Frequently asked questions
What are my Fees?
What forms do I need to bring?
How can I Transfer the title of my vehicle? What document I need to use in the transfer process?
What DMV transactions require a VIN verification to be completed?
What Applications do I need for PERSONALIZED, SPECIAL INTEREST, HANDICAP PLATES?
What form do I need for VESSEL, BOAT & OFF HIGHWAY VEHICLES?
What is a LIEN SALE?
How often do I need a smog check?
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?
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?
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.
- 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.
I received the registration renewal notice for a car I sold. What should I do?
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).
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.
To avoid theft:
Can I renew my registration early. If so, how?
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.
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).
I Did Not Receive My 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
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?
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