Motorists must replace a lost car registration in Michigan as soon as the original credential is damaged or goes missing, as failure to present proof of a vehicle’s current registration certificate when asked upon is punishable under Section 257.223 of the state’s Vehicle Code. However, drivers may obtain a copy of vehicle registration credentials directly through the Secretary of State (SOS), as online and in-person methods are available. Additionally, there is no fee to obtain a duplicate certificate for a motor vehicle.

While motorists must replace car registration credentials whenever they become illegible or disappear from their possession, they must also order duplicate license plate tabs if these materials sustain damages or go missing from their motor vehicles. However, vehicle owners may replace their tabs with or without their license plates. To learn more and the different steps motorists must take when replacing their registration materials, review the sections below.

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

Replacing a Michigan DMV lost registration certificate is mandatory if original credentials are stolen or damaged, as all motorists must keep a copy of their vehicle’s registration materials on them whenever they drive on public roadways. Whenever a Michigan police officer pulls drivers over, motorists must present their registration certificate as proof of their eligibility to operate the motor vehicle in the state.

If vehicle operators cannot present proof of their vehicle’s registration, they will be responsible for committing a civil infraction. Under Section 257.223 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, however, vehicle operators may carry with them a paper registration card, an electronic copy, or a digital photograph of the certificate.

Moreover, drivers who lose, damage or misplace their registration credentials may order a replacement card directly through the SOS to avoid any future penalties. For instance, motorists must replace vehicle registration materials whenever the following occur:

  • Another motorist steals their registration certificate and/or license plate tabs.
  • Their original tabs or registration certificate sustains damages or mutilations and becomes illegible.
  • They lose or misplace their registration card.
  • They receive defective license plate tabs from the SOS.

How to Obtain a Replacement Vehicle Registration in Michigan

Motorists may obtain a Michigan DMV copy of registration materials online or in person at a local SOS branch, depending on their preferred method. While there is no fee to replace the registration credential of a motor vehicle, customers must provide their payment information if they need to order duplicate license plate tabs or the registration certificate of a moped, snowmobile or watercraft. Learn more about these application methods in the sections below.

How to Replace a Vehicle Registration Online

Online DMV registration replacement in MI is simple, as individual vehicle owners and businesses may obtain duplicate credentials directly through the ExpressSOS portal. However, motorists may only complete the process online if the motor vehicle is registered in the state of Michigan.

To request a duplicate credential online, applicants must complete the following steps:

  1. Visit the Duplicate Registration page under the ExpressSOS portal.
  2. Select a customer type, such as an individual or business:
    • If applying as an individual, applicants must provide the last four digits of their Social Security Number (SSN), Michigan identification card or driver’s license number, eye color and date of birth.
    • If applying as a business, customers must provide the name of the company (as recorded with the Michigan Department of State), their company’s zip code and the title number of the business vehicle.
  3. If replacing the car registration materials of a business vehicle, applicants must also provide their driver’s license or Michigan identification card number, the last four digits of their SSN, their eye color and date of birth.
  4. Provide payment for the applicable fee if ordering a duplicate registration card for a snowmobile, watercraft or moped.
  5. Print the DMV duplicate registration receipt or save an electronic copy to their computer.

How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Person

In addition to getting a copy of vehicle registration online in Michigan, motorists may visit a local SOS office to obtain a duplicate credential in person. However, customers must visit the office during its regular business hours.

Additionally, applicants must present their vehicle’s registration or license plate number when submitting their request. To find a local SOS office in their area, vehicle owners may use the Branch Office Locator under the website of the SOS.

Michigan Stolen Car Registration Requirements

While lost car registration papers in MI do not need to be reported to local police authorities, motorists may voluntarily file a report with their local law enforcement agency if they believe that another individual may have stolen their registration card or decals. While doing so is not mandatory in the state, filing a police report is advisable, as doing so helps vehicle owners to protect their identity.

Michigan DMV Sticker Replacement

Motorists may replace a DMV lost registration sticker in Michigan if their original tabs are stolen, damaged, lost or defective, even if they do not need to replace their license plate materials. While license plates display a vehicle’s registration number, tabs indicate the month and year of a vehicle’s expiration. When replacing their tabs, customers must visit a local SOS office to present their license plate or registration number.

If license plates have also been stolen, damaged or lost, vehicle owners must replace these materials, as well. Additionally, vehicle owners may return defective tabs to the SOS if they wish to obtain replacement decals at no charge to them. After replacing their tabs, automobile owners must affix them to the upper-right corner of their vehicle’s license plates, while motorcyclists must place their stickers in the lower-right corner of their plates.

Information about the DMV replacement sticker fee and additional registration-related costs are available in the following section.

Michigan Vehicle Registration Replacement Fees

To obtain a duplicate vehicle registration in MI, customers do not need to pay a fee unless they wish to obtain a replacement credential for a moped, snowmobile or watercraft. Additionally, vehicle owners must pay a fee if they wish to replace their license plates tabs. These replacement fees include:

    • $2 to replace the registration card of a moped or watercraft.
    • $5 to replace the registration credential of a snowmobile.
    • $5 to replace snowmobile decals.
    • $5 to obtain replacement tabs and/or license plates.
    • $0 to replace defective license plate tabs.

If obtaining a copy of car registration materials online through the website of the SOS, moped, watercraft or snowmobile operators must submit payment in the form of a Discover, MasterCard or Visa credit or debit card. If applying in person at an SOS office, customers may pay with a credit or debit card, cash, check or money order.

To learn more about these fees and payment methods, motorists may contact the SOS at 1-888-767-6424.

Last updated on Monday, March 9 2020.