How To Replace a Lost Car Title in California

Everything you need to get a California DMV duplicate title faster.

California DMV Duplicate Title Guide for 2023

(The process outlined below applies to duplicate titles for both vehicles and vessels)
How To Replace a DMV Title in California
Do you already have a REG 227 ready to go? Order Your California DMV Duplicate Title Online Now

How Replace a Lost or Missing Car Title

The process begins by completing an Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (REG 227) form. The REG 227 must be completed only by the vehicle's legal owner, and then sent to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (either in-person or by mail), along with a duplicate title fee. A duplicate title must be obtained when an original title is lost, stolen, mutilated, illegible, or not received.

The REG 227 can serve different purposes. Banks and financial institutes use it to record paperless titles. Vehicle owners use it to request duplicate titles, and for transferring vehicle ownership without title. In cases where only a duplicate title is needed, you'll only need to focus on Sections 1-3. The remaining sections can be left blank. You may opt not to print page 2 of the REG 227 or may discard it if it's already been printed.

Once a duplicate title is issued, the original title is invalidated and must be surrendered to the DMV if found. "DUPLICATE" will be printed at the top of the replacement Certificate of Title which you receive. This guide will explain how to properly fill in a REG 227 and ensure it gets accepted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, helping you save time and eliminating any back and forth visits to the DMV.
Sample REG 227
How To Complete A REG 227 Application for Duplicate of Paperless Title

STEP 1. Registered Owner(s) of Record

Start from the line right above Section 1. Enter your vehicle's identification information first. Make sure to also checkmark the first "check box" on the form titled "Duplicate Title". You may then move on to Section 1.

In Section 1 of the REG 227 write in the owner's information, and that of the co-owner's if applicable. If you recently moved, your new address does not need to reflect DMV records however the registered owner(s) name must. Print the name(s) as it appeared on the original title or current registration card. If the registered owner name(s) does not match DMV records (except for typographical errors), you must submit your application in person and provide proof of ownership, e.g. registration card, drivers license or ID.

For Address Updates: NeedTags can perform a DMV record address update alongside your duplicate title application processing. You must mail in, along with a copy of your drivers license or ID card, a Change of Address (REG 14) form. With proper verification, we will update your address with the DMV, and the duplicate title you receive will show your new address. If applying for a duplicate title through the DMV (not through NeedTags), note that you will be required to file a Change of Address at least 10 days prior to your duplicate title application request. NeedTags can do both, simultaneously. If you've requested to have your new title mailed to an address other than what is currently on DMV record, ensure to provide a REG 14 with your duplicate title application. The REG 14 can be download from the Related Downloads section of this page.

1(a). On the first line of Section 1 write in the owner true full name (last, first, middle, suffix), business name, or lessor name. Ensure this information is accurate. Your application cannot be accepted if incorrect. Ensure to fill in the owner's drivers license or ID card number if applicable. If no drivers license or ID exists, write in "NONE".

1(b). On the second line of Section 1 write in the co-owner true full name (last, first, middle, suffix), business name, or lessor. If no co-owner exists leave Line 2 blank.

1(c). On the third line of Section 1 write in your current residence or business address. This must be a physical address. No P.O. box addresses are allowed on this line.

1(d). If your mailing address differs from your physical address, write it on the fifth line of Section 1. You may use a P.O. box address here. If your mailing address is the same as your physical address leave Line 5 blank.

STEP 2. Legal Owner of Record (Lienholder/Title Holder)

Section 2 applies only if a legal owner (lienholder) exists on the vehicle's registration. Do not enter the name of owner(s) from Section 1. This section is specifically reserved for titles which have a lienholder. If a lienholder is shown on a vehicle's registration card for which full financial obligation(s) has been fulfilled, the DMV will require that the duplicate title application (REG 227) be notarized. Notarizing the REG 227 will confirm your legal application for duplicate title and allow for the removal of lienholder information. Your REG 227 is not required to be notarized if you do not intent on removing the lienholder's name and address from your duplicate title, i.e. vehicle has not yet been paid off, and lienholder still has legal ownership of your vehicle.

Important: To replace a lost title containing a release by the legal owner, the legal owner's notarized release on the REG 227 or notarized Lien Satisfied letter is required. Furthermore, the replacement of the original title must occur through a request for title transfer, and not duplicate title. In other words, because you are requesting a duplicate title, but need the duplicate title to have lienholder information removed, a title transfer must occur first. Subsequently, you will receive a new vehicle title with the lienholder information removed, forgoing the need to request a duplicate title.

