How Do I Get A HOV Sticker In California

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How Do I Get A HOV Sticker In California

How Do I Get A HOV Sticker In California

Are you tired of sitting in traffic for hours every day? California offers a solution to this problem by allowing certain vehicles to use High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, also known as carpool lanes. In order to utilize these lanes without getting a ticket, you need to obtain a special HOV sticker. In this article, we will guide you through the process of getting an HOV sticker in California.

Eligibility for HOV Stickers

Before diving into the application process, it's important to check if your vehicle meets the eligibility criteria for an HOV sticker. Not all vehicles are qualified, so make sure your vehicle falls into one of the following categories:

  1. Electric Vehicles (EVs): If you own a fully electric vehicle in California, you are eligible for an HOV sticker. EVs produce zero-emissions and are actively encouraged by the state government to reduce environmental impact.

  2. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs): Another type of zero-emission vehicle that qualifies for an HOV sticker in California is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. FCVs are powered by hydrogen and emit only water vapor, making them environmentally friendly.

  3. Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs): PHEVs that meet specific requirements can also obtain HOV stickers. These vehicles have both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine, allowing them to run on electricity or gasoline.

  4. Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs): Vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) are eligible for HOV stickers too. They are considered cleaner alternatives to traditional gasoline vehicles.

Once you've determined that your vehicle is eligible, you can proceed with the application process.

Process of Obtaining HOV Stickers

To obtain an HOV sticker in California, follow these simple steps:

  1. Check vehicle eligibility: Ensure your vehicle falls into one of the eligible categories mentioned earlier.

  2. Gather required documents: Prepare the necessary documents to support your application. You will need copies of your vehicle registration documents, proof of insurance, and a valid driver's license.

  3. Visit the California DMV website: Go to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website and navigate to the appropriate section for applying for an HOV sticker.

  4. Download the application form: Obtain the HOV sticker application form. It is usually available as a PDF document that you can easily download and print.

  5. Complete the application: Fill out the application form with accurate and up-to-date information. Be sure to include your full name, vehicle information, and contact details.

  6. Pay the necessary fees: Check the DMV website for the current fee associated with obtaining an HOV sticker. Remember to pay the fee online or enclose a check or money order with your application.

  7. Submit the application: Once you have completed the application form and included all the required documents, mail them to the address specified on the form. Alternatively, you can personally visit a local DMV office to submit your application.

  8. Track your application: Utilize the DMV's online tracking system to monitor the progress of your application. This will keep you informed about its status and estimated processing time.

  9. Receive your HOV sticker: Once your application is approved and processed, you will receive your HOV sticker by mail. It typically comes with instructions for proper placement on your vehicle.

Additional Information and Tips

Here are a few additional points to keep in mind when applying for an HOV sticker in California:

  • Application renewal: HOV stickers are valid for a certain period of time. It's essential to keep track of the expiration date and apply for renewal in a timely manner.

  • HOV lanes restrictions: Although having an HOV sticker allows you to access carpool lanes, be aware of any restrictions in place. Some HOV lanes might have specific operating hours or occupancy requirements, so familiarize yourself with the rules to avoid violations.

  • Save time with FasTrak: Consider getting a FasTrak transponder, which allows for automatic toll payment on applicable express lanes. This can save you time and make your commute even more convenient.

Remember, having an HOV sticker not only helps you avoid traffic congestion but also contributes to a greener and more sustainable environment.


Getting an HOV sticker in California is a straightforward process. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully apply for and obtain an HOV sticker for your eligible vehicle. Enjoy the benefits of using carpool lanes and make your daily commute smoother and more efficient!

Note: This article is intended as a general guide. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, visit the official California DMV website.