• Lien Agent

What is the Serial Format for a California License Plate?

The serial format for license plates in California is 7-characters, 3 letters and 4 digits.

Several populous states use 7-character formats with 3 letters and 4 digits - Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Illinois.

Several less-populous states use a 3 letter and 3 digit format -Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Carolina.

Here are a few current serial license formats used by states as of today -

6-character plate (1 letter, 5 digits)

6-character plate (2 letters, 4 digits)

6-character plate (3 letters, 3 digits)

6-character plate (4 letters, 2 digits)

7-character plate (7 digits)

7-character plate (2 letters, 5 digits)

7-character plate (3 letters, 4 digits)

Plates issued based on available numbers in non-sequential order.

Plates coded by month of expiration

Plates coded by county of issuance

Need to process a California DMV lien sale? We will process your DMV lien sale paperwork for you. Contact us today - 858-634-0025, or


Phone: 858.634.0025

Fax: 858.408.1809

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P.O. Box 910612 

San Diego, CA 92191