Replace Car Registration

If you lose your vehicle registration in California, you must replace it immediately. You are required to present this information to officers if you are pulled over or involved in any type of accident. Not having it is enough to warrant an expensive ticket. At the very least, you’ll receive a stern warning not to drive without this information in your vehicle. Vehicle registration replacement in California isn’t difficult, so there is no reason to put it off and end up in more trouble. You can replace it in person or by mail. You have options that make this process a lot simpler than you might imagine.

Lost Vehicle Registration Replacement

If you are dealing with lost vehicle registration, you must notify the DMV. If you simply lost it, it’s not that big a deal. Stolen vehicle registration is a little more serious because it is now in the wrong hands. If your information is stolen, you must file a police report to inform the law that someone broke into your car and took your information. Even if they took nothing else, you must report this crime before someone tries to renew your registration online to obtain a sticker for their own vehicle.

If your items were damaged in the process of being lost or stolen, the DMV wants you to bring them in. This includes any license plates with damage. If you mention to the DMV your items were stolen, they might require you provide them with a copy of the police report you filed when you reported the items missing. Otherwise, the process is just like requesting duplicate information.

Replace In Person

If you need to replace your registration in person, you can make an appointment with the DMV or walk in for assistance. You don’t need much in the way of proof that this is your registration.

  • Fill out form REG 156 (application for replacement plates, stickers, and documents)
  • Pay $21 to replace your registration (check, cash, money order, credit card, debit card)

You do need to have proof of your identity available when you show up at the DMV. The CA DMV does require proof you are who you say you are, and that you are the owner of the vehicle in question. You can use your driver’s license, state identification, military ID, or passport.

Replace By Mail

If you prefer to mail in a replacement application, that’s acceptable. You can download form REG 156 on the DMV website, provide a copy of your identification, and send a check or money order in the amount of $21 to the DMV address below.

Department of Motor Vehicles
Registration Operations
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269

Your new registration is mailed to your address on file. If you moved and have not updated your address, now is a good time to do that so your new items go to the correct address.

Filing A Police Report

If your items are stolen, call the police. There are many things a criminal can do with your stolen information, including trying to use your identity. It’s helpful to have a police report on hand if your personal information is taken. This also makes it possible for the police to see if there is any activity on your tag to catch the people who broke into your car. For example, if someone takes your registration and tries to hand it over to a police officer during a routine traffic stop, your items are recovered because the police know it’s stolen and not just a mistake.

You should not wait to replace your items if they go missing. You might not be guilty of doing anything wrong, but you could still face fines and other issues if you don’t have your registration on you if you are pulled over or involved in an accident. Filing a police report is the first step, but going to the DMV for a replacement registration form is the next logical step. Don’t wait and make the situation worse than it already is. Go to the DMV and take care of this business before it causes additional issues for you.