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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.

To find out how to become a member of the Electronic Lien Network, refer to Joining ELP.


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 .

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).

You can find out more about the ELP process by reviewing the ELP Processing Overview

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Additional Information

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