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California DMV Registration




Registration in California

The State of California requests all citizens to register their vehicle at the DMV in California. This procedure will save time and effort when dealing with any DMV’s issue that may arise. The drivers will be requested to update their personal information and current state of the vehicle at every moment. Depending on the different type of registration the vehicle needs, a fee will have to be paid in order to complete the transaction.

The information and documents required for the registration of regular vehicles and motorcycles will be found in the following paragraphs. In the case you need to register a vessel or a special vehicle, please visit the official DMV website to be sure you have all the paperwork you need for your kind of vehicle.

New registration

If you have bought a new vehicle at the dealership, (if they have the authorization to proceed with) they can make half of the Registration procedure for you . If that is not your case, you will have to do the Registration yourself.

When applying for the new registration, make sure you count with:

    The Certificate of Title must be signed up for both parts (The seller and by yourself)

    Title transfer fees receipt

For brand new Vehicles, you will have to bring a Application for Title or Registration (REG 343) form.

For an used Vehicle, the California Certificate of Title will be requested (if the vehicle is registered in another State, an out-of-state title will be necessary).

Depending on the different kind of vehicle you want to register, some other legal forms or certificates will be necessary, so before making your appointment, please check the DMV portal to verify the necessary paperwork.

Registration of an used car in California

This transaction is called by the name: “Private party purchase Registration”. When purchasing a vehicle from another person the buyer will have 10 days to register the new vehicle under his/her name at the DMV. On the other hand, the seller of the vehicle, will have 5 days to notify the transfer of the vehicle’s title to the DMV.

The following paperwork will be necessary to be able to change the ownership of the vehicle:

  • Vehicle’s Title, or as regularly called: “Pink Slip”
  • Bill of Sale
  • Vehicle’s record of odometer mileage
  • Smog certificate
  • Applicable fees receipt

This transaction can be made in person making an appointment to the DMV, or by regular mail.

Depending on the kind of vehicle you want to register, there may be different documentation required, so please check the official DMV website to ensure you have the correct documentation before making your appointment.

Motorcycles in California

When you purchased or have been given any kind of motor-clycled vehicle, it is necessary to register it at the DMV. You will be demanded of the following paperwork to be able to proceed with this:

  • The California Certificate of Title of the motorcycle
  • Insurance Certificate
  • Your current California Motorcycle license
  • Fees receipt.

It is worth mentioning that all miniature vehicles (or pocket bikes) are exempt from any registration. This also means that these vehicles cannot be operated in public streets, as they don't comply with the Federal Safety Standards.

All motorized scooters (any vehicle that contains 2 wheels, a motor, handlebars, and a floorboard where you can stand on while riding it) will be allowed to be used in public streets and will not require any registration. All riders must be at least 16 years or older, and be in possession of a valid driver's license. In this case, helmets are mandatory.

Special Vehicles

The special vehicles are those who have different characteristics from the regular vehicle, such as boats or vessels, modified vehicles, imported vehicles from outside America, Off highway vehicles, Revived vehicles, Commercial vehicles, and others.

All of these vehicles may have different requirements to process with its registration. If this is your case, please check the DMV official website before making your appointment.

Registration renewal in California

If you need to renew your vehicle's registration you can do it using the different DMV tools at your disposal: by phone, online, at the kiosk or by regular mail.

First of all, you have to be sure you are in possession of:

  • The license plate number
  • Your VIN (Vehicle identification Number), or the HIN (Hull identification number)
  • The renewal notice with your current address

In the case you already count with this 3, you can use any of the Kiosk stations to complete your self- service renewal.

To be able to complete the “self-service renewal” bear in mind that a series of requirements will be demanded, so If you already count with these 3, you can use any of the Kiosk stations and proceed with your self- service renewal.

For the renewal of special vehicles or vessels, if there is any infraction or pending issues, the self-service will not be possible so you will have to use the online renewal system. If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to visit the official DMV website.

Replacement of your registration card in California

You will need to request a replacement of your registration card to the DMV If your card has been lost, damaged or stolen.

To be able to proceed with this transaction you can use the different DMV tools at your disposal:

  • Submit an online application
  • Visit your local DMV office and the Kiosk
  • In person.

This procedure will demand the payment of a fee. The DMV facilitates the payment of this amount by the online tool, or by mail to the address: Department of Motor Vehicles - Registration Operations - PO Box 942869 - Sacramento, California 94269-0001.

Registration fees in California

The range of the DMV Registration fees are between 20$ and 70$ approximately. And the DMV offers the chance to calculate them through their official website calculator.

There are different factors that can influence and change this fee figure, (like if you have had any traffic infractions, unpaid parking tickets, or violations to the Federal circulation laws) .All registration fees will basically be based on the type of vehicle, its price and the city you are living in, plus the before mentioned (if it applies).



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