Obtain Duplicate or Substitute License Plates and Stickers

When Must I Replace My License Plates?

License plates and stickers must be replaced immediately when they are lost, stolen, mutilated, or have become illegible.

What Is the Difference Between Duplicate and 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 plates and some special plates. If both personalized plates are lost or stolen, duplicates with the same configuration cannot be issued. You must apply for another configuration or you may apply for regular series replacement license plates.

To obtain replacement plates:

In person:
  • Visit your local DMV; make an Appointment(s) for faster service.
  • Present a valid California driver license or identification card.
    or
    Out-of-state or out-of-country driver license or identification card and one of the following secondary photo identifications:
    • A valid passport
    • Military identification card
    • Identification card issued by a state or United States government agency
    • Student identification card issued by a college or university
    • Identification card issued by a California-based employer
  • Surrender the remaining plate(s)
  • If your current address is different from the address on DMV’s records, you must also provide:
    • Proof of ownership (a copy of your title or registration card)
    • Police report, if your plate(s) was stolen
    • A vehicle verification completed by the California Highway Patrol, if replacement plates were issued within the last 90 days
  • Complete an application for replacement plates. Refer to the chart below to determine the appropriate form.
  • Pay the required duplicate or substitute fee:
Form Plate
Application For Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents (REG 156)Auto
Commercial
Trailer
Motorcycle
Permanent Trailer Identification
Disabled Person
Disabled Veteran
Exempt
Foreign Organization
Off-Highway Vehicle Identification
Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17)Arts
Coastal (Whale Tail)
Collegiate
Firefighter
Environmental
Ex-Prisoner of War
Kids
Lake Tahoe
Livery
Memorial
Olympic Training Center
Veterans
Yosemite
Special License Plate Application (REG 17A)Amateur Radio
Antique Motorcycle
Congressional Medal of Honor
Historical Vehicle
Honorary Consul
Horseless Carriage
Legion of Valor
Pearl Harbor Survivor
Press Photographer
Purple Heart Recipient
Application for Special Equipment Identification Plate (REG 88)Special Equipment Identification
Motorized Bicycle Instructions/Application
(REG 230)
Motorized Bicycle

By mail:

If my vehicle was stolen and recovered without my personalized license plates, can I still get duplicate license plates?

No. If your vehicle was stolen and then recovered without both license plates that were attached to the vehicle at the time of the theft, you cannot get duplicate license plates. You must apply for another configuration or you may apply for regular series replacement license plates.

How do I get a replacement sticker for my license plate?

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. Complete an Application for Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents (REG 156) and submit it with the required fee to your local DMV; make an Appointment(s) for faster service; or you may mail the application to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001

You may obtain a replacement month sticker at no cost from your local DMV; make an Appointment(s) for faster service.

Can I obtain replacement license plates or stickers if my vehicle registration has expired?

No. 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 pay renewal fees.

What should I do if I have not received my license plates and/or stickers?

Renewal Stickers— If you have not received your stickers and registration card within eight weeks of mailing your renewal fees, please call DMV at 1-800-777-0133 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to verify issuance. If you mailed your renewal fees with a postmark on or before the date of expiration shown on your current registration card, no penalties will be due. You may legally operate your vehicle until you receive your new registration and stickers from the department (Vehicle Code §4606). CHP and other law enforcement agencies provide a grace period for receipt of stickers when the registration renewal has been mailed. Follow the procedures above to obtain a replacement sticker. There is no charge for replacement stickers when the originals ones were mailed and not received.

License Plates—If you have not received your license plates and/or stickers and registration card within eight weeks of submitting an application, please call DMV at 1-800-777-0133 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to verify issuance. If the plates were mailed and you did not receive them, follow the procedures above to obtain replacement plates. There is no charge for replacement plates when the original ones were mailed and not received.

For additional information click on the following:

Replacement Disabled Person Parking Placard

Replacement Clean Air Vehicle Stickers


IMPORTANT: California Vehicle Code §5200 requires two license plates be attached, one to the front and one to the back of all automobiles and light-duty trucks.