California Electronic Liens & Titles (ELT)

Frequently Asked Questions about ELT in California:

I understand California is requiring participation beginning January 1, 2012. Can you clarify?

Legislation was passed into law on 10/19/2009 saying: "On or before January 1, 2012, the director shall develop an Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) Program, in consultation with lienholders, licensed dealers, and other stakeholders, to require that all lienholders’ title information be held in an electronic format, if the department determines that the program is cost effective compared to the current paper title and registration system." The legislation allows the DMV to set participation requirements. CA DMV has announced that all licensed financial institutions that hold a security interest in a California titled vehicle are required to enroll in the mandatory ELT Program, excluding businesses licensed to engage in the sale of automobiles and/or vessels.

How long does it take to be approved as an ELT participant?

California currently accepts new ELT participants once a quarter. Please contact DDI for deadline information for enrolling in the next quarter.  Generally the deadline is approximately 4 months prior to the go live date. For instance, to go live on the March 31 implementation, the deadline is approximately December 27.

How do I sign up for the ELT program?

You need to complete a form entitled "California DMV ELT Program Application". Find one available on A copy of your federal or state charter/license is required to accompany the form. On receipt of the application, the state will return a contract which requires a signature and then needs to be returned to the state.

How do I switch service providers?

The Lienholder should send a letter on company letterhead stating the desire to change from the old service provider to the new service provider (Decision Dynamics, Inc.). It should be sent to:

CA ELT Program
Attn: Cinnamon Scott
2415 1st Ave MS C383
Sacramento, CA 95818

Does the ELT program apply to all vehicles titled by the DMV (boats, mobile homes)? What class of vehicles are not titled by the DMV?

Cars, boats, mobile homes, and motorcycles are titled. ELT works with all vehicles.

Can ELTs be released using a paper lien release document? If so, does the state send notice?

No, As of September 2016 a customer may not take a REG 227 to a CA DMV branch to release their lien.  Only if the ELT system doesn't allow releasing then the CA DMV will provide instructions on how to obtain a paper title with lien for you to manually release.

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