California Car Registration Renewal

How To Renew A California Car Registration

To renew car registrations in California, drivers have three methods at their disposal: online, in person and by mail. Prior to beginning the CA vehicle registration renewal process, you must have the following information ready:

  • Your license plate number.
  • The last five digits of your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • A smog certification (if necessary).
  • A renewal notice with your current address or confirmation of an address change.

If you need more details about how to renew car registrations in CA, read the sections below.

When to Renew Your California Car Registration

Motorists must renew their auto registration before the expiration date shown on their registration card. The CA car registration renewal is conducted on an annual basis. Since the state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does not allow a grace period, drivers must note the exact date of expiry, otherwise they will be obliged to pay late penalty fees. In general, the CA DMV will send a reminder notice which also includes the registration renewal due date, as well as the set fees for this service.

How To Renew Your California Car Registration

When renewing vehicle registrations in California, applicants can complete this process online, by mail or in person. The DMV in California has set certain eligibility requirements pertaining to the online method, which need to be met by car registration holders. For a detailed review of these three options, continue reading below.


To renew auto registrations online, drivers are obliged to complete a series of steps and provide the required information. To be eligible for online CA vehicle registration renewal, you must first have access to the internet and a valid debit/credit card or checking account to pay the allotted fees. Drivers must also be prepared to provide the following details in addition:

  • Their license plate number and the last five digits of their VIN.
  • A smog certification filed with DMV (if required).
  • Auto insurance coverage with a participating company that electronically reports vehicle insurance information to the CA Department of Motor Vehicles.

Motorists who have experienced vehicle record changes, including an address change or transfers to a new owner, will not be eligible for online renewal. Drivers who must present certain documents, such as an insurance certificate, will not be allowed to utilize the online service either.

By Mail

The in-mail California car registration renewal is another available method for motorists. In general, the DMV encourages applicants to send the auto registration renewal notice via mail in case they have moved to another location, and to include the new residence address on the back of the form. Note that you will need to arrange payment for set prices, and send a check or money order along with the other documents. Drivers may also be required to submit valid proof of insurance and a smog certificate, if necessary.

In Person

Drivers also have the option to renew their vehicle registration in person by visiting a nearby DMV location in California if they are required to present certain documents to go with their renewal. Such documentation may include an insurance card or a check. Motorists may need to present the renewal notice and some form of identification upon arrival in addition. In case you have not received a courtesy reminder, it may be best to contact the office and obtain information about the required paperwork, fees and payment options prior to your visit.

Liability Insurance Coverage

The DMV vehicle registration renewal in CA requires applicants to show proof of financial responsibility or what is commonly known as auto insurance. The insurance coverage may be provided electronically to the DMV in CA, though in specific cases drivers may need to submit a vehicle insurance card via mail or in person. When renewing your car registration in California, be sure you have obtained the following minimum liability insurance coverage:

  • $15,000 against injury or death to one person.
  • $30,000 against bodily injury or death to two or more people.
  • $5,000 for property damage.

Vehicle Registration Fees

The California auto registration renewal procedure will be finished once the applicant has arranged payment for the allotted fees. The current cost to renew vehicle registrations in CA is set at $46. Since additional fees may be included, make sure to note the amount listed in your renewal notice or contact the local DMV office beforehand. The Department of Motor Vehicles does not offer a grace period after the car's registration expiration date. The auto registration renewal prices must be paid either on or before the date of expiry, otherwise you will be subject to late fees. Note that the longer you wait to renew your registration, the higher the amount will be. Motorists have several payment options at their disposal, including credit/debit cards, checks or money order.

CA Vehicle Registration Renewal For Military Members

The CA vehicle registration renewal requirements are somewhat different for military members deployed to an out-of-state location. When renewing their auto registration, they may be able to submit the application after the expiration date. Also, military personnel may be exempt from paying late penalties, if they prove eligible to do so. In case you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and you have been deployed during a period of combat or homeland defense, you may qualify for a renewal penalty waiver. Applicants will need to submit a car registration renewal application along with the required fees to a CA DMV office within 60 days upon return to the state. They must also be prepared to provide proof of temporary military duty and a completed Statement of Facts indicating their active duty status and the deployment termination date.

New California Resident

New residents who wish to renew an auto registration in California must first request a new CA registration. Before starting the procedure, you must ensure that your vehicle meets state smog laws, otherwise it may not qualify to be registered. Drivers will need the following registration documents:

  • An Application for Title or Registration (REG 343 form).
  • A Verification of Vehicle form.
  • An out-of-state title/registration card.
  • A smog certification (if necessary).
  • An insurance card (if required).
  • Payment for the appropriate fees.

When the car registration renewal date approaches, new residents may initiate the regular renewal process by completing the steps the California DMV has previously set.

