Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 22 of 38

Chapter 21: Special Plates

21.115 Gold Star Family License Plates

Gold Star Family License Plates are issued to qualified family members whose relative lost their life in the line of duty while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States (U.S.) during one of the following:

  • Wartime.
  • An international terrorist attack that has been recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Defense as an attack against the U.S., or to a foreign nation friendly to the U.S.
  • Military operations while serving outside the U.S., including commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the U.S.
  • Personnel assigned to a force engaged in a peacekeeping operation authorized by the United Nations Security Council.

Qualified family members are:

  • Widow/Widower
  • Biological Parent
  • Adoptive Parent
  • Stepparent
  • Foster Parent in Loco Parentis
  • Biological Child
  • Stepchild
  • Sibling
  • Half Sibling
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild

The license plates must be assigned to a California-registered vehicle owned by the qualified family member. Gold Star Family License Plates are available in a sequential series only through the Special Processing Unit (SPU) at DMV headquarters.

Original Sequential License Plate Application must include—the following must be submitted:

  • A Special Recognition License Plate Application (REG 17A) form.
  • A Report of Casualty (DD 1300) form from the Department of Defense.
  • A Project: Gold Star License Plate Application which must be certified by a local County Veterans Service Official.

  • The fees due.
  • The application to:
    — SPU by mail at:
    Special Processing Unit
    PO Box 932345 MS D238
    Sacramento, CA 94232-3450
    — A field office with the license plates from the vehicle being assigned the Gold Star Family License Plates.

Exchange—Existing personalized license plates may be exchanged to personalized Gold Star Family License Plates for a fee.

Renewal—No additional fee for renewal.

Reassignment—An additional fee is required for reassignment of the license plates.

Retention—The license plates cannot be retained.

Transfer of Ownership—The license plates remain with the owner and the transfer is processed as usual. Refer to Chapter 11 for transfer procedures.