Removing a Lien in New York

If you financed your car in New York and are still in the process of paying off your car loan, there may be a lien on your vehicle's title. The car won't legally be considered yours until the lien is removed, which you can do through the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) once you've finished making payments on it.

What Is a NY Auto Lien?

A lien is a type of insurance for a property owner or service provider, giving him or her legal recourse should they not receive full payment for what they are selling.

In the case of you're car title, a lien in New York will give the lienholder the right to repossess the car, if you cease making payments or default your auto loan.

New York Lienholders

A lienholder is usually the person or company at financial risk should a loan or service bill go unpaid. On your New York car title, the lienholder is the entity or individual responsible for writing the car loan. In many cases, a lienholder on a car title is a:

In New York, the lienholder's name and address will also appear on the title until the car loan has been satisfied.

Remove a NY Vehicle Title Lien

In order to remove a lien from your New York car title, you must contact your lienholder and have them send you a notice for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles stating that you have satisfied your loan and no longer owe anything. The lienholder can do this in one of two ways:

  • Notice of Recorded Lien (Form MV-901): Provided by the lienholder. If your lender sends this form to you, bring it to your local DMV office.
  • Official lienholder letter: The lienholder can send a letter notifying the New York Department of Motor Vehicles that the loan has been paid off. To be accepted by the NYS DMV, it must:
    • Be written on official letterhead of the lienholder.
    • Have the signature of an official of the company.
      • The signature must be notarized if the official is not a loan officer.
    • Have all of the vehicle information.

After you get one of these documents, you will need to mail it, along with the following items, to the lien release office:

  • The original title certificate.
  • Lien release document.
  • A check or money order for $20 payable to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

Send everything to:

Lien Release
NYSDMV Title Services
Department of Motor Vehicles
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228

You will receive the new title within 45 days of sending in the paperwork.


Notice of Recorded Lien
This form is to be completed by the lienholder when the lien on a vehicle has been satisfied. The DMV will send this form to the lienholder. Not available online.
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