Submitted by Curlygirlyj9 on 21st Sep 2016

Haven't received my tags and

Haven't received my tags and payed over a month ago. When souls I receive them?

Submitted by doris57 on 22nd Apr 2015

I paid my renewal and

I paid my renewal and received my tags, but got a notice of delinquent renewal in the mail, how is this possible?????

Submitted by sylviasuong1 on 16th Oct 2014

I am Sylvia Doan, My Two

I am Sylvia Doan,

My Two careers:

Electronic quality Technician Engineer and Real Estate

My legal pagers had been corrected since my family sold property at:

165 Blossom Hill Road #43. San Jose, CA 95123

We moved several times cause address needed to change, it did matter to my legal paper if I could not report right time.

Similar my previous personal account had the temporary mailing addresses were not the same with the ID. Human resource did not ask for the ID.

Please report to the Bank to release information about Gemfire Corporation and Century 21 A1 Network.

Thank you very much!

Sylvia Doan

Submitted by Andy0918 on 18th Sep 2014

I paid the registration fee

I paid the registration fee on my vehicle, but repair and after a number of diagnostics even with the dealership, my vehicle cannot pass smog. Must of spent over $700 dollars to run testing and replacements. The vehicle is in very good condition with only 55k miles. What can I do to get my smog so I can get registered with my sticker tag?

Submitted by tempwhat on 4th Sep 2014

I have moved out of USA to

I have moved out of USA to Canada. I am insuring my vehicle with the local auto insurance agency. Do I get refund of the unused months of vehicle registration fee? Do I need to return the CA license plates to DMV?

Submitted by Tylerbbb on 25th Jan 2014

I bought a used motorcycle

I bought a used motorcycle with expired tags from 2008 It has been sitting since then in a garage In order to register it am I paying the past years registration or just this year On the calculator it says there are tons of fees for late registration but I am the new owner and just got into my possesion Let me know

Submitted by lee2363 (not verified) on 14th Oct 2013

If I lost my registration

If I lost my registration card is it possible for me to get another one?

Submitted by charles02 (not verified) on 12th Jun 2013

I have registered renewal of

I have registered renewal of my vehicle online on May 26, 2013 that i have copy of receipt and payment was taken out from my bank.

Todate have not receive copy of new registration and sticker. Due date of my renewal is June 2, 2013. Kindly advise. Thank you

Submitted by aefallon (not verified) on 23rd May 2013

I have not lived in

I have not lived in California since 2008. Before I left California I transferred Vehicle registration through a notary at a DMV office and I gave the vehicle as a gift to a friend of mine. My friend agreed to follow up and get vehicle registered with DMV with the paperwork transfer I gave him etc etc. Unfortunately years later I find out he never registered car on his name but continued driving it. Now my bank account was impounded to pay the due registration on the vehicle and this friend of mine disappeared and I do not know how to reach him. Also I do not even know if he has insurance. So many years have passed and I do not have even the VIN or license plates on the vehicle as I have been moving around and I thought it was a no issue and the car gift had been completed by him. What do I do to stop my liability, report the car as stolen by this individual, I cannot reach him and the DMV keeps the car on my account. I do not live in USA anymore as I work overseas. Anyone with experience please advise how to resolve this without too much expense the car is old not worth more than $2000 5 years ago!!!

Submitted by fishnfool (not verified) on 20th Apr 2013

I have a 1939 German military

I have a 1939 German military motorcycle with a side-car, that has never been registered and has less than 500 miles on it. The DMV here in Merced, Calif. hasn't a clue as to how I go about registering it for the street. PLEASE, PLEASE.., Help me!!!

Submitted by yoesca (not verified) on 24th Mar 2013

i am sole owner of my car.

i am sole owner of my car. my car registration is currently due but i want to add my niece as co-owner of my car. How do i do this and do i have to pay additional fees for this?

Submitted by chowes (not verified) on 10th Apr 2013

I own my car and want to add

I own my car and want to add my son. How do I do that

Submitted by P_Meggs (not verified) on 30th Dec 2012

Question, my vehicle

Question, my vehicle regristion is due June 2013; however, I'm currently in Afghanistan is there a form I can complete so I want be charged last fees for renewal?

Submitted by roelof310 (not verified) on 4th Dec 2012

have not yet recieved my new

have not yet recieved my new registration or stickers bank shows check cashed on 10/29/12 I also sent a check for another of my vehicles on the same day, it also showed to be cashed on 10/29/12 and I recieved registration & sticker for it more than two weeks ago

Submitted by bchavezsmith1 (not verified) on 4th Oct 2012

I have not received my 2013

I have not received my 2013 reg. tag yet. I mailed to you was on 9/8/12. The check was posted to my bank account on 9/12/12. When will I receive my registration/tag?

