How to Get Black License Plate in CA

You want to know how to get black license plate in CA, which this article covers, including all you need to know to register the plates to your vehicle.

Black California plate is known as the 1960 Legacy plate, you can get this black license plate in CA by requesting online (CA DMV’s website) or mailing or submitting a completed Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form to your local CA DMV.

The fees collected for black plates (California 1960 Legacy) are deposited into the Environmental License Plate Fund (ELPF) to help environmental projects in CA.

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What is a California black plate?

Black CA license plate is a special interest license plate available for autos, commercial vehicles, trailers, and motorcycles.

The CA black plates are a throw-back to older plates, and some vintage vehicles retained theirs. Between 1963 and 1969, CA issued yellow on black license plates, with productions initially ending in 1969.

California Legacy license plate program was introduced by legislation to give you an opportunity to buy replicas of California license plates similar to those issued in the 1960s and surrounding years.

The black 1960 legacy plate production started again when it reached the required 7,500 orders before January 1, 2015.

When you order a black special interest registration plate, CA deposits your fees into the ELPF to help environmental projects.

How to get black license plate in CA

Follow the steps below:

  1. Determine your vehicle eligibility

Motor vehicles including auto, truck, trailer, or motorcycle currently registered in CA can order the black license plates. However, sequential black plates are not available for motorcycles and trailers.

You cannot get a black CA license plate if your vehicle has a lease or lien on it.

You cannot also order CA black license plates online if you gift, renew, retain, replace, convert or transfer the plates.

  1. Prepare your paperwork

The black CA license plates may be ordered online as sequential or personalized. Or you can mail a completed Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form and appropriate fee to your local DMV. Use the address on the bottom of the form.

If you order sequential plates, you need the information from your registration card.

Thus, the documents needed include the following:

  • Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17)
  • Current Registration Card
  • Special Interest Plate Fees
  • Other Fees
  1. Order online

Go to https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/vehicle-registration/license-plates-decals-and-placards/california-license-plates/order-special-interest-and-personalized-license-plates/ to order your black California license plates. Select either sequential or personalized license plates.

Note: You can only order online when making original requests. To gift, renew, retain, replace, convert or transfer your CA black license plate, complete and submit Special Interest License Plates Application (REG 17) at your local DMV. For faster service, make an appointment before you visit the DMV.

Once you purchase (order) a black California license plate, no refunds will be issued.

Sequential black CA license plates

Under the ‘Select plate type’ section:

  • Select vehicle type: auto or commercial.
  • Enter the license plate number you are replacing (maximum of 7 characters).
  • Enter the last 3 digits of your VIN.
  • Select if expiration is in 30 days.
  • The next step, select No if your vehicle is not leased or has no lien. If Yes, you cannot order a new plate online if the vehicle is leased or owned in a company name, or if the registration expires in the next 60 days.
  • Scroll down and select 1960 LEGACY from the list of California license plates.
  • Scroll down further and click Continue.

Follow the on-screen instructions on the website to complete your black CA license plate order online.

Personalized black CA license plates

When the license plate configuration you prefer is not available, you cannot substitute a letter for a number or a number for a letter to create a similar license plate appearance. For example, if CALIF is already issued or not available, you cannot substitute the letter ‘I’ with the number ‘1’ to obtain CAL1F.

Under ‘Select a plate type’:

  • Select your vehicle type: motorcycle, auto, commercial, or trailer.
  • Enter the license plate number you are replacing (not more than 7 characters).
  • Enter the last 3 digits of your VIN.
  • Select No if registration will not expire in the next 60 days.
  • Select No if the vehicle is not leased or has no lien.
  • Scroll down the license plate list and select 1960 LEGACY.
  • Click Continue.

On the new page, follow the screen instructions to complete your order for personalized black CA license plates.

California DMV does not accept license plate configuration with a sexual connotation, vulgar term, swear/profane/obscene word used within or outside California. Your license plate configuration must not misrepresent a law enforcement entity or originate from previously deleted regular series license plates.

  1. Make your payment

Black license plates (1960 Legacy) costs $50. The renewal fee is $40 paid annually.

If you pay with a credit or debit card, your transaction will include an additional 2.1% payment processing fee.

  1. Obtain your black CA plates

Your black CA license plate will be available for pickup within 8-12 weeks after being ordered online or mailed and processed by CA DMV. Sequential black CA 1960 Legacy license plates are mailed directly to the address on your DMV vehicle record. You should receive them within 4-6 weeks.

California DMV will mail your black license plate to the address they have on file. You can update your mailing address by submitting a completed Notice of Change of Address (DMV 14) form.

Wait up to 72 hours after updating your mailing address before you order the black license plate. Your new mailing address has to be updated on the DMV’s records.

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Do you surrender a black special interest license plate in California?

You can keep your CA black license plate on a vehicle being transferred but you must sign a release of priority as the record owner. The owner has to submit a completed Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form with the transfer application showing the release of interest.

If you (the black license plate owner) do not complete and sign a release of priority, you must surrender your California 1960 Legacy black plates to CA DMV unless you transfer the vehicle ownership to your spouses, parents, children, or grandparents.

The new owner of the black plates in CA must also complete a separate Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form and must pay the original fee for the registration plates even though they are already on the vehicle.

However, if the owner remains as the registered owner (such as adding or removing a co-owner) on transfer, the original registration fee may be waived.

How do you retain your black license plates in CA?

You must submit a completed Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form indicating that you want to keep your black license plates for future use, transfer it to another vehicle in your name, or release interest.

If you retain the black license plates for future use, you must pay an annual retention fee. If you do not pay the annual retention fee, your black CA license plates will be canceled and reassigned to another person who applies. This is is similar to do what you do with regular California license plates.

FAQs

Can you change from black license plate to a regular CA plate?

You can change from black 1960 Legacy plates to a regular CA license plate. Submit a completed Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form indicating your conversion request and pay the fee listed on the second page. You cannot convert plates online but by mail/contacting CA DMV.

How much does it cost to have a black license plate in California?

It costs $50.00 to have a black license plate in California and a $40.00 annual renewal fee.

How long does it take to get black license plates in California?

It takes about 8-12 weeks long to get a black license plate in California. Sequential black CA 1960 Legacy license plates are mailed directly to the address on your DMV vehicle record and arrive in about 4-6 weeks.

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