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California License Plate Lookup

If you live in California and want to drive a car legally, then you must register your vehicle. For this reason, you must know about California License Plates. Keep on reading if you want to get detailed information about California License Plates.

If you buy a vehicle or bring it from another state you must first register it with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You can make an online application to make the process easier. Yet, you should keep in mind that you must appear in person at the nearest branch of DMV to complete the whole process of application.

You have to bring some important documents to complete the application. These documents include a completed application for Title of Registration, the Title of your vehicle, and a valid Smog Certificate. Besides providing all these documents you must pay the registration fee, which is $46. You can get your new license plate within 4 to 6 weeks and it will be mailed to your DMV vehicle record address.

You can request to get an owner information about this or that particular license plate. However, you should keep in mind that you can get this kind of information only if you have an acceptable DPPA reason.

If you want to replace your stolen CA DMV license plate you must know about three ways to do it. These are online, in person, and the replacement via mail. Regardless of the way of replacement, you must file a police report, provide all the important documents and pay all the necessary fees.

Getting your California License Plate

The process of getting a license plate in California is not as difficult as you may think. You just need to meet some requirements and follow some important steps.

In case of buying a vehicle in California or bringing it from another state, you must register the car with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

If you buy a car at a dealership, they will take the whole process of registration on themselves. In this case, you will get a temporary registration card before receiving the permanent one. The process is a little bit complicated if you buy a car from a private person. You must appear in person at the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days.

If you want to get your CA DMV license plate, then you must follow these steps:

  1. Apply for it online on this page. Yet, you must remember that making an online application is not enough. You must appear at DMV in person.
  2. Bring all the important documents. These include:
    • A submitted Application for Title of Registration (Form REG 343).
    • The title of your vehicle. If the car is under 10 years old, provide Odometer Mileage as well.
    • A valid Smog Certificate. You must bring this document if the car is more than 4 years old.
  3. Pay the fees. The registration fee is $46.

Your new license plate is mailed directly to your DMV vehicle record address. You can receive it within 4 to 6 weeks.

Getting black and yellow license plates

If you see a black plate on the vehicle, it means the car has permanently been in the State of California since its issuance. You can see a yellow plate only on commercial vehicles, like taxies and trucks.

If you want to get black and yellow license plates in California then you must request them online. You can fill the Special Interest License plate application form.

All plates regardless of color cost $50. You must pay $40 each year to renew your license plate.

CA License Plate Number Lookup

A California citizen can have different reasons for requesting to get owner information for a license plate. You can do a California License Plate Lookup by VIN or by a license plate. Yet, you must have an acceptable DPPA (Driver’s Privacy Protection Act) reason to get this kind of information.

You can do California License Plate Number Lookup on the California DMV Official Webpage. The process is much easier if you want to find information about your own car. CA DMV license plate Lookup results include vehicle history, vehicle information, VIN information, vehicle Status, Smog Certificate, Safety and Recall notices and Limited Vehicle Registration information.

Replacement of a stolen front California License Plate

You have to replace your stolen, damaged, or lost license plates immediately. You can make an online application, appear in person at DMV or order a replacement via mail.

If you want to replace your license plate, you must follow these steps:

  1. Provide a submitted application for the type of your plate (standard, special interest license plates, etc.)
  2. File a police report
  3. Provide any remaining license plates you possess. These must be surrendered to the Department of Motor Vehicles
  4. Pay the fees. The replacement fee is $16. You must make a $1 reflectorized license plate payment as well

Online replacement

If you choose to replace your license plate online, you must refer to the DMV and order a replacement online. In this case, you must provide your license plate number, the last three numbers of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Besides these steps, you must the eligibility of your vehicle. You can make a payment only via e-check.

In person replacement

If you want to replace your California License Plate in person, you must:

  1. Appear at the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles.
  2. Provide a valid driver’s card or ID.
  3. Show a valid passport, military ID, student ID issued by the University in case of having an ID of another state or country.

Replacement via Mail

If you want to replace your California License Plate via mail, then you must:

  1. Prove that you are a registered owner of your car.
  2. Don’t change your current address appearing in DMV.
  3. Complete the application.
  4. Surrender all your remaining license plates.
  5. Mail the fee, application, and license plates to the Department of Motor Vehicles, PO Box 942869, Sacramento, CA 94269-0001.

