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You are legally required to keep a copy of your vehicle registration in your car at all times. If you lose your car registration, you must replace it as soon as possible. Because most state DMVs require you to present identifying documents about yourself and your vehicle in order to obtain a duplicate car registration, few states will allow you to complete the transaction online. However, you can obtain online assistance to help you prepare all the right documents and fees. Our online guide will provide you with all the information you need to replace your registration with ease, by covering all the available application methods in your state. You can also learn how to renew your registration and how to update your name or address.

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2. By Mail or Phone

Some states allow residents to replace their vehicle registrations through the mail. You may need to meet certain eligibility requirements to do so, and you will need to pay for your car registration copy with check or money order. Additionally, mail-in applications take the longest time to process, as applicants will need to wait for the postal service to deliver the application materials to the DMV and also wait to receive their new documents through the mail. Incorrect information on a submitted form can also delay the process. A select number of states allow their residents to replace their vehicle registrations over the phone. However, drivers will still need to wait for their DMV to mail them the new registration.

3. At a DMV Office

The most common way to replace your car registration in any state is to visit a DMV office in person. Most states will issue you a duplicate registration right after you pay the necessary fees and submit a Car Registration Replacement form. Some states, however, will send your documents through the mail. It is important to be aware of your state’s procedures, especially if you need your replacement registration right away. Most DMV offices’ business hours often interfere with the work schedules of vehicle owners, and long wait times are common.


A lost car registration could impact your privileges to operate a registered vehicle. In general, registration certificates are important documents that demonstrate that your vehicle is covered by auto insurance, and that all due property taxes have been paid on it. Thus, you need to obtain a copy of a vehicle registration to avoid issues if you are pulled over by local law enforcement. If something has happened to your registration and you are driving without it, you could be subject to traffic tickets and fines.

You can replace a car registration in the event that something has happened to your original document. Getting a duplicate credential through your local DMV can be a very easy process as long as you prepare and follow their specific application steps. To learn more about requesting a DMV copy of registration, read the sections below.

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

If you experience a DMV lost registration, you will need to apply for a duplicate credential. In general, there are various reasons as to why this document may need a replacement, such as being lost, damaged or stolen. Furthermore, your DMV registration replacement can be helpful for a number of other reasons besides ensuring that your car is legally registered in the state, such as:

  • When you sell your vehicle and wish to not obtain additional paperwork to prove its registration status.
  • When you are requested to submit evidence of your registration in a court of law or for a criminal investigation.
  • When you move from one state to another and transfer your vehicle-related credentials to a new state DMV.

How to Obtain a Replacement Vehicle Registration

Getting your replacement vehicle registration will require a close understanding of your state’s DMV rules and regulations, as well as which application methods are offered in the county, city or state where you reside. Not all states offer the same application methods, but many allow for different types of procedures. In any case, there is a general selection of documents and pieces of information that are helpful to gather before you begin to fill out these replacement request forms. These required details and documents for a DMV duplicate registration may include:

  • Your identifying contact information. This can include your name, phone number, address, email address, date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security Number.
  • Your vehicle information. This can include your vehicle’s make, model, year, body type and vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Your DMV documents. This can include your current registration card (if applicable), drivers license number, license plate number and vehicle certificate of title.

In addition, you may be asked to provide the proper application form and pay for any applicable DMV registration replacement fees.

How to Replace a Vehicle Registration Online

In most states, obtaining a copy of a vehicle registration online is the easiest and most efficient method of replacing these credentials. By inputting your information into your state’s DMV online portal, this process can allow you to get the documents that you need without leaving your own home. While some states offer home registration printing, certain DMVs will send your replaced documents in the mail.

How to Replace a Vehicle Registration by Mail

Having lost car registration papers can also often be remedied by submitting a DMV application through the mail. This may take some extra time due to delivery schedules, but it can allow you to get your duplicate credentials accurately. To do so, you must send copies of your important documents along with an acceptable payment method for the applicable fees, which typically includes checks and money orders.

How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in Person

Many states also allow you to get a copy of a car registration in person by visiting a local DMV office. Overall, different states have several DMV branches located in different cities and counties. This process will require you to gather the required paperwork ahead of time, but can also allow you to ask questions of DMV customer service representatives.

How to Replace a Vehicle Registration by Phone

On rare occasions, states offer phone application services for you to replace a car registration. To do so, you will need to read aloud the important pieces of information listed above and go through a series of automated messages.

Stolen Car Registration Requirements

Dealing with a stolen car registration can be challenging if you rely on your car on a daily basis. However, because your registration is full of important information, you must also be concerned about the consequences of having this credential stolen. Overall, the personal details contained on a registration card can be used as a form of identification for criminal and/or fraudulent activities. Therefore, to protect your financial security, it is very important to contact your local law enforcement department if your registration is ever stolen to file a police report.

DMV Sticker Replacement

You can also get a DMV sticker replacement alongside your duplicate vehicle registration. Generally, these stickers are found on your windshield or license plate, and contain some of the basic pieces of information from your registration. While you will typically receive a DMV lost registration sticker upon completing any of the application methods listed above, you may be required to apply for this decal separately in certain states.

Vehicle Registration Replacement Fees

Getting a car registration replacement often includes some kind of DMV fee in order to account for processing and printing costs. However, these fees can vary significantly across different states. Moreover, there is a wide range of additional fees that may be applicable to base duplicate documents, such as separate fees for license plates or stickers and convenience fees for online requests.

As an example, while the base vehicle registration duplication cost in Texas is $2, it is a much higher $20 in Washington, D.C. These fees can often be paid with a credit or debit card, but some exceptions may apply based on the application method of your choice.

Last updated on Friday, February 15 2019.

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