Vehicle Services


Title Holding

The following is required to obtain an Arizona title, registration and license plate for a vehicle previously titled or registered in another state. This is general information only. Any title and registration action may present special requirements. For additional information, see our Vehicle Services FAQ.

The current regulations for title liens began January 1, 2003. Lienholders hold the title until lien is satisfied. The vehicle owner must hold a valid registration. Some lienholders may clear liens via electronic transmittal.

All title transactions, including new, transfer, duplicate and corrected, that indicate a lien are processed in the usual manner. However, after the transaction is recorded by MVD, the lienholder is responsible for maintaining the title. There are two options available to lienholders.

Option One

MVD or an authorized third-party provider prints the title and mails it to the first lienholder on the title record. Additional lienholders receive the Lienholder Record notification document. A lienholder is required to hold the title until the lien is either paid in full or reassigned. At that time, the lienholder will be responsible for forwarding the title to the vehicle owner or to the next lienholder of record.

Option Two

An electronic lien and title (ELT) is an electronic method by which MVD and authorized lienholders can exchange essential vehicle, lien and title information. This process eliminates the need for printing and mailing individual paper titles. Once the lien has been satisfied, a lienholder sends an electronic message releasing the lien. MVD then forwards the title to the vehicle owner or to the next lienholder of record. This method results in faster service to vehicle owners.

Civil Penalties

A lien is satisfied once a lienholder receives payment in full. Full satisfaction of a lien is met under these conditions:

  • good funds received, or
  • wire transfer complete, or
  • cleared check, or
  • funds debited from account.

Penalties may be assessed to any lienholder who does not surrender a certificate of title (electronic or paper) upon the request of the legal vehicle owner. The title must be delivered within 15 business days of full satisfaction of the lien.

Lienholders found in violation may receive penalties that range from $50 to a maximum of $500 per title.

For more information, please see our Vehicle FAQs.