Frequently asked questions

What forms do I need to bring?


RENEWAL UMI SMOG & Auto Registration specializes in renewing cars, trucks, boats, vessels and desert toys. If possible please bring in your renewal notice issued by the DMV and any of the following documents that may apply. If you have any questions or are unsure which documents are necessary come on by. We are here to help. DMV Application For Replacement Documents (REG 156) Misc. Certifications (REG 256A) VIN Verification (REG 31)




How can I Transfer the title of my vehicle? What document I need to use in the transfer process?


Transfer of Title DMV Application For Title (REG 343) DMV Application For Duplicate Title (REG 227) DMV Statement Of Facts (REG 256) VIN Verification (REG 31)




What DMV transactions require a VIN verification to be completed?


-Registration of a vehicle last registered out of state -Re-registration of a vehicle that was previously “junked” or “salvaged” -Registration of desert toys or trailer -Registration of a vehicle that has not previously been registered -DMV Verification Of Vehicle (REG 31)




What Applications do I need for PERSONALIZED, SPECIAL INTEREST, HANDICAP PLATES?


Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) DMV Application For Disabled Person (REG 195) DMV Application For Plates, Sticker, Documents (REG 156)




What form do I need for VESSEL, BOAT & OFF HIGHWAY VEHICLES?


DMV Application (BOAT 101) Bill Of Sale (REG 135) DMV Power Of Attorney (REG 260)




What is a LIEN SALE?


If a person has repaired, furnished supplies/materials for, or towed or stored a vehicle and has not been paid for the services rendered, that person has a lien against the vehicle.Please refer to the following documents in order to complete the lien sale. Notice Of Pending Lien Sale (REG 668) Statement Of Fact (REG 256) Certificate Of Lien Sale (REG 168A)Application to Continue Lien Sale (REG 259) Certificate Of Lien Sale (REG 168A) Notice Of Transfer Or Release Of Liability (REG 138) DMV Application For Duplicate Title (REG 227) DMV Application For Replacement Documents (REG 156)




How often do I need a smog check?


Most vehicles in California are required to pass a Smog Check every two years for registration renewal. Your DMV Registration Renewal Notice will indicate if your vehicle needs a Smog Check. You can come to UMI smog and Auto Registration, average time we take is 10 minutes to get you in and out.




Can I have a car registered in more than one names?


If vehicle is being registered in two (2) names, proper ownership conjunction must be indicated as it will appear on the new registration and title.




What is the penalty for driving with expired tags and can my car be impounded?


The penalty for driving a vehicle with expired registration may be as severe as a vehicle impoundment. Ordinarily an officer will issue a citation for expired registration under CVC 4000a(1) and allow you to pay the penalty through traffic court if your tags aren't expired over 6 months. The law does allow an officer to impound any vehicle with expired registration greater than 6 months. A 4000a(1) citation is a correctable offense and not counted as a traffic point against your driving record. The penalties however, especially if your vehicle is impounded, are severe




Do I need car insurance before I can start the renewal process?


If your registration is suspended for no insurance or for lapse in coverage of insurance, then yes you will need insurance.




Do I need a smog check before I can renew my vehicle registration?


The registration renewal notice mailed to you will indicate if a smog certification is required. However, you will not receive your new registration or year sticker until the smog information has been received by DMV.




What can I do if I need a smog check but my car is temporarily out of state?


Unless your vehicle is in Nevada or Mexico, you DO NOT need to bring it back to California in order to complete your registration. Do not obtain a smog inspection in another state, it will not be valid in California. The California DMV does not recognize out of state smog inspections for the purposes of initial vehicle registration in this state or vehicle registration renewal. Simply fill out and sign DMV's "Statement of Facts" form (Section G), OR complete Reg 5103, explaining your vehicle is out of state and the registration tags will be mailed to the current address on DMV records. You may then have the new registration card and sticker forwarded to your out of state address. You can obtain a Statement of Facts form (Reg 256) or Temporary Smog Exemption (Reg 5103) by downloading it from this page.




Can I receive my registration card and sticker at my new address?


