Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 13 of 38

Chapter 12: Nonresident Vehicles

12.160 Return of Nonresident License Plates (VC §4302)

Vehicle owners may retain their out-of-state license plates when:

  • Expired.
  • The vehicle has “dual registration” or interstate registration (for example, a commuter who resides in Nevada and California with a vehicle registered in both states).
  • The owner must return them to the motor vehicle department of the state where they were issued.

If an application for California registration is submitted with out-of-state license plates, and the application is incomplete, return the license plates to the owner and inform them to keep the license plates until the application is finalized. Unexpired nonresident license plates surrendered upon application for California registration may be returned to the motor vehicle registration authority in the applicant’s home state.

Switzerland license plates do not have an assigned expiration date and must be picked up. The license plates belong to the Swiss government, not the vehicle or owner.

The following must be submitted:

  • The documentation listed in the Basic Registration Requirements section in this chapter.
    • The vehicle owner must indicate the disposition of their out-of-state license plates on the REG 343 and that they will not be affixed to a vehicle at any time.
  • A completed Application for Return of Nonresident Plates (REG 356) form.
  • The out-of-state license plates.
  • The fee to return the license plates.