For vehicles two (2) model years old and newer, a lien cannot be released on the REG 227 or by any form of notarized Lien Satisfied letter. Only the legal owner can apply for a duplicate title, and upon receipt, release interest by signing the actual title.

2(a). On the first line of Section 2 write in the name of the bank, finance company, or individual which has a lien on your vehicle. If the lienholder is a financial institute you will also need to fill in the ELT# (Electronic Lienholder ID number). Review your loan documents or contact your financial institute for this information.

2(b). On the second line of Section 2 write in the complete business or residence address of the lienholder. You can locate financial institution details.

2(c). Visit a local notary office and have the REG 227 notarized if you intend on having lienholder information removed from your duplicate title. A notary public is a public official appointed by a state government to help deter fraud. Notary publics witness the signing of important documents and verify the identity of the signer(s), the signer(s) willingness to sign the documents, and the signer(s) awareness of the contents of the document or transaction. You will be required to provide valid identification and submit to a thumb print recording. Notarization is an absolute requirement if a lienholder exists on a vehicle's registration.

If no lienholder exists write "NONE" on Line 1 of Section 2.

STEP 3. Missing Title Statement & Signature

In Section 3 you will be attesting under penalty of perjury and under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct. You will need to place a checkmark in the "check box" corresponding to the reason for your application. The selections are as follow:

A. Lost - Self explanatory
B. Stolen - Self explanatory
C. Paperless Title - Used by finance companies and banks only
D. Not Received from Prior Owner - Self explanatory
E. Not Received from the DMV - Must allow 30 days from last issue date
F. Illegible/Mutilated - Must attached old title to duplicate title application

3(a). Place a checkmark in the check box which best describes the reason for your duplicate title application. If you choose Illegible/Mutilated you must mail in your destroyed title along with your REG 227 application.

3(b). Print the name of the owner. If more than one owner exists, you may use either name however only that owner will be allowed to sign the REG 227. Write in the current date and your daytime phone number.

Congratulations! You're REG 227 is complete and you're ready to submit it for processing. If all your documents are order and you are ready to pay the duplicate title fee you may begin the title replacement process. Submit your application online through NeedTags (recommended), the Virtual DMV office, or by visiting a local DMV service provider.

STEP 4. Submit your document(s) and receive your duplicate title.

There are several way to file your duplicate title application, both online and by mail. If you've recently moved and suspect this to be the reason you did not receive your original Certificate of Title, we recommend placing your duplicate title application through NeedTags. We'll ensure your duplicate title gets mailed to your new address by filing the required change-of-address forms.
Option 1 - Standard DMV Processing (6-8 Weeks)
You may begin your duplicate title application through the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The process will be handled through the DMV Virtual Office. You should expect to be contacted by a DMV agent within one week of application submission. They will assist you further.
Option 2 - Expedited DMV Processing through NeedTags (2 Weeks)
To avoid the hassle of a duplicate title filing through the DMV, and for infinitely faster service, choose NeedTags and leave the heavy lifting to us. Answer a few quick questions online, mail-in your REG 227 and state issued identification (overnight allowed) and get the entire process completed in minutes rather than weeks. Detailed application and mailing instruction will be emailed to you once your duplicate title order is received and an experienced DMV advisor will be available to assist you if you run into any issues or have any questions.

Through NeedTags you simply bypass the DMV wait. Your order will be processed the same day your documents arrive at our office, and your request will be placed in queue for duplicate Certificate of Title printing through DMV headquarters immediately. This makes the process infinitely faster. With NeedTags you can expect to receive your duplicate title within 2 weeks of application and in less than a quarter of the time it would take to process with the DMV directly, and we'll always make sure your duplicate title gets mailed to your correct address. If you have your paperwork ready, begin ordering your California DMV Duplicate Title online now.
Option 3 - Mail-in DMV Processing (8-12 Weeks)
Mail your application and duplicate title fee to: DMV, P.O. Box 942869, Sacramento, CA 94269. If applying for a duplicate title and the registered owner name or address does not match DMV records (except for typographical errors), you must submit your application in person and provide proof of ownership, e.g. registration card, drivers license or ID. Call the DMV at (800) 777-0133 for more information.
Related Downloads   DOWNLOAD FORMS
Download the documents you need to apply for a duplicate title below. If your computer has Adobe Acrobat installed, the link will open the files in Acrobat and allow you to complete them on your PC. You may then print and sign the document(s). Wet-ink signature(s) required.

REG 227 (Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title)
REG 166 (Lien Satisfied/Legal Owner/Title Holder Release)
DMV 14 (Notice of Change of Address)