How To: Obtain Duplicate or Substitute License Plates and Stickers (HTVR 11)
You will need…
- An Application for Replacement, Plates, Stickers, Documents (REG 156) form.
You may also need…
- To surrender any remaining license plate(s).
- To show proof of ownership.
- To show your California driver license or identification (DL/ID) card with photo.
- To show your out-of-state DL/ID card with a secondary photo ID.
- A Verification of Vehicle (REG 31) form.
- Another replacement license plate form.
- A police report.
- To pay fees.
When to Replace Your License Plates or Stickers
License plates and stickers must be replaced immediately when they are lost, stolen, mutilated, or have become illegible.
Duplicate Versus Substitute License Plates
Substitute license plates are issued to replace regular series or special interest license plates that are not personalized.
Duplicates are made to replace personalized and some special license plates. If both personalized license plates are lost or stolen, duplicates with the same configuration cannot be issued. You must apply for another configuration or apply for regular series replacement license plates.
To obtain replacement license plates in person, you must submit:
- A completed application for replacement license plates. Refer to the Forms section to determine which form to use.
- A valid California driver license or identification (DL/ID) card.
An Out-of-state or out-of-country DL/ID card and one of the following secondary photo IDs:
- A valid passport.
- Military ID card.
- ID card issued by a state or US government agency.
- Student ID card issued by a college or university.
- ID card issued by a California-based employer.
- The remaining license plate(s).
- If your current address is different from the address on DMV's records:
- Proof of ownership (copy of your title or registration card).
- A police report, if your license plate(s) was stolen.
- A Verification of Vehicle (REG31) form completed by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), if replacement license plates were issued within the last 90 days.
- The duplicate or substitute license plate fee.
Make an appointment for faster service.
To obtain replacement license plates by mail, you must:
- Be the registered owner of the vehicle.
- Have the same address as shown on DMV's record.
- Submit the remaining license plate(s).
- Submit a completed application for replacement license plates. Refer to the Forms section to determine which form to use.
- Submit a duplicate or substitute license plate fee.
- Mail the application, fee, and license plate(s) to the address on the form. If there is no address on the form, mail the application to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001
Note: For registration fees, see the, Registration Related Fees (FFVR 34) and Special License Plate Fees (FFVR 11) Fast Facts brochures at www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/brochures/vrbrochures_top.
You may download forms at www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/forms/formsreg_alpha. Use the Application for Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents (REG 156) form for the following license plates:
- Permanent trailer identification (PTI)
- Disabled person
- Disabled veteran
- Foreign organization
- Off-highway vehicle ID
- Tow dolly
Use the Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form for the following license plates:
- California Agriculture (CalAg)
- California Memorial
- California Coastal Commission (Whale Tail)
- Ex-Prisoner of War
- Pet Lover's
- Lake Tahoe
- PUC Livery
- Veterans Organization
Use the Special License Plate Application (REG 17A) for the following license plates:
- Amateur Radio
- Antique Motorcycle
- Congressional Medal of Honor
- Gold Star Family
- Historical Vehicle
- Honorary Consul
- Horseless Carriage
- Legion of Valor
- Pearl Harbor Survivor
- Press Photographer
- Purple Heart Recipient
Use the Application for Special Equipment Identification Plate (REG 88) form for the following ID plate:
- Special equipment (SE)
Use the Motorized Bicycle Instructions/Application (REG 230) form for the following license plate:
- Motorized Bicycle (moped)
If Your Vehicle Was Stolen and Recovered Without Your Personalized License Plates
If your vehicle was stolen and then recovered without both the license plates attached to the vehicle at the time of theft, you cannot get duplicate license plates. You must apply for another configuration or regular series replacement license plates.
If the year sticker for your currently-registered vehicle has been lost, stolen, mutilated, or is illegible, you must request a replacement sticker and pay a substitute fee. Submit a completed REG 156 and the fee to your local DMV ( make an appointment for faster service) or mail to the address listed previously.
Obtaining Replacement License Plates or Stickers With Expired Vehicle Registration
Replacement license plates and stickers cannot be issued to vehicles that are not currently registered. You may obtain replacement license plates at the time you complete registration renewal.
If you have not received your license plates and/or stickers and registration card within eight weeks of submitting an application call DMV at 1-800-777-0133 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday — Friday to verify issuance. Submit a completed REG 156 to DMV to obtain replacements. There is no charge when the originals were mailed and not received. You may legally operate your vehicle until you receive your new stickers and registration from DMV (California Vehicle Code (CVC) §4606). Law enforcement agencies provide a grace period for receipt of stickers when the registration has been mailed.
IMPORTANT: CVC §5200 requires two license plates be attached (one on the front/ one on the back) to all automobiles and light-duty trucks.
HTVR 11 (REV. 8/2014)