Removing a Lien in New Jersey

If you took a loan out on your car and are still in the process of paying for it, there may be a lien on your car title. That means the car is not legally considered your property. In New Jersey, through the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), you can have the lien removed from your car title once your car loan has been paid in full.

What Is an Auto Lien?

A lien is a legal form of financial protection for a property owner or service provider. It offers he or she a type of collateral should they not receive full payment for what they are selling.

In New Jersey, a lien on your car title allows a lienholder to repossess a car, should you default on or cease to make payments towards your auto loan.

Who Is a Lienholder in New Jersey?

A lienholder is the person or company at risk of losing money in the event that a loan or bill goes unpaid. A lienholder on your car title in New Jersey is the business or individual responsible for writing your car loan. Oftentimes, a lienholder on a car title will be a bank, credit union, or other type of lender.

Your lienholder will be in possession of your New Jersey car title until your car loan has been satisfied, and his or her name will also be on the document until that time.

Removing a Lien from a NJ Title

Once you pay off the lien on your motor vehicle, the lienholder will submit the required documentation to the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission.
Proof of lien satisfaction is not needed if the owner has the original NJ title with the lien satisfaction. The lien satisfaction MUST be signed and dated by an authorized representative of the issuing institution.If the owner does not have the NJ title the lienholder will need to provide proof the loan was satisfied with a lien satisfaction letter. 

The letter must include:

  • Name(s) of all owners.
  • The company name, address, phone number.
  • Vehicle VIN number, year and make of vehicle that match the title document.
  • A motor vehicle dealer wire transfer statement. The statement must include the transaction number and been processed by the Title Records Unit
  • An installment agreement which lists the financial institution, owner(s) name, finance details, stamped with the bank's name and date.

Faxed lien releases sent directly from a financial institution to the New Jersey MVC ARE acceptable.

After the MVC processes the lien release, you'll receive:

  • The original vehicle title with a “paid" stamp or signature of release.
  • The title and a letter of release from the lienholder.

Private vs. Corporate Lienholders

In New Jersey, when a lienholder is an individual or a private company (not a bank, credit union, or other financial institution), the lien release must be noted on the original title, as well as in a notarized lien release letter. Lien satisfaction letters must be dated and signed and the title must be stamped with the endorsement “lien satisfied."

Customers are not given titles with liens; these are only given to lienholders.

Getting a “Clean" New Jersey Title

To order a “clean title" with no lien showing, you will need the following:

  • The title showing your satisfied lien OR the title and lien release letter.
  • $60 title transfer fee.

NOTE: If you DID NOT get the title from the lienholder, contact your local New Jersey MVC office for more information.

You can submit the clean title request:

  • In person.
  • By mail to:
    • Motor Vehicle Commission
    • Special Titles Section/Duplicate Titles
    • P.O. Box 146
    • Trenton, NJ 08666

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