The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) is designed to assist, and provide benefits to states, particularly state motor vehicle titling information agencies. Depending upon state implementation, NMVTIS:
- Provides states with a mechanism to instantly check all state vehicle title record systems to verify the accuracy and legitimacy of title information. This 50-state instant search protects states from crime and saves agencies processing time. Unlike information available from private vehicle history databases, NMVTIS data is based on federal legal requirements and therefore reduces risk to a searching agency because of its completeness and accuracy.
- Provides a secure communication link among state motor vehicle titling agencies, allowing the titling agency to securely check the title information of the current state of title and subsequently to securely notify that state of the vehicle's new location and the issuance of a new title.
- Provides states with access to other state's actual title of record, including restricted information only available to state motor vehicle titling agencies. This allows and supports automation of state-to-state title transactions. In these cases, the verification and the title transaction can be conducted in the same place at the same time, as opposed to having to check a private vehicle history database and then undertake a manual state-to-state title transaction.
- Provides, as an unrequired benefit, access to title transactions conducted by a state, without additional fees. Although NMVTIS is required only for use in titling vehicles from out of state, the system also helps protect states from any fraudulent title documentation and allows them another opportunity to verify a vehicle's history.
- Provides states with access to insurance, junk, and salvage information reported on vehicles that they may be titling or have already titled.
- Provides an opportunity to boost revenues for state motor vehicle title administration agencies by encouraging consumers to request additional full state records directly from the state.
*States are encouraged to review the final NMVTIS regulations to understand the legal requirements of compliance.
All states must be fully compliant as required by the Act and its regulations by January 1, 2010. However, for purposes of continuity and to ensure that there is no degradation of services currently provided by NMVTIS, the regulations require all states to maintain at least the level of compliance (data provision, title verifications, remitting fees) that they had established as of January 1, 2009 for the remainder of that calendar year and until the full compliance date for all states arrives on January 1, 2010.
The Anti-Car Theft Act and its implementing regulations require states to verify titles, report data, and pay user fees.
Each state is required to perform an instant title verification check before issuing a certificate of title for a vehicle that an individual or entity is bringing into the state. Because several states are “central issue” states--where titles are produced at a central location after an application for title has been made, "instant" means at any point before a permanent title is issued. The purpose of the verification check is to:
- Determine the validity and status of a document purporting to be a certification of title;
- Determine whether the automobile has been a junk or salvage vehicle or has been reported as such;
- Compare and verify the odometer information presented with what has been reported previously for that vehicle to the system; and
- Determine the validity of other information presented (e.g., lien-holder status).
While the laws of the receiving state will determine the status of the vehicle (e.g., branding or title type), the information in NMVTIS should be used to identify inconsistencies, errors, or other issues, so that entities and individuals may pursue state procedures and policies for their resolution. Because NMVTIS can prevent many types of fraud in addition to simple brand washing, states are encouraged to use NMVTIS whenever possible for verification of all transactions, including in-state title transactions, dealer reassignments, lender and dealer verifications, updates, corrections, and other types of title transactions. This business process is made possible through the integrated, online method of state compliance and is strongly encouraged by law enforcement, consumer protection groups, and private sector entities.
States are also required to make selected titling information that they maintain available for use in NMVTIS. Specifically, states must report:
- An automobile's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN);
- Any description of the automobile on the certificate of title, including all brand information;
- The name of the individual or entity to whom the title certificate was issued (for law enforcement and state motor vehicle agencies ONLY); and
- Information from junk or salvage yard operators or insurance carriers regarding their acquisition of junk automobiles or salvage automobiles, if this information is being collected by the state.
The Anti-Car Theft Act also requires that the NMVTIS operator make available the odometer reading that is disclosed pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 32705 on the date that the certificate of title was issued and any later mileage information, if available. States shall provide information on new titles and any updated title information to NMVTIS at least once every 24 hours.
Remitting User Fees
States are required to pay user fees established by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the system operator, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). AAMVA, with state approval, has established a system of user fees for the states that is based on the number of vehicles titled in each state and, using a tier-based system, bills each state biennially for such fees. Because of extensive state use of NMVTIS (over 45 million title transactions were conducted by states in 2007), states are not charged fess based on their number of transactions in the system, lest that would discourage use of the system. Any federal funds received must offset user fees and, should revenue from other system services reach a sufficient level, state user fees may be offset or possibly eliminated. This provision, in conjunction with other aspects of NMVTIS administration, is designed to offset any negative financial impact on states caused by the system.
Neither the Anti-Car Theft Act nor its implementing regulations require states to change the way they handle vehicle branding or other titling decisions. Although NMVTIS will include insurance, junk, and salvage data, and states will have unlimited access to such data, states are not required to take any action based on that data. The data is available to states for their benefit and to facilitate the states' own titling processes. For example, if a state identifies through NMVTIS that a vehicle being presented for titling (using a clean title) has a history of being in the possession of an insurance carrier, that state is not required to take any specific action. However, DOJ recommends that a state in this situation take the necessary steps to ensure the legitimacy of the title document and to fully verify the true history of the vehicle before issuing a new title.
States currently have two options for reporting data to NMVTIS:
- States with fully integrated or online access to NMVTIS have their title transaction updates sent to NMVTIS in real time, as they occur. Additionally, these states receive real-time updates through NMVTIS when a vehicle from their state is retitled in another compliant state.
- States without integrated access to NMVTIS can provide data to NMVTIS in batch mode. Batch mode is essentially a secure FTP process that allows a state to upload its data to NMVTIS on a daily basis.
States will have two options for making title verifications:
- States with full online or integrated access can make inquiries as a part of their title transactions. When a VIN is entered into a state's resident system, it automatically searches NMVTIS at the same time it performs other processes.
- States without online or integrated access can make verifications through NMVTIS standalone access, a web-based secure portal designed to allow states to make verifications using the internet. AAMVA has yet to develop a standalone access modification that allows central issue states to make verifications on multiple titles simultaneously.
For more information on these methods of NMVTIS interface, please contact AAMVA.
States are required to pay user fees approved by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and assessed by the system operator, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). AAMVA, with state approval, has established a system of user fees for the states that is based on the number of vehicles titled in each state and, using a tier-based system, bills each state biennially for such fees. Because of extensive state use of NMVTIS (over 45 million title transactions were conducted by states in 2007), states are not charged fess based on their number of transactions in the system, lest that would discourage use of the system. Any federal funds received must offset user fees and, should revenue from other system services reach a sufficient level, state user fees may be offset or possibly eliminated. This provision, in conjunction with other aspects of NMVTIS administration, is designed to offset any negative financial impact on states caused by the system. To view the state fees currently in place, go to www.aamva.org/Network-Services/.
The NMVTIS regulations authorize that, should sufficient revenues be generated through NMVTIS consumer access, state fees may be offset or eliminated entirely.
Since DOJ became responsible for NMVTIS in 1997, nearly $33 million in federal funding has been provided to states and the operator of the system, AAMVA, to make the system operational. In fiscal years 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 DOJ's Bureau of Justice Assistance issued competitive funding solicitations, offering states the ability to apply for direct funding to facilitate their compliance with NMVTIS. Although DOJ has never received a dedicated appropriation for NMVTIS specifically, DOJ has made other appropriated funds available to support this program.
In fiscal years 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 the below states requested and received federal funding (through DOJ or through AAMVA) to facilitate their compliance with NMVTIS:
National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) Participation Program (FY 2010 Competitive Grant Announcement)
*Official and complete legal requirements can be found in the NMVTIS regulations.