Vehicle owners can apply for a copy of vehicle registration in California through the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Motorists will be required to initiate the process to replace car registration under various circumstances. Failure to replace a damaged or lost car registration when necessary may lead to certain detrimental consequences. For example, police officers may fine a driver who is unable to produce a valid vehicle registration when asked to do so.

To get a DMV copy of registration in CA, car owner will have to submit a paper application and a fee payment either in person or by mail. Drivers applying in person also have the option of scheduling their visit via the department’s website. Note that the state DMV does not impose any special requirements for replacing a damaged or lost car registration. However, motorists who are changing their address information as well will be required to submit an additional form.

When do you need to get a copy of your vehicle registration in California?

Replacing a DMV lost registration in California is one of the most common reasons for initiating the replacement procedure. However, you will be required to get a DMV registration replacement in other situations as well. The following list outlines the various instances when you will have to apply for a replacement registration card:

  • Your registration card was stolen.
  • Your registration is destroyed or damaged.
  • You are changing the information on your registration.
  • You have not received your registration card from the state DMV.

Note: Learn about other situations that will require you to replace your car registration in CA by contacting the department.

How to Obtain a Replacement Vehicle Registration in California

You can easily apply for a replacement vehicle registration in California by submitting your application through a local DMV field office. To replace your lost, damaged or stolen car registration, you will be required to complete certain forms and pay the applicable replacement fee. If you are unable or unwilling to visit a nearby motor licensing office, you can also mail your application form to the main DMV office in Sacramento.

How to Replace a Vehicle Registration by Mail

A convenient method to replace your lost car registration papers in California is to submit your request by mail. To order a copy of a car registration by mail, follow these steps:

  1. Obtain and complete the Application for Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents (Form REG 156) with the following f information:
  • Your vehicle information, such as license plate number, vehicle identification number and birth date
  • Your personal information, such as full name, address and valid CA driving license number
  • The item that you are replacing and the reason for replacing it
  • Owner certification including your signature, date of signature and telephone number
  1. Fill out the Notice of Change of Address (Form DMV 14), if correcting the address on your registration card.
  2. Pay the applicable fee.
  3. Mail the above items to the following address:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Registration Operations
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, California 94269-0001

The state DMV will issue your CA DMV registration replacement as soon as it receives and processes your mail-in request. You will receive your duplicate registration card at the address you have provided.

How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Person

If you choose to get a copy of car registration in California in person, you can always submit your application through a nearby DMV office. You can also expedite the application process by scheduling your visit via the DMV Online Appointment System or by calling the corresponding DMV number. To get your duplicate vehicle registration during your office visit, complete these steps:

  1. Fill out the REG 156 form with the information outlined above.
  2. Complete the address change form, if changing your address.
  3. Present an official identification form, if required to do so.
  4. Pay the applicable replacement cost.

You will successfully replace your damaged or lost vehicle registration in person once the presiding DMV agent retrieves your vehicle records and processes your fee payment. You will receive your replacement document during the same office visit.

California Stolen Car Registration Requirements

In the event of a stolen vehicle registration in California, you will not be required to file a police report to obtain a replacement document. However, even if you replace your vehicle registration after having it stolen, you are encouraged to inform the authorities to eliminate the risk of identity theft. Note that while you are not required to report a theft of a registration card before applying for a replacement, you will have to do so if and when your license plates are stolen.

California DMV Sticker Replacement

In addition to replacing your car registration in California, the state DMV also offers you replacement services for other registration-related items. For example, you can apply for a DMV sticker replacement via the same methods outlined above. Therefore, you will be required to fill out the REG 156 form and mark the corresponding month or year sticker replacement box. Note that you can utilize the standard replacement application to order duplicates of all your registration items in a single transaction. Once the department processes your DMV replacement sticker fee and any additional cost payments, it will issue your replacement registration items.

California Vehicle Registration Replacement Fees

Paying the replacement vehicle registration fee in California is the last step toward obtaining a duplicate registration card. The total cost to replace your car registration will vary depending on whether you are replacing your registration only or additional items as well. The following list outlines the standard costs:

  • Duplicate registration card: $21
  • Replacement sticker: $21
  • Substitute license plates: $21

Note: The acceptable payment methods may differ depending on your chosen application method. For instance, mailed requests must be accompanied with a check or money order payment.

Last updated on Thursday, March 7 2019.

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