Submitted by Freedomsexy (not verified) on 14th Nov 2012

I have not either!!! Same

I have not either!!! Same boat here - any information? I had a change of address does that take longer im assuming. Going on a month here though getting worried

Submitted by dennisjasmer (not verified) on 10th Sep 2012

I have a smog test required

I have a smog test required for an rv but it is currently in Washington state. Can I smog in washington?

Submitted by backlinks (not verified) on 6th Sep 2012

There are definitely lots of

There are definitely lots of details like that to take into consideration. That is a nice level to carry up. I offer the thoughts above as basic inspiration however clearly there are questions just like the one you carry up where a very powerful factor will be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if greatest practices have emerged round things like that, however I am positive that your job is clearly identified as a good game. Both boys and girls really feel the influence of only a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

Submitted by tedley63 (not verified) on 19th Jul 2012

How early before the

How early before the registration is due can I smog my car?

Submitted by Sukyung Han (not verified) on 4th Dec 2011

I registered my car when I

I registered my car when I was in California on 2010. But, Now I am in out of state cause my husband is US army soldier. So,now my car has a plate number of another Country. After few year, I have a plan to ship my car back to U.S.As (http://U.S.As) your policy, every car registed in California must register annually. In this situation, do I need to do renew registration for my car on 2011? I am gonna back to U.S on 2012. And, I lost your notice mail. When I registered in 2010, I made my address to my friend's home. But, my friend moved another house. So, address was changed. Because I am in Another Country, I can't find your mail. So, I don't know correct date and numbers for renewal. Please, make me know what I should do and how to do.

Submitted by ciara.v (not verified) on 15th Nov 2011

I have a non-op on my car and

I have a non-op on my car and its been like that since july, I wanted to go pay for my registration, because I got my car running again, but I need to know what to bring because I lost my papers. what can I do?

Submitted by juju4life (not verified) on 26th Sep 2011

Registration fee

Registration fee

Submitted by Vince Vrbancic (not verified) on 11th Sep 2011

I renewed my registraition

I renewed my registraition over two months ago in person & I am almost expired. I was also issued new plates & changed my address on my license. I was charged $399.00 for everything. Why is this taking so long??? This exact same thing happened last year when I registered a car. You had no problem taking my money, but services have not been rendered. Would you PLEASE provide me with the services you have charged me for, otherwise I would like my $399.00 refunded. Thanks again DMV.

Submitted by pbenbrook (not verified) on 30th Aug 2011

Email floating around: As of

Email floating around: As of July 1 2011 Calif DMV is no longer required to mail advance notices for upcoming vehicle resistration. DMV is balancing that charge with an additional grace period of 30 days before pentalties would be applied.               TRUE or FALSE?

Submitted by ireliz4 (not verified) on 24th Aug 2011

I have an RV that has not

I have an RV that has not been running. I need to get it to a repair shop to get serviced and smogged. How can I get a one trip permit?

Submitted by lozo44 (not verified) on 18th Aug 2011

I have not received my tags

I have not received my tags and registration that was paid at the end of june....the fee was paid and completed from my bank account...whats the hold up???? no info has been sent to me regarding a problem....


Robert Quayle

Submitted by bobp (not verified) on 8th Sep 2011

It took me almost 2 months to

It took me almost 2 months to get mine i called and they kept saying to just wait.

Submitted by ryuwookie (not verified) on 19th Jul 2011

how do i know if my vehicle

how do i know if my vehicle registration renewal has bee paid?

beacuse i mailed it over and its been more than do i find out if the dmv has recieve it or it has been paid?

Submitted by CHAD LONGFELLOW (not verified) on 24th Jul 2011

Trying to track the tags for

Trying to track the tags for my registration of my dirt bike. renewal ID#150195. PAID /SENT 6/23/2011 CHECK#1005. THANK YOU CHAD LONGFELLOW

Submitted by slim (not verified) on 25th May 2011

i have a question does any

i have a question does any body know how much do they charge everyday if late fees to register a car.

Submitted by librande (not verified) on 23rd May 2011

If I buy a motorcycle from

If I buy a motorcycle from California and it hasn't had it's tags renewed in years (she says she owes 563 dollars) I live in Idaho does that money still need paid, or since we are in different states is that okay?

Submitted by Anonymous on 4th May 2011

Hello, I know that I had my


I know that I had my car smoged 2 years ago and I am being asked to have it smoged again. Who should I contact. Can you give me an e mail. I thought it was every 4 years?


Submitted by Anonymous on 19th Apr 2011

The Vehicle Registration

The Vehicle Registration Calculator is not available.

