Took the yeller screamer to the DMV today to get a California title issued. For my German friends, it's an equivalent of the Fahrzeugschein, only in Germany it is issued by the federal authority, and in the States, it is issued in each state separately. So if you move from one state to another, you may want to get the document reissued by the state you reside in.
So when you buy a car, and you don't pay for it upfront, the bank (or whoever loaned you the money) gets the title, and only when you pay off the loan, do you get the title.
I paid off the loan I took out to buy the S2000 back last Summer, when the money from the condo sale in NC came through. The bank mailed me the North Carolina title, signed over to me once they got the payment. Because you have to go to a physical Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office and wait in line for a while, I never really got around (speak: always found an excuse to avoid) driving there and getting the title reissued in California.
Now that I had a few weeks off, being between jobs, I finally felt compelled to go and file the paperwork. Months and months after actually receiving the title in the mail.
So I was a little worried that there may be a penalty. I had the car registered in the state of California a couple weeks after I moved, but I did not have the title at the time, and the registration card still showed the bank as the actual owner of the car.
When I got to the DMV, the line was spilling out the entrance and into the parking lot. At the time when I took the picture, there were at least another fourteen people in line behind me.
It took me about a half-hour to get to the front desk, where they issue you your waiting ticket, depending on what issue you came to resolve.
There, I was also told that in addition to the North Carolina title I will need to present my vehicle registration, which I absent-mindedly didn't bring.
There were still 20 people waiting ahead of me according to the large displays showing which numbers were being served at various counters, and so I dashed home to retrieve the registration document.
I got back, narrowly missing my number (by exactly one), and walked up to the front desk where the friendly lady issued me a new one, again, about 20 numbers away from being served.
I sat and waited, and amused myself with chatting and Facebook until my number came up half an hour later.
The lady at the counter looked at my paperwork and sent me to the vehicle verification line. This is where you drive your car up to an area with a person who looks at the VIN (Karosserienummer) in all the different places and verifies on a special form that indeed the car you claim you own is the one that your paperwork describes.
After 20 minutes, it was my turn, but seeing California plates on the car, the lady said I did not need any verification. So I backed out of there, and parked (parking at the DMV is hell, and I had to park on the street and walk), and went back to the counter I was at earlier.
Thankfully, I was instructed to just come back up once done with the verification, so I did, and explained to the lady there that the lady in the verification area won't verify my VIN because I got the car registered in California already.
This caused a formal waterfall of apologies, and my paperwork was promptly processed. I paid the fifteen dollars in fees and was out of there.
The new title is supposed to arrive in the mail in about three weeks. Yayz.