How to remove a lienholder from a vehicle or boat record

Learn how to remove the lienholder from a vehicle or boat record to get a title in your name.

What is a lienholder?

If you have a loan on your vehicle or boat and the lender (person or company) is listed as the legal owner on the title and registration, the lender is called the lienholder.

When you pay the loan in full, the lienholder usually sends us everything we need to remove their name from your vehicle or boat record. If they don't, you can remove the lienholder by visiting a vehicle licensing office and providing:

If the lienholder is out of business

If the company that held the loan on your vehicle or boat is out of business and you can't find out who took over their business, you may use one of the following options to remove the lienholder from the vehicle or boat record:

Option 1

Petition a Washington State superior court or district court to have us remove the lienholder and issue you a clear title. You'll need to show the court proof that you've paid the lienholder in full. The court order will need to identify your vehicle by year, make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN).

Option 2

If the lienholder is a Washington vehicle or boat dealer, you may file a complaint with us.

If you have foreign ownership documents

If your vehicle or boat is legally owned by a lienholder from outside Washington, you must resolve the issue in that state or country before applying for a Washington Certificate of Ownership (Title).

Need additional help? Here's how to contact us:

call Phone: 360-902-3770
(TTY: Call 711)
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