How to Get a Clean Title in NY After Paying Off a Lien

When you finance a car purchase in New York state, the lending institution is listed on the car title. The lender is the lien holder, with the auto loan being the lien. When you pay off your auto loan, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles does not automatically send you a new title with the lien removed. Instead, it is your responsibility to get a new title after paying off a lien in New York.

Request proof of paying off the lien, called a “lien release,” from the financial institution if you do not automatically receive the release after satisfying the lien. Once you have paid off the auto loan, call the customer service number for the lien holder and request the documentation. You are required to have this to get the clean title.

Call the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles to confirm the current fee for removing a lien and getting a clear title. At the time of publication, this fee is $20. Call center hours for the DMV are weekdays from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The phone number is 212-645-5550.

Send the lien release, a check or money order for the fee and your original title certificate to the New York State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles at the attention of the Title Bureau. The mailing address is 6 Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12228-0322. You cannot send photocopies. Once you send everything in, you will get the clear title sent to your mailing address listed on the original title. If you have a new address, you must enclose proof of the new address, such as a copy of your current registration or a copy of a utility bill with the new address on it.