How to remove a lienholder from a title certificate

PLEASE NOTE: When you sell a vehicle, you do not need to remove a lien from the certificate of title. You can give the original title and the original lien release to the buyer. If you want to get a lien free title, please read below for further instructions.

To remove a lien, you do not need to go to your local DMV. Just mail these items:

  • proof that the lien was satisfied (must be the original - photocopies are not accepted)
  • your current title certificate (must be the original – photocopies not accepted) 
  • check or money order for $20.00 payable to "Commissioner of Motor Vehicles"


Lien Release
NYS DMV Title Services
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY  12228-0331

The DMV will mail your certificate of title (that does not list the lien) in 60 to 90 days.  The title certificate must be mailed to you; a DMV office cannot give you the title certificate.


What are acceptable proof that a lien is satisfied?

There are two acceptable proofs. You can provide the DMV either

  • Notice of Recorded Lien (MV-901). The lienholder can send this to you. An authorized officer of the lienholder must sign the form and indicate that the lien is satisfied.
  • A letter from the lienholder. The lienholder must print the letter on the official letterhead of the loan company, and an authorized officer must sign the letter. The letter must identify the vehicle and indicate that the lien is satisfied. If the lienholder is a person and not a loan company, the letter must be notarized.


Can I transfer a title certificate that has a lien listed?

You can transfer the title certificate and give the new owner the original proof that any lien listed on the title certificate was satisfied. Keep a copy of the proof for your records. When the new owner applies for a registration and title certificate, DMV receives the title certificate and the proof that the lien is satisfied. When the DMV processes the title certificate of the new owner, the lien is removed. If the new owner does not provide the original proof that the lien is satisfied, the lienholder is listed on the title certificate of the new owner.


What if the lienholder has my title certificate?

In many other states, the lienholder keeps the title certificate until the lien is satisfied. The lienholder sends the title certificate to the owner when the lien is satisfied. If your vehicle is registered in NYS and you receive the out-of-state title certificate from the lienholder, send the title certificate to the Title Services Bureau at the address shown above. The DMV will send you a NYS title certificate. There is no fee because you paid the title certificate fee when you registered your vehicle in New York.


My title certificate is lost and I need to remove a lien.  What can I do?

Send an Application for a Duplicate Certificate of Title (PDF) (MV-902) and the original proof that indicates that the lien is satisfied to the address above, or bring them to a DMV office. The DMV processes a duplicate title certificate that does not list the lien and mails the certificate to you. The fee is $20.00. If you request that the DMV remove a lien when you apply for a duplicate title certificate, you can apply by mail or at a DMV office.


See location, instructions and reservation information for your DMV


Is there any other way my lienholder can remove the lien?

If your lienholder has an account with the DMV's Electronic Lien Transfer system (ELT), they can file to remove the lien electronically.  If they electronically file to remove the lien, a new title will not be automatically sent to you.  You will either need to send in your title, proof that the lien was satisfied, and a fee, as mentioned above, or apply for a duplicate title.  For more information about the Electronic Lien Transaction system, please see the Electronic Lien Transfer Program Business User Manual (PDF) (ELT-1).