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What is a "72 Hour Rush Title" and How Long Does it Really Take?

The DMV offers expedited title processing for an additional $15. A title issued without the "72 Hour Rush" takes 3-6 weeks to be processed (a recent title we processed without the rush took exactly 5 weeks to be received by the dealer).

It used to be that we could request a "72 Hour Rush" title from a local DMV field office, but a couple of years ago the DMV cancelled that option. Now, if you want expedited title processing, we MUST mail the paperwork to the Sacramento DMV’s "72 Hour Titles Special Processing Unit."

How long does this "72 Hour Rush" title take? The term "72 Hours" means that the title is issued within 72 hours of the day the DMV technician enters the data into the computer. If there is no back log and the technician enters the data the day they received your paperwork, you would receive the title in about five days.

However, in the real world, the DMV usually has a back log of several days to several weeks before your paperwork reaches the top of the stack. In March of 2005, the backlog was five days. By June 2005, it was two weeks. The reason for this, according to the unit supervisor, is because at the end of their fiscal year, they have run out of money. As a result, they are unable to keep the office fully staffed or pay for overtime. Therefore, they are able to process fewer items each day. Another variable is the number of new applications received daily by their office. On one day there may be twenty-five, on another day there may be one thousand. In May 2006, using Fed Ex both ways, the turn-around was eight days.

Is there anything we can do to minimize the processing time? Yes. We have been told that sending the paperwork Federal Express will speed up the process for two reasons: first, it avoids the DMV mailroom since it gets delivered to a person at the physical address; second, it is their policy to immediately open Overnight Packages to see what is inside them. Because of this, they tend to be attended to more quickly (this doesn’t mean they will be processed the day they are received). Another thing we can do to increase delivery time is include a pre-paid Fed Ex envelope with the paperwork for them to mail back the title.

Another factor that affects processing time is the printer selection when the title is printed. Once the technician finishes entering the data in the computer, s/he has two choices about how to print the title. S/he can print it in the 72 hour title room where s/he is working. If that’s the case, the title is mailed the next day. Or, s/he can print it to the general processing unit (this is where all of the titles are printed- millions, we gather- and it will print out amongst all of the non-72 hour titles being printed on that day). If this is the case, it takes a bit longer for the title to be mailed (maybe a day or two more). We include post-it notes on all of our applications requesting that they print the title within their unit, but we don’t know if the clerk’s honor this request or not. By including a pre-paid Fed Ex envelope, it would seem more likely they would print the title within their unit. Otherwise, there would be no way to keep the envelope hooked up with the title if it’s printing in another office.

Frankly, we can try every trick in the book to make it more likely that the DMV will give your application priority, but most of it is beyond our control. Therefore, we focus on things we can control, like making sure your paperwork is complete, filled out correctly, and that the correct fees are submitted. The fastest processing in the world won’t help if your item gets returned because it’s incomplete. Avoid this fiasco by using Esquire Titling to submit your "72 Hour Rush Titles" and enjoy the confidence of knowing your paperwork will be handled competently and efficiently.

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