In order to be legally allowed to write-in your correct address on your vehicle's registration card, you will first have to submit a Change of Address request with the DMV, either online, in-person, or by mail. We'll explain the process of obtaining a new registration card with your correct (residence or mailing) address below, but first let's look at how to perform a Change of Address. Change of Address Online Please note you may not change your address online if any of the following apply to you:

- Do not have a CA Driver License or California Identification Card
- Do not have a Social Security Number
- Do have a Commercial Driver License issued by the CA DMV but your residence address is out of state.
- Do have an Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office address.
- New address is outside of the United States

Before you begin changing your address online, you must have your vehicle's or vessel's last issued registration card. If you are not eligible to change your address online, you must use a DMV 14 form (Notice of Change of Address) and either mail it to the DMV or turn it in at a local DMV branch office.

DMV Change of Address Online Here: Change Address Online




My registration renewal is due but I have parking tickets. Can I still renew my car?


Once this happens, the DMV puts a "hold" on your registration renewal; they will not let you renew your vehicle's registration until you pay the parking tickets that have been reported.




My vehicle registration is suspended. How do I remove the suspension?


When a person's registration is suspended it means the state has basically taken away their right to place the vehicle on the road until the registration is reinstated and once again valid. States all require you to register your car in order to obtain license plates and drive legally. How to Reinstate a Suspended Registration in California? Obtain current and valid insurance for your vehicle. Mail your proof of insurance, a reinstatement-fee check for $14, and the stub from your notification letter to the California DMV, P.O Box 997405, Sacramento, California 95899-7405.




I received the registration renewal notice for a car I sold. What should I do?


If you receive a license plate renewal notice for a vehicle you no longer own and do not wish to renew the license plates, you can disregard the renewal notice. By not renewing the license plates this year, you will not receive a notice for the plates next year. If you transferred the license plates to another vehicle and the plates were not renewed at the time of transfer, you may mail the renewal notice with the appropriate registration fee. The renewal fee will be applied to the correct vehicle. Visit license plate renewal options for more information.




I don't plan on driving my car anymore. Do I still need to renew the registration?


You will be required to turn over the car's license plates, which allow you to take the vehicle out on the road. If the insurance lapses, in many states the car is no longer legally registered, and you can be fined for driving it.You will be required to turn over the car's license plates, which allow you to take the vehicle out on the road. If the insurance lapses, in many states the car is no longer legally registered, and you can be fined for driving it.




My license plate was lost or stolen. How can I get a replacement?


You must replace your license plates immediately after your plate(s) has been lost, stolen, mutilated, or become illegible. You do this by requesting duplicate or substitute license plates. The requirements for regular series plates are: Complete an Application for Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents (REG 156). The vehicle owner may come in to any one of our locations to obtain a replacement plate or sticker. Please bring your license plate number or VIN, an acceptable form of ID




My registration is not expired but my sticker is missing. Can I get pulled over?


If your tags were stolen, this is a simple fix-it ticket. In most states, you can go online to report lost tags and order replacements. Sadly, these replacements are not free. They are cheaper than late registration, though. Do not bet on getting caught with expired tags. Stop registration tag theft simply Keep your current tags unobstructed on the rear license plate.
To avoid theft: Use a sharp blade, like an xacto knife, razor, or box cutter (Optional - remove previous tags) Clean and dry the license plate area where month and year are displayed Neatly adhere tags to the appropriate spots on the license plate Cut an X shape or several neat lines through the tags This makes it harder for thieves to remove and reuse your tags.




Can I renew my registration early. If so, how?


You may renew your vehicle's registration up to 75 days in advance, but unfortunately, not sooner. If a vehicle's registration expiration date is greater than 75 days, the DMV can not collect registration renewal payment. In fact, if you mail your renewal payment, the DMV will return it to you.




Do I Have To Get a Salvage Certificate If My Vehicle Is a Total Loss?


Yes. It is California DMV requirement to file for a Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate after a total loss. If the vehicle owner retains possession of the total loss or salvaged vehicle, the insurance company must notify the DMV of that retention and advise the owner of his or her responsibility to obtain a Salvage Certificate or Non-repairable Vehicle Certificate within 10 days from the date of the settlement.

You will not be able to continue paying registration renewal fees. If your insurance company has reported the vehicle as a total loss, the DMV will no longer mail you renewal notices.




I Paid for My Registration But Cannot Afford to Smog Right Now.


