Applying for a duplicate title in the State of California is a little more complicated than your average State application process.
There’s a bit more documentation involved and required, and a certificate of title is only sent to you by mail, no other method.
So, how long does it take to get a duplicate title in California? It typically takes between 15 and 30 days to receive a certificate of title in California — whether it’s a duplicate, replacement, lienholder, or brand new—to reach you by mail. California only sends out titles this way, so you can’t get a same-day title even if you show up, in-person at the DMV.
There’s a pretty significant checklist to go down as you prepare to file an application for a duplicate title.
Some of the forms on the checklist won’t pertain to you and some will. It’s important to go through them nonetheless.
If you miss a form or forget to file the appropriate documentation, it will make receiving a duplicate title a far more lengthy process than it has to be.
Table of Contents
How To Apply For A Duplicate Title In California
The first, and most important form you have to file, is the Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (REG 227).
It contains several sections that may or may not apply.
- Registered Owner(s) of Record
- Legal Owner of Record (Lienholder)
- Missing Title Statement
- Registered Owner Release of Ownership
- Legal Owner Release of Ownership
- Notary Section
- New Registered Owners
- New Legal Owners
- Dealer’s Release of Acquired Vehicle
That’s quite a bit of information, but you only have to fill out what is relevant to you.
The form has to be notarized when it’s signed by a certified notary and turned in through an in-person visit to the California DMV or through their online process.
If you’re the registered owner, the first section applies to you while the second section only applies if the vehicle is financed and you aren’t yet the legal owner of the vehicle.
The missing title section is self-explanatory and only needs to be filled out if you can’t locate the original title, not if you’re looking to get a duplicate.
Legal owner release of ownership pertains to selling the vehicle, whether you have paid off the lienholder or the vehicle is taking on a new owner. Lien Satisfied (REG 166) is filed before filling out this form.
New registered owners fill out section six along with a Statement of Facts (REG 256) and a Statement of Use Tax Exemption.
The final two sections are filled out by either the lienholder or the dealer and generally don’t apply if you’re filing for a duplicate title.
What Other Documentation Is Needed?
Carefully check over the list of documents that you may need by reviewing the Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title.
- Driver’s License or State Issued ID Card
- REG 166 form (Lien Satisfied/Legal Owner/Title Holder Release
- Statement of Facts (REG 256)
- Verification of Vehicle (REG 31)
- Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (REG 138)
- A Notice of Change of Address (DMV 14)
The Verification of Vehicle form is only necessary if a duplicate title was issued within a 90-day timeframe and it has to be obtained from the California Highway Patrol.
When the form is filled out and you are ready to submit, mail REG 227 form to :
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269.
There is an exception when it comes to mailing it in. The name and address of the registered owner have to match the California DMV records.
If they do not, you’ll have to file the paperwork in person. You’ll also have to provide proof that you own the vehicle.
In addition to REG 227, you’ll also have to file a DMV14 (Notice of Change of Address). Finally, you’ll have to pay a $60 registration fee, a $28 license fee, A transportation improvement fee (it changes by county), and whatever local and county fees that apply.
Regardless of whether or not you mail it in or are required to show up to the DMV in-person, your title will be issued through the mail and you will have to wait 15 to 30 days to receive it.
Can The Process Be Expedited?
Currently, the Rush Title Processing Service is unavailable due to COVID-19 complications. Under normal circumstances, you can visit the Rush Title Processing section of the DMV online and pay an additional fee for an expedited duplicate title.
So long as you have submitted the REG 227 form, you can select the Rush TItle Processing option and fill out the requisite information.
You may have to pay additional fees and are subject to the same process as applying for a Duplicate or Paperless Title.
The fees are determined by several factors:
- Vehicle type, value, purchase date, and where it was purchased
- Where you live, including place of business
- The gross weight of the vehicle
- Special license plates
- Used vehicles
California has a lot of potential fees, many of which are going to be applicable in almost every situation.
The California Highway Patrol, registration, license, transportation improvement, and local or county fees are automatic and you can expect them each time you apply for a title, regardless of whether or not it’s expedited.
The mailing address for the Rush Title Processing Service is different from the standard mailing address:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Rush Title Processing – MS D825
2415 1st Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95818
You can’t request Rush Title Service at your local DMV, it has to be completed online, forms printed, and mailed into Rush Title Processing.
To speed the process up, you’re more than welcome to expedite the documentation by utilizing Express Mail services at your local post office.
The normal processing time for Rush Title Service is 8 to 10 business days. It’s still a long time but it’s a whole lot better than half a month to a full month waiting on your certificate of title.
Can You Get A Duplicate Title For A Salvaged Vehicle?
You can get a salvage title for what California calls a “revived” vehicle. If you have a repaired vehicle that was originally salvaged or in junk status, make sure you have the title or the salvage certificate before you fill out REG 227.
You will also need an Application for Title or Registration form that is signed by the current owner(s) of the vehicle. You’ll also need a Verification of Vehicle, which you can get from the California Highway Patrol, or a certificate from the same.
To get these documents, you’ll have to get them from the California Highway Patrol after you provide them proof of ownership along with all repair receipts that include every part that was ever installed in the vehicle to facilitate the repair.
Finally, you’ll need a Dismantler’s Bill of Sale and a Statement of Facts to turn in when you submit your application.
When you file the REG 227 form you’ll need to provide—along with all of the above—a list of details from the repair project:
- Bill of sale with parts used
- Weight declaration
- Vehicle history
- Smog certification (if the vehicle is older than 1976)
Once you’ve put together the list of documents—and paid the requisite fees—the California Department of Motor Vehicles will issue a Rebuilt Certificate of Title.
How To Register A Non-Repairable Title In California
The exact opposite of registering for a rebuilt title, getting a non-repairable title only happens if your vehicle was in a total-loss accident or is otherwise unable to be repaired and made roadworthy again.
Once the process is complete, the vehicle can’t be used to obtain a salvaged or rebuilt title. To obtain a Non-Repairable Vehicle Certificate, you’ll need to fill out and submit the Application for Salvage Certificate or Non-Repairable Vehicle Certificate (REG 488C) along with the REG 227 form.
Unless you have an out-of-state title, you’ll have to apply for a duplicate title to submit along with the REG 488C form.
You’ll need to provide proof of ownership as well. without proof of ownership, California requires a Motor Vehicle Ownership Surety Bond (REG 5059).
To avoid most of the forms, make sure that you bring all of your documents with you, including proof of ownership.
California loves their forms and fees and if you’re missing anything, there’s sure to be a form or fee for that.
All Things Considered
Getting a duplicate title in the State of California takes a significant amount of time and their process is more convoluted than most states.
They also have a good amount of fees to go along with it, so make sure you and your wallet are prepared.
The most important thing to do, if the dreaded day when you need a duplicate title arrives, is be informed about the process and have every scrap of paperwork—even if it only might be applicable—ready to go.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID pandemic, California’s Rush Title Processing Service has closed up shop.
It will certainly be reopened at some point, however, for the time being, the process is what it is and you’ll have to be patient while awaiting a certificate of title.
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