Certification of Ownership


Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-3-103(e)


The Certification of Ownership document is used when the applicant is lacking proper documentation to title a vehicle. The vehicle must have a fair market value of $3,000.00 or less or the vehicle must be at least 30 years old (regardless of the fair market value). 

The County Clerk may issue a title if the following requirements support the application: 

  • Completed Certification of Ownership form - For vehicles 30 years or older, the completed form is all that is required.  Applications for all other vehicles must be supported by the subsequent items in this list.  
  • Notification- If the owner(s) is known to the applicant – certified letters with return receipt requested must be mailed to all known parties with a legal interest in the vehicle, requesting an assigned certificate of title, the green `return receipt' cards must be submitted with the certification of ownership, or
  • If the previous owner is unknown to the applicant – evidence of a notification must be placed in a publication of general circulation in the county in which the application is being made of the intent of the applicant to apply for the title on the vehicle
  • The notice shall contain a description of the vehicle, including make, model, year and vehicle identification number, and a request that any and all parties holding an interest in the vehicle to contact the person in possession of the vehicle by certified mail return receipt requested, within ten (10) business days of the date of the publication.
  • Verification of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) by a law enforcement officer or licensed dealer. This can be a pencil tracing of the actual Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) plate or a statement verifying the actual Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • A notarized bill of sale from the last registered owner or a notarized statement from the seller stating why the vehicle was not titled or registered in the seller's name.
  • In the absence of a notarized bill of sale or notarized statement, submit a licensed motor vehicle dealer appraisal of the value of the vehicle.
  • If the vehicle is new and has never been titled, and the manufacturer’s statement of origin (MSO) has been lost, and a duplicate is not available, then a complete copy of the MSO that is certified as true and exact must be submitted.

This can be certified as true and exact via an attached letter on the manufacturer’s letterhead or via a stamped certification statement by the manufacturer.

Use the following chart to determine the correct titling process for a vehicle:

Fair Market Value

Process Used

$0.00 to $3,000.00

Certification of Ownership

$3,000.01 and above

Corporate Surety Bond or Personal Bond with two

(2) solvent personal sureties

* Vehicle is 30 years or older,

regardless of fair market value

Certification of Ownership

*A completed Certification of Ownership is sufficient for vehicles 30 year and older.


Certification of Ownership



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