Having paid your vehicle's registration renewal fees protects you from getting charged DMV late fees. It does not allow you to obtain a new registration sticker and registration card but it does stop the DMV from assessing late fees. With that said, you have time to get the smog check until the end of your current registration expiration period, except you can't legally drive your vehicle on public roadways unless you get a temporary operating permit (TOP). Contact us for more information.




I Did Not Receive My Registration Renewal Notice.


Unfortunately, it's not possible to request a 2nd renewal notice to be mailed out by the California DMV. The process is automated and a renewal notice is sent one-time only... However, there is no need to visit the DMV office at this point either. The process can be handled online without a California DMV registration renewal notice.




Do I Have to Register My Car In CA If I'm Here Temporarily?


The vehicle you operate while being a resident of California must be registered in California; even though you will be moving back to your home state once school is over. You'll need to register your vehicle with the California DMV as soon as possible.




Registering a car with a Salvage Title not a Salvage Certificate


Registering a Salvage Title Vehicle is Identical to Registering a Non-Salvage Title Vehicle Both salvage title and salvage certificate are in essence the same thing in terms of identifying a vehicle's branding. The difference is, when a vehicle is issued a Salvage Certificate it may not be operated on public roadways, while, when a vehicle is issued a Salvage Title, it can.




I Mailed my Title to the DMV and Haven't Heard Anything Back.


Unfortunately the DMV does not accept title transfers by mail. That is more than likely the reason you have not heard back from them. The only way to transfer a vehicle title through the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles is to visit one of their local branch offices, perform the title transfer throught one of our locations at UMI Smog , or visit a local third party registration service provider.




Smog Check Requirement for Salvage Title Vehicles


The smog check requirement does not change for a salvage vehicle. Unless a salvage vehicle is being transferred between family members, or is 4 years old or newer, or the vehicle has received a smog inspection in the last 90 days, a smog check certificate will be required in order to complete the title transfer.




Is a Smog Check Necessary for Online Release of Liability?


A smog check is not necessary to complete a Notice of Release of Liability (NRL), whether it be online or by mailing in the Notice of Release of Liability Form (REG 138). By submitting this document you are telling the DMV that you've sold, traded, gifted or otherwise disposed of a vehicle which is registered to you. The form will ask you the sale price, odometer reading and buyers/acquirers information. There is no request for smog inspection information.




How Can I Get a Replacement Bill for My Car?


Unfortunately, it is not possible to request a replacement DMV registration bill or renewal notice. These are mailed out automatically, and one-time only.




I Can't Find the Tags or Registration Card for my RV


Absolutely, simply order replacement registration through us. You'll get an e-Card (digital registration card print-out) which you can take on your trip. We can email you a digital copy of your registration card as well as mail out a new sticker and DMV registration print-out, if you choose, as fast as overnight with early delivery before 10am, or First-Class USPS which usually gets delivered in 3 to 5 days.




Can I Sell My Vehicle Without a Title or Pink Slip?


You can sell your vehicle with out a title if the seller doesn't mind. It's always best to have one to simplify the DMV title transfer process. The buyer might truthfully believe that a pink slip is necessary to change ownership (which makes sense) or they may want to make certain you are the legal owner. In either case, if they do choose to buy your car without the title, you'll need to give them a signed REG 227 - Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title.




Can The DMV Put A Lien On My Bank Account?


The DMV, or the California State Franchise Tax Board to be exact, has the right to collect back vehicle registration fees owed during or after a vehicle owner ceases ownership of the vehicle. It should be noted that reporting the sale or transfer of a vehicle to the DMV does not constitute a transfer of ownership. The vehicle record is not permanently transferred out of your name until the DMV receives a completed application for transfer of ownership and payment of appropriate fees from the new owner.




What To Do If Late To Transfer Title on a Gifted Vehicle


You will want to complete the title transfer as soon as possible, even though late. The DMV will apply a penalty for not having transferred the vehicle to your name within the 30 days allowed. The vehicle's registration renewal fees will be due as well. Those fees will also have accrued penalties. Registration and title transfer fees would normally be calculated based on the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) (.65% of vehicle value) and Use Tax (7.5%–10.25% depending on the county in which you reside




Is The Original Owner Responsible for Getting the Smog Check Before Transfer of Title?


The Seller (Original Owner) Is Responsible For The Smog Check. Section 24007 (b)(2) of the California Vehicle Code states it is the responsibility of the seller to provide a valid smog certificate before or during the sale of a vehicle.





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