Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 21 of 38

Chapter 20: Replacements and Substitutes

20.075 Special License Plates—Replacements (VC §4457)

Replacement license plates are issued for the following types of special license plates:

Replacement license plate types
Amateur Radio License
Disabled Veteran
California 1960s Legacy (personalized)
Environmental License Plates (ELP) (personalized)
California Agriculture (CalAg) (personalized)
California Arts Council (personalized)
Ex-Prisoner of War (POW)
California Coastal Commission (Whale Tail) (personalized)
Kids – Child Health and Safety Fund (personalized)
California Firefighter (personalized)
Lake Tahoe Conservancy (personalized)
California Memorial (personalized)
Legislative (fee-paid)
California Museums (personalized)
Pet Lover’s Veterinary Board (personalized)
Citizens Band Radio (personalized)
Veterans’ Organization (personalized)
Collegiate (only UCLA is available) (personalized)
Yosemite Foundation (personalized)
Congressional Medal of Honor

Exceptions—Replacement license plates cannot be issued when the application is for two lost or stolen personalized special interest license plates for passenger or commercial vehicles or one license plate for motorcycles or trailers unless the vehicle is registered to an exempt agency. Exempt vehicles are always issued duplicate license plates (VC §4458). The Special Processing Unit (SPU) places a “plates lost or stolen” status on the record and the configuration cannot be issued for four years from the date reported lost or stolen.

When replacement license plates cannot be issued, the owner must select a new configuration and pay the duplicate fee or be issued regular series license plates, as explained in this section.

When duplicate license plates cannot be issued and the license plate owner selects a new configuration as a substitute, the following must be submitted:

  • A Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form.
  • The duplicate/substitute license plate fee and any other fees.

A license plate owner cannot select a new configuration for the replacement fee when the issuance of replacement license plates is acceptable.

The procedures below must be followed:

  • Write “Substitute ELP” in bold letters at the top of the REG 17.
  • Collect the replacement/substitute license plate fee shown in Appendix 1F.
  • Make the reservation as an original request. Refer to Chapter 7.
  • Issue a 60-day temporary operating permit (TOP).
  • If the vehicle is not registered in the license plate owner’s name, the usual registration and/or transfer documentation is required.
  • Place the REG 17 as the top document.
  • When replacement license plates cannot be issued, complete a REG 256 with the ELP configuration, license plate owner’s name, date the license plates were lost or stolen, make and vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle the license plates were assigned to and notify DMV headquarters by:
    • Forwarding the REG 256 to SPU.

DMV headquarters will place a “plates lost/or stolen” status on the vehicle record and that configuration cannot be reissued for four years from the date reported lost/stolen.

Amateur Radio (HAM) License Plates—HAM license plates were originally issued with spaces; however, DMV is now issuing these license plates without spaces. All existing license plates with spaces are still valid.

If a customer requests new HAM license plates without spaces, the following must be submitted:

  • A Special License Plate Application (REG 17A) form.
  • A REG 256 stating they wish to keep the current license plates until the new license plates are received and that the current plates will then be destroyed.

The procedures below must be followed:

  • Waive the replacement license plate fee.
  • Forward the application to SPU in DMV headquarters.

The following must be submitted:

  • A REG 17 with the correct spacing indicated (particularly important if the owner retains one plate) and checked for issuance of duplicate plates.
  • The fees due.

The procedures below must be followed:

  • Confirm that the REG 17 shows the disposition of the original license plate(s), the number of license plates surrendered, and if new stickers are needed.
  • Refer to the Reg Tech DART (Job Aid 9) for processing codes.
  • Attach the DMV File Copy to the REG 17 and circle the license plate configuration choice.
  • Issue a 60-day TOP and sticker(s), as necessary.
  • Advise the customer to:
    • Place the stickers (if issued) on the remaining plate and place the license plate at the rear of the vehicle if one license plate remains on the vehicle.
    • Keep the stickers attached to the receipt until the new license plates are received if no license plates remain on the vehicle.

Other License Plate Series—The following must be submitted:

  • A REG 156 or REG 17A, as appropriate.
  • The fees due.

The procedures below must be followed:

  • Confirm the license plate application shows the number of license plate(s) taken up and if new stickers are needed. If the application is for a nonreflectorized Exempt License Plate, pick up both license plates and indicate that two plates are to be ordered.
  • Collect the appropriate duplicate license plate fee.
  • Issue a 60-day TOP.
  • Advise the license plate owner that the TOP does not give any privileges normally associated with display of the special license plates. Example: The TOP would not have the same parking privileges afforded vehicles with Disabled Veteran License Plates.
  • Forward the application to DMV headquarters. The license plate owner name keyed must match the vehicle record or an error message will be returned. If an error message is received:
    • Ask the customer if the name keyed is the license plate owner’s name. If the name on the vehicle record appears to be incorrect, accept the application and forward it to DMV headquarts. Write “verification of plate owner name required” on the DMV File Copy.
    • Issue a 60-day TOP. DMV will key the duplicate request when the license plate owner name is verified.