Utah touches New Mexico. UT auto dealers near NM may have the ability to get the car registered in NM when you buy it. You could give your parents a power of attorney to let them buy it on your behalf. May 18, 2019 at 23:27
  • @Putvi would I be able to legally drive it if it isn't registered yet? May 19, 2019 at 3:28
  • @GerardAshton, it would be purchased much closer to Salt Lake City than the NM border. May 19, 2019 at 3:29
  • See the Utah temporary permit FAQs. It seems likely that the in-transit permit or the 45-day temporary permit issued by the dealer might work. I'd check with a dealer, since they do this stuff every day. May 19, 2019 at 15:30

2 Answers 2


There is a provision for Utah dealers to provide a temporary permit for a sale to a non-resident where the vehicle will be registered in another state. See the "Nonresident Permits" heading.

  • If I'm not buying a permit from a dealer (which if I'm buying the car from my parents I would not, and they may not be either), any provision then from anything you've seen? May 20, 2019 at 16:50
  • New Mexico can issue a temporary permit. I don't know if that can be obtained by mail by your parents between the time they buy the car and the time you arrive. If you go through a Utah dealer, they can probably arrange for you to not pay Utah sales tax, and either pay it to NM through the dealer, or drive to NM on the temporary permit and deal with the NM DMV yourself. If the car is bought from a private party, you would want to figure out how the sales tax will work. May 20, 2019 at 17:03

As long as you follow the instructions on this site you can register it in New Mexico : http://www.mvd.newmexico.gov/register-your-vehicle.aspx#/used

Registering a Used Vehicle for the First Time

The first time you register a used vehicle in your name, you must come into a MVD Field Office. Documents to Bring to the MVD Field Office to Register a Used Vehicle

Certificate of Title – The current outstanding Certificate of Title for the vehicle, with the Assignment of Title section completed on either the front or reverse side, and signed by the former owner of the vehicle.The location of the Assignment of Title section can vary according to the age of the title. The title document has undergone numerous revisions through the years. No copies are accepted.

Odometer Statement – The seller and the buyer must sign a document that shows that they agree on the odometer mileage reading at the time of the sale. Any one of the following documents can be used for this purpose:

Proof of Insurance - In New Mexico, drivers are expected to operate their motor vehicles with a minimum of liability auto insurance. Minimum auto liability insurance amounts required in New Mexico are:

  • Thanks for the info, but this doesn't answer any of the questions I listed. May 19, 2019 at 3:30
  • That is the procedure you follow. What does it not help with?
    – Putvi
    May 20, 2019 at 17:17
  • In my post, I did not have any questions about how to register a car in New Mexico. For me, that is the most straightforward and easy part of the process I propose. It's all the other stuff that my question is focusing on. May 20, 2019 at 21:22
  • Well as far as I could tell all the other stuff is does this change this? Which if you follow the steps to register the car in New Mexico it does not. I don't mean that in a mean way or to say I was ignoring the rest of it, but I just mean that registering a car in New Mexico goes by that no matter what the backstory is.
    – Putvi
    May 20, 2019 at 21:26
  • my primary concern is how to get the car from Utah to New Mexico. How do I get it registered in Utah in only a day? Can I even do that as a non-resident? etc. My only question with regard to registering in New Mexico is, will they care if I bought it in Utah they day before? (your and the other answer seem to say "no") The other questions pertain to getting it there in the first place. May 20, 2019 at 22:35

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