Online California DMV Vehicle Registration
- Registration Renewals
- Sticker Replacements
- Registration Replacements
- Title Transfers
Driving the California roadways is a privilege all licensed drivers can take advantage of. Motor vehicle owners have an additional responsibility though – California law requires most vehicles to be registered with the DMV before driving on state roadways.
Below is a list of vehicles that drivers must get car registration for:
Types of motorized vehicles that do not need to be registered in California:
If you purchased a used vehicle, you have within 10 days of the purchase date to register and avoid late auto registration fees. If your car is new to California, you must apply for vehicle registration within 20 days of the entry date to avoid late fees.
If you need to renew or replace car registration, fill out the convenient Online California DMV Vehicle Registration form above. Not only does it save you a trip to the DMV, annual auto registration renewal notices will be sent to your email automatically. This is an official car and automobile registration service which works alongside the CA DMV to ensure privacy and expediency. Services are not just limited to cars and include:
More Important Information on Vehicle Registration
In the state of California, certain vehicles need to undergo a smog inspection to be registered with the CA DMV. These include the following:
Getting a new car is exciting, and by going through an authorized dealer, your vehicle registration paperwork is submitted automatically. To take the car off the lot, the only thing you must provide is proof of auto insurance. You can expect your auto registration certificate, decal and license plate to arrive in the mail within two weeks of purchasing your new vehicle.
If you are registering a motor vehicle in California for the first time, you must complete the following steps:
When you are buying a used car, make sure to check its vehicle identification number (VIN) before finalizing the sale. If not, you could end up with a vehicle that has serious mechanical errors and requires repairs. To prevent yourself from being a victim of false advertising, order a VIN history report. A VIN report provides buyers like you with important information on the car in question. The vehicle history report will include:
Simply ask the seller for the VIN code and order a detailed car history record before purchasing it.
After establishing a new residency in the state of California, you have 30 days to visit a local DMV office and register your vehicle. Upon arrival, you must bring the following documents:
When non-California residents register a vehicle in California, it is often due to owning a separate residence. In this case, provide the following items to get car registration:
Depending on the kind of vehicle you are registering, there are a number of other documents that you may be asked to present:
The process to register car credentials as a member of the military depends on your status as a resident or non-resident.
Non-California Residents in the Military
If you are not a California resident, then you do not need to obtain CA car registration. All you have to do is:
California Residents in the Military
If you are a resident of California, then you must follow a different set of rules. You have the option to register a vehicle in the state that you are stationed in and then register your car in California once you return. In addition, CA military members can qualify for a vehicle license fee exemption by turning in one of the following forms to the CA DMV:
California drivers serving in the military are also exempt from the vehicle registration renewal fee by filling out applicable forms.
The process to register a motorcycle in California is almost identical to registering cars. Provide:
Smog inspections are not required to get motorcycle registration.
Registering RVs in California is mandatory for all California RV owners. Complete the following steps:
The state of California has determined that any trailer longer than 16 feet or wider than 96 inches needs to be registered with the CA DMV every year, just like a recreational vehicle would. Due to their size, trailers do not qualify for permanent vehicle registration. However, trailers that do not meet these specifications can be registered through the Permanent Trailer Identification Program.
In order to register the right type of trailer in California, you will need to:
Smog testing is not required to get trailer registration in California.
Boats need to be registered just like standard and commercial vehicles do. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. If you own one of the following types of vessels, then you are not required to register your boat:
In order to register an OHV in California, you will have to meet all of the following requirements:
If you need to obtain handicap placards in California, you may do so at the same time you get car registration from the DMV by following these steps:
The last factor to become familiar with when it comes to registering cars in California is cost. There are two fees associated with getting car registration documentation:
If you recently bought a used car, you have 10 days to register the used vehicle. If you don't register your car within 10 days of purchasing it, you may have to pay late fees associated with obtaining DMV car registration.
Penalty fees from California Highway Patrol:
Penalty fees to California vehicle registration:
The DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders, and debit or ATM cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover) as methods of payment.
Like a drivers license, your car registration can be suspended by the CA Department of Motor Vehicles too. One of the most common reasons for vehicle registration suspension is not having car insurance. If you are driving without proof of financial security, visit the California Car Insurance Regulations page.
To reinstate suspended car registration, you must provide proof of car insurance and then go to a local CA DMV office. Otherwise, you will be unable to renew or replace vehicle registration documentation.
If you live in California, a salvage vehicle does not have a title. Thus, you will need to substitute your current car title for what is known as a Salvage Certificate. This can be done at a local California DMV office.
Another option to choose when registering car credentials is whether or not you want to buy vanity license plates. Also known as custom license plates, vanity tags allow you to choose the letters and numbers as well as the style of the license plate in question. For instance, you can choose your alma mater, or a license plate that supports a cause.
If you want to get a new personalized license plates, you may change it again at the time you go to renew car registration decals.
When moving out of California to a new state, you do not need to surrender license plates. Just be sure to have your California registration certificate and car title to provide your new state’s DMV. Because the process for transferring title varies from state to state, you are also encouraged to contact that state’s DMV for more details.
The following are further resources to help with your specific needs whether you are doing your California vehicle registration for the first time, renewing or replacing your auto registration:
Guide to California vehicle registration renewal. What is required for renewing your vehicle registration in CA, where and when to renew your vehicle, fees, mailing address, forms, etc
CA Vehicle registration replacement information for lost, stolen or damaged vehicle registrations. Step-by-step guide to getting a new copy of your vehicle registration.
California car registrations fees vary depending on a number of factors including the make and model of the car, the date of late registration, traffic tickets, etc. DMV.com's car registration fee calculator can help you figure out how much it will cost to register your vehicle.
The California Vehicle Code is important for anyone registering their vehicle since it contains all the rules and regulations that drivers and vehicles are subject to while on the road.
This article is an overview of license / car registration plates. It covers the regulations for displaying and mainting your plates as well as information on vanity, disability and vintage vehicle plates.
There are different procedures for registering a custom or vintage car in the state and you can find that information in this article.