Replacing a Lost Registration in California
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Replacement & Duplicate Registrations in California
If any of your vehicle registration documents—license plates, registration car, or license plate stickers—have been lost, stolen, or damaged, you should apply for replacements with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as soon as you can.
If you drive your car without your license plates, registration stickers, or registration card, you run the risk of being pulled over by a law enforcement officer and receiving a traffic ticket, fines, and a possible vehicle impoundment. If your registration documents are damaged beyond the point of being able to read them, it is just the same as if you were driving without them.
On this page you'll find an overview of what you may need to do to get replacement vehicle registration items in California.
NOTE: If your license plates, registration sticker, or vehicle registration card was lost or stolen, you should contact your local law enforcement agency to file a police report.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) application process to replace a registration card, registration sticker, or license plate is the same for each item.
Whether the item was lost, stolen, or destroyed, you'll need to fill out the Application for Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents (Form REG 156).
Your Application Information
To complete your request for duplicate/replacement California vehicle registration items, you'll need to be sure to include your:
- Full name.
- Current address and mailing address.
- Vehicle license plate number.
- Vehicle identification number (VIN).
- California driver's license number.
You must also indicate exactly which type of vehicle registration document you need to replace.
Additionally, you must indicate the reason for your registration replacement request. Some common reasons include:
- Lost documents.
- Stolen items.
- Destroyed or mutilated registration items. (These will need to be turned in to the California DMV).
- Registration documents were never received from the CA DMV or the previous owner.
- Incorrect information/information update.
Note that if you're applying for a replacement license plate, you must:
- Return the remains of your damaged plate to the California DMV, if the plates are still in your possession.
- File a police report with law enforcement, if your plates were stolen.
- Indicate how many license plates are damaged, stolen, or lost.
NOTE: If you find the original license plate, sticker, or registration card after applying for and receiving a duplicate, the original is no longer valid and must be destroyed or surrendered to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
You may submit your application in person by making an appointment at your local California DMV office, or submit your application and necessary documents by mail to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001
Do not forget to include the appropriate fee of up to $19. Fees for duplicate California vehicle registration documents may vary.
If you have any questions pertaining to your specific situations or about your specific lost, stolen, or damaged registration documents, please contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).Other Topics in This Section