California License Plate Lookup

Purchasing a motor vehicle in California without any knowledge can be risky. Knowing what California license plate lookup website or place to go to can be helpful in the long run. This includes traffic violations where you can use the tag plate number, driver's license or citation number for your query.

How to lookup a California license plate

California license plate lookup for any vehicle can be done by filling out an online vehicle record request on the official ca DMV website. If by mail, and you want your own vehicle record, you can fill out the registration form called INF1125. If it's someone else's license plate records, you can accomplish the registration form INF70 instead.


You can also search the plate number from any 3rd party, but the accuracy can't be guaranteed from a free California license plate lookup tool. This is sometimes known as a reverse license plate lookup.

California custom license plate options (types of custom and vanity license plate)

California plates are issued by the California DMV. A front and a rear plate is required on almost all types of passenger vehicles. Except for motorcycles and trailers since they only need rear plates.

For a custom California license plate number, vanity plate, or personalized plate, you can do this online, but it only works for original requests. If it's going to be a gift, renewal, retention, transfer or replacement, you'll need to submit a REG17 for that specific vehicle. Also, have the registration card for the vehicle available.

The personalized license plate or specialty plate will be mailed to the address of the registered owner that CA DMV will have on file. The black plate may be seen in California if the vehicle has been in the state continuously since the issue date.

Dealer plates are also available to both wholesale and retail dealers. These special dealer license plates can be used for towing and transport of other cars, or delivery to the vehicle owner upon sale.

California VIN lookup

If you want to know more details that you can't get from the free license plate lookup using the plate number of the vehicle, then a VIN number or VIN search will be best for you. Free license plate search or VIN lookup tool is very useful for a vehicle owner to know a vehicle history and the driving record of the car owner.

California License Plate Sizes

License plate information like the license plate number must be identifiable. The standard size of 12"x6" applies for passenger vehicles, trailers and cars used commercially. For a motorcycle tag plate, the size is 7"x4". Prior to July 1, 1970, California license plate size was 8"x5"

.California License Plate Validity

A plate number is considered valid when the proper tab or sticker is attached. Depending on the vehicle type, a vehicle registration may last between 1 to 5 years. Do perform a license plate search to get more information on vehicle history.

A temporary license plate may be issued upon purchase. The temporary plate is valid for 90 days or until the permanent plates arrive.

Applying for California License Plates

Before proceeding with the application, remember to do a license plate number lookup to attain vehicle information. If you're purchasing from a dealership some of the processes may be taken care of by the car dealer. Car insurance is also required together with the registration fees.
You are required to provide information such as driver's license, vehicle history like mileage, and others. Information such as mileage is important so always consider a license plate search.

Surrendering License Plates in California

In California, you don't need to surrender your license plates. However, if upon license plate check and the vehicle is unexpired, the license plates must be surrendered. Details for the return like license number, out-of-state plate status, completed Return of Non-resident Plates form and fee are required.

Renewing License Plates in California

Visit their online portal and input your CF number or license plate as well as the last 5 digits of your VIN. These can be found on the renewal notice. You need to have your parking citation fees settled before renewal. Also, a valid driver's license is a must.