Appendix A: Recommended Universal Certificate of Title Specifications and Minimum Features


The size of the Title should be large enough to include odometer information and disclosure statements required by the Truth in Mileage Act of 1986. A title smaller than 7” x 8” generally does not contain sufficient space for this purpose. AAMVA therefore recommends a title size specification range of 7” x 8” as the minimum, and 8-1/2” x 11” as the maximum.

Model Format Fields (Data and Locations)

  1. Name of Jurisdiction: Top, center of form either in or beneath the border.
  2. The words “Certificate of Title”: Top, center of form either in or beneath the border.
  3. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): First line of vehicle data, top portion of the form, left justified
  4. Year: First line of vehicle data, top portion of the form, immediately to the right of “VIN.”
  5. Make: First line of vehicle data, top portion of the form, immediately to the right of “Year.”
  6. Owner(s) Name and Address: Top half of the form beneath vehicle data
  7. Lienholder(s) Name and Address: Lower portion of the form
  8. Lienholder(s) Release: Adjacent, or below appropriate lien information
  9. Brands: Right hand side, last line of vehicle descriptive data under odometer information.
  10. Odometer date, miles, status (i.e., actual, not actual, over mechanical limits): Second to last line of vehicle descriptive data, right hand side, above “Brands.”

Minimum Security Feature Options

All title documents should contain a combination of at least 10 overt and covert security features.

  1. 4#-28# paper: A U-V dull white security paper which is reactive to polar and non-polar solvents, acids, and chemicals commonly used to alter documents. A virgin stock is standard although paper is available which contains 20% post consumer waste.
  2. High resolution geometric design border: A unique high-resolution border containing micro-printing, line modulation and latent 31 image features printed via either the lithographic or intaglio process. Inks used for the printing should be permanent and have a high resistance to fading or other discoloration.
  3. (a) Prismatic color pattern: A printing technique where a pantograph background is printed in two or more colors. The different ink colors blend into each other in a way that is difficult to simulate. (b) Copy Void Pantograph: A repetitiously designed pantograph consisting of multi-directional images virtually invisible to the naked eye but detectable when reproduction on copiers is attempted. Please note this security feature may not work on all copiers and scanners.
  4. Background Security Design: A repetitious design consisting of a pattern that hinders counterfeiting efforts.
  5. Non-Optical Brightener: Paper without added optical paper brighteners that will not fluoresce under ultraviolet light.
  6. Microprint-text: A line of small alpha-characters that requires a small magnifying glass to read. The microprinttext can be customized for each jurisdiction.
  7. Consecutively Numbered: A visible control number printed in fluorescent red ink on the document face. Require sequential numbering with no missing numbers. A number of ink colors are available for numbering, the most common being black and red. Both can contain a fluorescent property. Bar coding for serialized numbering is also an option.
  8. (a) Security Thread with microprint: A standardized text using “Secure Document” or customized text in a continuous pattern on micro-printed thread either fully embedded or windowed in the paper. The thread would be continuously micro-printed with security text. Security threads may be composed of metallic or polyester materials and fluoresce. (b) Visible security fibers: Multicolor UV sensitive visible fibers are embedded and randomly distributed throughout the paper during the manufacturing process. Visible fibers may be fluorescent or non-fluorescent. The fibers can be easily seen without the use of any special equipment. (c) Invisible security fibers: Multicolor UV sensitive invisible fibers are embedded and randomly distributed throughout the paper during the manufacturing process. Invisible fibers that fluoresce in different colors are available.
  9. Toner adhesion coating: Toner adhesion coating is a treatment added to the paper to promote better toner adhesion for laser printers. Reconditioned toner cartridges are not recommended, and it is suggested to utilize magnetic toners.
  10. Thermochromic ink: Thermochromic ink changes color when exposed to heat and cold. When visible the color will change when heated to a certain temperature, when not visible the color will change when exposed to cold temperatures. The thermochromic ink can be color-to-colorless, or color-to-color. This feature is customizable and may be used to print the state seal, agency logo, etc.
  11. Watermark: A three dimensional cylinder mould or two dimensional fourdrinier watermark that is formed as part of the paper manufacturing process. Watermarks can be custom made, but the standard is the Motor Vehicle Screaming Eagle.

At the discretion of the jurisdictions, all title documents should include either additional features or methods to ensure document integrity. Jurisdictions should consider listing minimum security features in the procurement documents and ask for alternate or additional security features and pricing to avoid disclosure of all security features in public documents. The additional security features or methods may be those available from security printers and/or suppliers or a method(s) of printing data on the document for the purpose of electronic validation of the database record and/or data retrieval. Additional features to consider include a hot-stamped hologram, security laminate, etc.

A secure process is also required for any separate reassignment document used in addition to the certificate of title in connection with transfer of ownership transactions. As a minimum, such document should be printed on sensitized security paper.