California front license plates cannot be made by private individuals, but rather are issued when the vehicle is registered at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The laws of California designate that both front and back plates are obligatory, and a new California resident whose out-of-state vehicle has only one plate has 20 days to re-register the vehicle.
If a person rents a home, claims tax exemptions for a home, enrolls dependents in school or works in the state of California, they are considered a resident, and their vehicle must have California license plates. Once residency is established, a car owner must submit an application for vehicle registration at the California DMV along with proof of vehicle insurance, the out-of-state title and registration, a smog and emissions certificate and payment for all taxes and fees. A DMV employee physically inspects the vehicle. Once the paperwork and inspections are finished, the owner receives the vehicle registration along with front and back license plates and registration stickers.
If the car is bought in California, some California dealerships handle the registration paperwork and issue a temporary registration until the license plates arrive. If the front license plate was lost or damaged, the vehicle owner must bring the remaining plate into the DMV along with suitable photo ID, fill out an application for replacement plates and pay the required fee. Military personnel with out-of-state residency stationed in California are not required to register their vehicles at the California DMV.