Submitted by Anonymous on 17th Apr 2011

hi ppl i need help i im about

hi ppl i need help i im about to buy a car from 98 the owner told me he havent move the for a year and hes reg expired he told me he needs to pay the reg that is 400 doll....but if i buy the do i have to pay the fees or him? ones i tranfer the tilte to my name do i have to pay the fee or the last please

Submitted by Anonymous on 27th Apr 2011

yes, if you buy it you have

yes, if you buy it you have to pay the fees unless you settle it otherwise. Unpaid tickets and all. Once its in your name the problems are yours.

Submitted by Anonymous on 27th Apr 2011

oh sh**t, i barely realized

oh sh**t, i barely realized that right now, thanks guys.

Submitted by Anonymous on 16th Feb 2011

How do I go about adding my

How do I go about adding my spouses name to my vehicle registration? There is a lien on the vehicle and we have owned it since new (2009).

Submitted by Anonymous on 8th Feb 2011

My renewal process has turned

My renewal process has turned into a nightmare. After getting the smog test and going on line to make my payment it showed the test never went through the computer system. I called DMV and they said they have no record of it and checked deeper and still couldn't find it. I was puzzled and called the dealership who performed the smog test to make sure it was sent in. They said it automatically goes through. So, I went ahead and paid my fee's so they won't be late and I've sent them a copy of the smog results but I have this feeling I'm going to be waiting a long time to actually get my tags. I hope it shows I paid the fee's by phone using an E Check. That automated voice that registers all that was annoying to say the least. I can't believe what a mess this has turned into.

Submitted by Anonymous on 4th Feb 2011

HOW do i enter the "RIN"??

HOW do i enter the "RIN"?? there doesn't seem to be a place!!


Submitted by bgarrison (not verified) on 23rd Aug 2010

Several weeks ago I renewed

Several weeks ago I renewed my registration for a vehicle that I have since traded in for a new car. The renewed registration showed up this last weekend but I no longer have the car. I would like to see how I can receive a refund of the registration fee. The registration is effective 9/8/2010, which means that the old registration is still in effect.

Thank you.

Submitted by ruthpz23 (not verified) on 2nd Mar 2010

I need to renew my

I need to renew my registration because it was cancelled and I can't do it online or over the phone because I don't have a renewal identification number (RIN). I want to take care of this ASAP, and I went to the DMV and they were unable to give me my RIN. How can I get my RIN number so i can renew my registration?

Submitted by Diana1 (not verified) on 9th Jan 2010

I did not pay my car

I did not pay my car registration that was due in august. I returned the car back to the dealer in november. DMV sent me to collections and now they are giving me 10 days to pay up the full amount. Do I have to pay this amount even though I dont have the car in my possesion? or does the dealership just adds it with whatever i owe for returning the car?

Submitted by ren2reg (not verified) on 22nd Nov 2009

My car was not place on plan

My car was not place on plan non-operational since 2004 after it was having a break down until now it wasn't being repair.I wasn't even renew it 'coz I haven't received my renewal form.I try to contact dmv sacramento and they said I have to pay the yearly fee plus penalty amounting to 340 or more.I can't imagine how to pay that much amount.Is there any way I could register that by paying the cost of its registration plus a year penalty 'coz I can't even have it fix right now, 'coz of financial difficulty.Please give me and answer if you could find some way that I could not pay that much amount.Thank you so much.

Submitted by Anonymous on 20th Jan 2011

i have the some situation

i have the some situation what was the answer to your ?

Submitted by rogermcclellan (not verified) on 14th Nov 2009

How do I get a replacement

How do I get a replacement registration renewal form for the one I have lost. Vehicle 1990 MBZ 3BSA804 tag. Thank You

Submitted by mudartist101 (not verified) on 21st Nov 2011

how can i get a copy of my

how can i get a copy of my registration renewal? I'm ready to go to AAA to get my tags on Wednesday, November 23rd.

Submitted by simone caton (not verified) on 8th Oct 2009

I can't find my vehicle

I can't find my vehicle registration renewal statement to take in for a smog check on my car can I get a replacement sent to me by email? Do I need the statement for the smog check and to pay for my registration renewal?

Submitted by Anonymous on 27th Jan 2011

i have the same question. i

i have the same question. i paid the renewal fees online, because we moved and they were never forwarded to us. can i get my car smog checked without the specific smog renewal form?

Submitted by leenance26 on 9th Dec 2014

I have the same question,

I have the same question, what can I do to get my car smog? Can I use last years renewal form to get my car smog?

Submitted by (not verified) on 4th Sep 2009

i have a 05 supercrew which

i have a 05 supercrew which has a cover over the back. i do not haul anything in it, so i would like to reregister my vechile as not being a pickup,but as a passanger vechile. i dont know how to go about it, so can you lead me in the right direction. thank you