Checking the availability of your license plate in California

If you want to check the status, then you must follow these simple steps:

  1. Call the CA DMV at 1-800-777-0133. You can appear in person at the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles as well.
  2. Ask for permission to speak to an associate. You don’t have to make an online appointment, however, you must wait in line for someone who will perform the search.
  3. Tell the associate the correct combination of numbers and letters you want to check. The associate will try to search the official database and tell you the availability of a license plate. If everything is correct, you can order it either in person or via the webpage of DMV.

Transferring of license plates in California

If you want to convert an out of state license plate in California you must complete:

  1. A Submitted Application for Title and Registration (Form REG 343).
  2. The car’s out of State Title.
  3. The car’s out of state Registration.
  4. Proof of Insurance.
  5. A Smog Certificate (it must be valid).
  6. All the payments. The Department of Motor Vehicles proposes a Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator due to which you can calculate all the registration fees.

If you want to change your California license plate to Oregon you must provide the original out of state Title. However, if you have lost the Title you must contact the DMV by phone at 1-800-777-0133.

CA Temporary License Plates

You can get a temporary license plate in some special circumstances when you have already paid all the registration fees and are still waiting for the permanent one. CA Temporary license plate is valid for 90 days until you get the permanent one via mail. However, if you want to extend it you must pay an additional $50.

The types of California License Plates

The State of California has started to require having license plates to drive a car legally since 1905. The State of California requires all registered drivers to have two license plates. The first one must be on the front of the vehicle and the second one on the backside of the vehicle.

There is a great number of license plates in California. They can be used for different purposes, like supporting causes (arts, education, and environment), identifying special status, providing special recognition, etc.

There is a variety of license plates in California:

  1. Standard license plates. By having it you can verify the registration of commercial motor vehicles, passenger vehicles, trailer coaches, motorcycles, etc.
  2. Special license plates. Getting it will help you to recognize achievements, service, historical significance, occupation, etc.
  3. Special interest license plate. By getting it you automatically support the cause and associated charity. A part of your fees goes to the donation to something you really care about.
  4. Decals and placards (including Disabled Person (DP) and Disabled Veteran (DV) license plates). If you drive bicycles, tow dollies, and off-highway vehicles you don’t have to provide license plates. In this case, decals help to register your vehicle. Disabled Person and Disabled Veteran license plates give special parking privileges to particular individuals.

Vanity License Plates in California

In California Vanity Plates are called Special Interest License Plates. Vanity Plates bear a personalized combination of numbers and letters. It is possible to choose any possible combination of characters. However, there is a limit of six or seven digits.

The process of getting a CA Vanity License Plate is quite easy. Almost all the designs are available and you can order them by making an online application at DMV. There are some paper options as well and you can get them by appearing at DMV in person.

The owner of the car must be ready to pay extra money for getting a Vanity License Plate in California. The cost ranges from $0 to $103. Once you meet all the requirements and your design is approved you can get your Vanity License Plate.

The availability and the cost of a CA license plate

If you want to check the availability, then you must call the DMV by phone at 1-800-777-0133 and ask for permission to speak to an associate. You must tell the correct combination of letters and they will check the availability.

As to the cost of getting a license plate in California. The cost ranges depending on the type of license plate you want to get. However, you must know that if you want to get a vanity license plate, you have to pay extra money (from $0 to $103).

Lilya V

Lilya is a junior content writer. She has graduated from YSU, Faculty of European Languages and Communication. Lilya is a creative, motivated, and hard-working linguist and cross-cultural communication specialist. Due to her strong analytical and problem-solving skills, she is successful at working and dealing with so many different cultures around the world. Lilya has a great experience of translating and volunteering projects. Besides this, she is doing well in the field of content writing. Up to now, she has managed to write various articles about medical, driver, marriage, and other types of licenses. The fact of being a good linguist and cross-cultural communication specialist helps her a lot in the process of writing different articles. She is sure, the only way to grow a profitable business is by writing influencing content. According to Lilya, good content must be engaging and must meet all the specific marketing requirements. By putting a lot of attention to quick writing, excellent style and grammar, creativity, and perfect editing skills, she is ready to attract a target audience and make your business grow even more effectively.

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