Find answers, information and resources to help you with all your California vehicle registration needs.
What Should I Do If I Don't Receive My California Registration Sticker?
I paid my vehicle's registration renewal fees over 2 months ago and have still not received my new sticker and registration card. I was wondering how long it normally takes and what I need to do if I never get them. If they got lost in the mail, do I have to pay fees to get a replacement? Thank you.
Verify That Your Renewal Payment Was Received By The DMV
Assuming you renewed your vehicle's registration by mail, we'd recommend first finding out whether your payment was received by the DMV. Contact your bank or financial institute. If your check was cashed, it would be safe to assume your new registration card and sticker were mailed but got lost, or perhaps stolen. Regardless, you've fulfilled your renewal payment obligation.
The next step would be to call the DMV and verify that in fact they've processed your payment and that there aren't any outstanding renewal requirements which you must fulfill, i.e. smog inspection requirement, suspension, insurance issues, etc. Once you've done that, it's time to head over to your local DMV branch office to obtain a free replacement.
Note, if the DMV never received your payment, for all practical purposes, they will consider your registration as not having been renewed. You may owe late fees if it's past your vehicle's registration expiration period. The exemption for paying registration replacement fees for stickers and registration cards not received applies one-way only. In other words, the DMV will take responsibility for you not having received your new sticker, tags and/or registration card after they've mailed them out, and they will give you a free replacement, but not the other way around. They will not take responsibility for having not received your renewal payment.
Renewal Stickers Never Received
In case you have not received your registration card and sticker within eight weeks of mailing your registration renewal fees, call the DMV at 1-800-777-0133 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday excluding holidays to verify whether your renewal was received, processed, and new registration issued. If you mailed your renewal payment on or before the date of expiration shown on your current registration card, you will not be responsible for any penalty (late fees).
The question is however... how do you prove you mailed your registration renewal payment before the deadline? Say for instance you mailed your payment along with renewal notice copy/stub, but the DMV never received it. Proving so, unless you mailed using certified USPS or shipping with tracking, will be quite difficult.
In the best case scenario, the DMV would have received your payment, processed your vehicle's renewal, but you never receive the new registration card and sticker. This is an easy fix. Upon visiting the DMV, a clerk will look up your vehicle registration details, verify that they've issued new registration, and provide you a free replacement; card and sticker. The only downside, three or so hours it'll take to visit the DMV. You can shorten the wait time with an appointment, but DMV appointments are usually given one or two months out. If you don't mind paying a replacement service fee you can save time and process your replacement online through NeedTags.
Getting a Replacement Sticker By Mail
Fill out an Application for Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents (REG 156). Provide your full name, address, vehicle information, drivers license number and make sure to sign the REG 156. Include a check for $23.00 (as of the time of this writing) if you are requesting replacement registration for any reason other than not having received the issued tags from the DMV.
After you complete the application you can mail it along with the required fee to the following address:
Department of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 942869 Mail Station E-169
Sacramento, California 94269-0001
Getting a Replacement Sticker In Person
The REG 156 form and replacement payment may also be submitted in person at your local DMV branch office. As mentioned previously, you may want to make an appointment before making the trip. You may do so via the DMV's online appointment page or by calling them directly at 1-800-777-0133.
Getting a Replacement Sticker Online
The fastest way to obtain your replacement registration, for a nominal fee. Visit Order Replacement DMV Registration Card and Sticker Online. We offer free shipping to any U.S. address and digital registration e-Card download. Expedited next-day delivery is available as well.