The Golden State had the most number of registered vehicles in 2020, with over 14.2 million cars. The most populous state also has more motor vehicles stolen than all the other states. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about license plates in California:
Where can I get my California license plates?
The California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) is the state agency that issues license plates in the Golden State to passenger vehicles, commercial motor vehicles, motorcycles, permanent trailers, trailer coaches, and park trailers. Visit the California DMV license plates page for more information.
How many license plates are required in California?
Most types of California vehicles (including passenger vehicles) should have a front and a rear plate. A valid rear plate has a registration sticker on it. Trailers and motorcycles only require one rear license plate.
What are the current format of the California license plate numbers and the size of the plates?
Introduced in 1980, the current serial format for California license plate numbers is 1ABC123. All plates will follow the required size: 12 in × 6 in 30 cm × 15 cm. License plates issued from 1963 to the present can only be used on a registered vehicle to which they were originally issued.
Can I transfer my California license plate to another vehicle?
Transferring a license plate from one vehicle to another is allowed in California. For instance, you can transfer your specialty license plate to your next car or you can just keep it.
What are the types of California license plates available?
These are the types of license plates in California with different requirements. Depending on the particular plate that you will choose, requirements may differ.