Appendix A: Recommended Universal Certificate of Title Specifications and Minimum Security 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. AAMVA recommends a title size specification range of 7” x 8” as the minimum, and 8-1/2” x 11” as the maximum. 

Model Format Data Fields


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. MakeFirst line of vehicle data, top portion of the form, immediately to the right of “Year.” 
6. Owner(s) Name and AddressTop half of the form beneath vehicle data 
7. Lienholder(s) Name and Address Lower portion of the form 
8. Lienholder(s) ReleaseAdjacent, or below appropriate lien information 
9. Brands or Designations Right hand side, last line of vehicle descriptive data under odometer information. 
10. Odometer Date, Miles, Status (i.e., Actual, Not Actual, Exceeds Mechanical Limits)Second to last line of vehicle descriptive data, right hand side, above “Brands.” 
11. Control Number and Issue Date Strategically placed on the document at jurisdiction discretion location 


Level 1 Feature: Overt features that can be examined and authenticated without the use of tools or equipment.

Level 2 Feature: Covert features requiring the use of tools and equipment such as magnification, lighting, or ultra-violet lighting to examine and authenticate documents.

Level 3 Feature:  Forensic features requiring the use of specialty tools and equipment commonly found in document laboratories to examine and authenticate documents. 

Recommendations for the Number of Features Present: While there is no ideal number of level 1 – 3 features that should be present on title documents, it is recommended that a combination of all three be included to provide optimal document security and counterfeit deterrence.  The below recommendations have been made with expert knowledge of common counterfeit techniques and technologies available and used in the market. In addition to document manufacturing considerations, motor vehicle agencies should look for and validate these features when interacting with these documents. 

Physical Paper Features

1. 24#-28# paper 

a) Multi‐tonal, cylinder mould watermark. Easily verifiable security feature with multiple degrees (no fewer than three), of tonal variation to prevent counterfeit/copy attempts. Recognized widely by document experts. Design can be customized. 

b) A U-V dull white security paper which is reactive to polar and non-polar solvents, acids, and chemicals  commonly used to alter documents. No optical  brighteners to be added.  

c) Inclusion of a security thread – either windowed or  embedded but integral to the manufacture of high‐security paper. Design can be customized for additional security.

d) Paper coating that allows the bonding of toner to the paper from laser printers which protects against erasure and other physical means of alteration.

e) Inclusion of visible and/or invisible security fibers.

Recommendations for fibers:

*  The use of multi‐colored/candy security fibers for additional security. 

*  Fibers whether visible or invisible, in a designated band in the paper. Easy to identify the location for quick, yet secure  verification.

Document Design Features

a) High Resolution Geometric design Border 

A unique high-resolution border containing micro-printing, line modulation and latent 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. 

* Offset printing resolution should exceed 4,000 DPI with a recommended 6,400 DPI

* Intaglio recommended print resolution should be in the range of 10,160 DPI.

b) 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. 
c) 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. 
d) Background Security Design 

A repetitious design consisting of a pattern that hinders counterfeiting efforts. 

This may include:
* Fineline Patterns
* Fingerprinted Lines
* Halftone Raster
* Numismatic Relief

e) Custom FontsFonts that are not readily available on a desktop publishing system.

f) Microprint-Text

A line of small alpha‐characters that requires a small magnifying glass to read. The microprint-text can be customized for each jurisdiction.

Security Print Techniques

Offset/Flexograph Printing
High resolution security print with a minimum resolution of 4,000 DPI

Intaglio Printing:
High resolution security print with a minimum resolution of 6,400 DPI

Digital Print:
Minimum Resolution of 1,200 DPI
True Mechanical Crash numbering:
Impact numbering that disrupts the surface of the paper fibers

Option: Use a minimum of offset and intaglio in combination with one of the other two numbering print techniques listed above for layered security

Consecutive Numbering

A visible control number printed in fluorescent red ink on the document face. Require sequential numbering with no missing numbers. Several 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.

Printed Security Features

a) Level 1 Features

1. 1‐3 colors of intaglio print
2. Color shifting ink: visual change from one distinct color to a second distinct color when the document is tilted or rotated.
3. 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. Thermochromic ink can be color‐to-colorless, or color‐to‐color.
4. IR transparent paired Ink
5. Split fountains
6. Microtext
7. Micro/macro blind embossing
8. UV invisible inks
9. Dual fluorescent inks
10. Full color RGB invisible ink
11. Latent images

b)  Level 2 & 3 Features

1. Optional color shifting ink security features:
(a) Level 2. A covert micro taggant (25 micron) custom imaged particle viewable with basic 400x handheld microscope.
(b) Level 2. A covert immutable machine- readable marker read by a handheld reader in the field or lab.
(c) Level 3. A forensic marker for court evidence to identify genuine documents.
2. Secure Taggants
3. DOVID – See below for more details

Hot Stamped Security Features

a) Level 1: Diffractive Optically Variable Image Device (DOVID)

Approximately 1” (25mm) x 1” (25mm), which exhibits optically variable effects when the document is moved (tilted or rotated).

Minimum requirements:
(a) Portrays a customized design which is relevant to or associated with the jurisdiction (e.g., the State Seal) 
(b) Applied by hot stamping to the preprinted paper substrate;
(c) Exhibits a sophisticated metallic structure created by demetallization, partial metallization or structured hot stamping; and
(d) Exhibits at least one unique overt feature (Level 1), such as a diffractive color‐shift, a diffractive watermark, or a virtual 3‐D effect

Optional DOVID security features:
(a) Exhibits one or two additional overt optical effects (Level 1);
(b) Includes a covert diffractive feature verifiable using a hand‐held magnifier (Level 2); or
(c) Includes a second covert feature verifiable using a high‐power microscope (Level 3). 

Manufacture Security and Quality Requirements 

To ensure the integrity of the “Universal Certificate of Title Specifications”, the manufacturer of the title documents should follow standard secure protocol measures to maintain secure printing, storage, and handling of documents.

Jurisdictions should require the manufacturer to provide a security plan for review.

  1. Security Plan should include, at a minimum, the following:

    i.  High‐level outline of the security measures and controls in place at its facility
    ii. Security controls over artwork, designs, molds, and all details relating to the documents
    iii. Secure Transportation/tracking and traceability plan
    iv. Policy for destruction of non‐conforming product
    v. Ability for agency to access facility

  2. Quality Plan should include, at a minimum, the following:

    i.   Measurement and Control of security features
    ii.  Raw material controls
    iii. Control of non‐conforming material
    iv. Training

[Revised 2023]