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California Timeline: Car Purchase, License & Registation, HOV Stickers, and FasTrak CAV Toll-Tag

My yellow sticker took about a month. Post delivery timeline:

Delivered Jan 18 2022
Plates received Feb 16 2022
HOV stickers applied Feb 16 2022
Title received Feb 19 2022
HOV sticker check cashed March 16, 2022
HOV sticker received March 25, 2022
Fastrak CAV applied March 25, 2022

Still waiting for the CAV transponder.
  • Informative
Reactions: Hiline


Active Member
Supporting Member
After taking delivery, do I need received my license plate from mail before I can apply for the HOV sticker?

Search through this Thread (or TMC in general) for pertinent posts that discuss applying for HOV stickers before receiving your permanent license plates.

I believe the general consensus was that it makes sense to apply for HOV stickers as soon as you receive your car--i.e., as soon as you have your VIN and temporary license plate number.

By doing so you may speed up the inevitable ~3-month+ delay in receiving your HOV stickers. (I am assuming that nothing has improved in the past year and that there are still delays?)

Apparently the worst that can happen is that DMV will automatically wait to process your application until your permanent license plate number is assigned. But it may speed up the whole process by something up to a month.

As you can see in my Original Post #1, I had to wait from
  • March 17, 2021 to April 17, 2021 (1 month) to receive my permanent license plates, and then
  • April 19, 2021 to June 28, 2021 (over 2 months) to receive my HOV stickers.
(And then there was a shorter [more efficient] wait to receive the FasTrak toll-tag device.)

If I had applied for the HOV stickers immediately, right after I received the car I might have received my HOV stickers in May 2021 (up to a month earlier), who knows?

If you have any doubts, you may try speaking to a DMV representative by phone. Try to speak to someone who works in the proper office (that handles HOV sticker application processing). It is not easy to do, but TMC posters have apparently found the right office. Search for that information in this Thread or on TMC. Or Google the question: Can you apply for California HOV stickers with only the temporary license plate number?
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Reactions: julit0

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