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Electronic Lien Program

The Electronic Lien Program (ELP) is a paperless method by which the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and a lending institution (lienholder) can exchange vehicle and title information. Instead of printing a paper title and mailing it to the lienholder, DMV Headquarters can transmit essential identifying information electronically. Once the lien has been satisfied, the lienholder sends DMV Headquarters an electronic message releasing the title. DMV Headquarters then prints and mails the title to the vehicle owner.

This process eliminates much of the paper handling involved in the vehicle titling process. Both parties benefit from lower costs of processing, mailing, filing and retrieving paper.


Effective October 1, 2015, all banking and financial institutions that record 50 or more auto liens per calendar year will be required to electronically transmit lien information to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) through an approved service provider.

For more information, see Virginia Electronic Lien Mandate .


The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators Network (AAMVAnet) has developed an ELT (Electronic Lien and Title) application. The Virginia DMV has chosen to use AAMVAnet’s methodology to create its own electronic lien and title process. DMV’s implementation of AAMVAnet’s ELT is accomplished via a batch interface to the Advantis Network electronic mailbox service, called IE (Information Exchange).

The messages produced by the DMV’s ELP process are transmitted into AAMVAnet’s AMIE (AAMVAnet Message Interchange Envelope) format before being sent to the Advantis IE mailbox.

Process Description

Currently, when an application for a new title indicates a lien, DMV provides the lienholder with the titling information on a paper form. This information includes a description of the vehicle, the name and address of the vehicle owner as well as the name and address of the lienholder.

With the Electronic Lien Program (ELP), a lien/title message containing essential identifying information is bundled into an electronic envelope and sent to the lienholder’s electronic mailbox. The lienholder retrieves the messages from the mailbox, sorts and matches them to their files and then stores the information electronically.

When the lien is satisfied, the lienholder sends an electronic message to a DMV mailbox, authorizing release of the title to the vehicle owner. DMV retrieves the message, matches it to its files and then prints the title and mails it to the vehicle owner.

The two DMV mailboxes are:

  1. A normal mailbox for all messages except "emergency" messages. This mailbox is emptied and processed each night, and
  2. An "emergency" mailbox for "distributive printing" (release of the "title print held" condition). This mailbox is emptied and processed on an hourly basis during the hours of 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. EST, or EDST, Monday through Friday (excluding State Holidays).

Processing Overview (Nighttime Batch)

  1. DMV creates a Lien Notification message for each new title establishment that contains a lien issued by an electronic lien program participant.
  2. Outgoing Lien Notification, Confirmation and Error messages are translated into the AMIE format by AAMVAnet software and sent to the lienholder’s IE mailbox.
  3. Participating electronic lienholders retrieve ELT messages from their individual IE mailbox accounts. ELT messages are translated using PC or mainframe versions of AAMVAnet’s translation software.
  4. Lienholders process DMV Lien Notification messages and format a response. Title Print requests and Lien Satisfaction messages are created.
  5. Lienholder responses and requests are translated into the AMIE format by the AAMVAnet translation software and sent to DMV’s IE mailbox.
  6. DMV retrieves all messages from its IE mailbox. Lien Release and Title Print request messages are translated and processed. A confirmation message is created for each message received.
  7. All Confirmation and Error responses to lienholder originated messages are stored for next day transmission to the lienholder’s IE mailbox (see step 2 above).

Process Overview Flowchart


Additional Information