About Replacing Car Registration in Washington
Drivers must replace stolen, damaged or lost car registration in Washington as soon as possible. If your registration is damaged or no longer in your possession, delaying the replacement can result in a citation for driving without proper credentials.
Fortunately, the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) offers registration replacement in person or by mail. However, you must follow specific instructions for replacing car registration documents and license plate tabs.
The Washington DOL charges a small duplicate registration fee to get a new copy of your registration receipts and license plate tabs. Read on to learn the different methods to replace stolen, damaged or lost vehicle registration materials in Washington.
Replacing a Lost Car Registration in Washington in Person
If you need to replace damaged, stolen or lost registration materials, the quickest way is to visit your nearest DOL office in person. Although you can complete a car registration renewal online, this option is not available for ordering a replacement.
To order a duplicate registration, you must complete the appropriate form and either wait to sign the form in front of the DOL agent or sign it ahead of time in front of a notary. Applications without notarized signatures will be rejected.
For more information on what documents you may need to provide to replace your car registration, download our free vehicle registration guide.
On the form, you should indicate whether you need to replace car registration cards, tabs, decals or license plates. Be sure to check the boxes explaining whether the items were destroyed, lost, stolen or damaged to the point that they cannot be read. You must provide the following information:
- License plate number or registration number
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Vehicle’s model year, make, model and body style
- Washington driver’s license number
If you have a damaged DMV copy of registration or tabs, turn them in to the DOL agent when you submit your forms.
You must be prepared to pay the appropriate duplicate car registration fee via credit card, personal check, money order or cash. You should receive your new registration card or tabs immediately.
Getting a WA Auto Registration Replacement by Mail
Mailing a lost car registration replacement request is a good option for motorists who have trouble getting to a DOL office during normal business hours.
As with in-person lost registration replacement, you must complete an application and have your signature notarized before submitting the form.
Contact the DOL if you have trouble calculating your auto registration replacement fee. Include a check or money order for the exact fee amount and send both documents to any DOL branch office. Your replacement car registration and/or tabs will be mailed the business day after your application arrives.
Motorists often ask, “Can you print your car registration online after mailing a replacement application?” Unfortunately, the DOL is not set up to print a copy of registration online at this time. If your new registration documents do not arrive at your home address within 15 business days, contact the receiving DOL office to check your application status.
Should I report a theft-related auto registration replacement to the police?
If you need a replacement car registration because your documents or tabs were stolen, consider filing a police report with your local law enforcement agency.
Officially documenting the theft can help protect you from any issues that may arise from fraudulent use of your registration materials.
Download our free registration guide to get helpful information on how to replace a car registration.