How Do I Register My Vehicle with the California Dmv?

You need to register your vehicle with the California DMV if you buy a new car or if you become a California resident. You will have to conduct your California DMV vehicle registration in person at the DMV initially. There are documents you have to submit and fees you have to pay.

The California Registry of Motor Vehicles is responsible for all vehicle matters in the State of California including issuing driving licenses. The California DMV is also the regulator for car dealerships, cargo carriers, driving and traffic schools.

If you have just bought a new car in California or you recently moved to California from another state, then you will have to register your vehicle with the California DMV. Read on to find out exactly what you need to provide the DMV with so as to operate your vehicle legally.

California Vehicle Registration

When you purchase a car from a dealership in California, they will handle the registration process for you. They will hand you a temporary registration though. Your permanent registration card and stick will be sent to you by mail by the California DMV and should arrive shortly. However, you should ask the dealership if they conduct vehicle registrations before buying a car from them because if they do not, you will have to register the vehicle yourself.

It is crucial to know that buying a vehicle privately slightly complicates the registration process. If you buy your car from a private entity then you have 10 days from the date of purchase to register your vehicle failure to which you will be subject to late fees.

Your initial vehicle registration has to be done in person at the California DMV. You will have to make an appointment and bring along several documents including a completed application for title or registration otherwise known as a Form REG 343. Additionally, you will need to submit a smog certificate if the vehicle is 4 years or older and the vehicle's mileage if it is 10 years old or less.

Whilst at the DMV, a DMV employee will conduct a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) inspection. When they are finished, they will hand you your registration card, stickers, and your license plates.

New California Resident Vehicle Registration

Once you officially become a resident of California, you have 20 days to register your vehicle with the California DMV or risk paying late fees. The documents you will need to bring to the DMV include a completed application for title or registration otherwise known as a Form REG 343, the vehicle's out-of-state title and registration, proof of insurance and a valid smog certificate.

Whilst at the DMV, a DMV employee will conduct a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) inspection. When they are finished, they will hand you your registration card, stickers, and your license plates.

California DMV Vehicle Registration Fees

Whether registering a new vehicle or registering a vehicle as a new California resident, there are fees to be paid. There are a number of different fees that can be charged during registration.

If you buy the vehicle from a dealership, the fees will be charged during your purchase. If you buy it from a private party, you must pay the fees at the DMV.

There are two fees that must be paid and include a $46 Registration Fee and a $23 California Highway Patrol Fee. The California DMV website has a Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator that helps California residents estimate their registration fees. Therefore you can know how much you need to bring with you to the DMV while registering your vehicle. Late fees will be paid as per the terms stated above.

Registration Renewal

You will need to renew your vehicle registration every year. The DMV will notify you in advance of the registration's expiry date. You can renew it in person, by mail, by phone, or online.

If you have any problems renewing your registration, you can contact the California DMV directly.

How Do I Register My Vehicle with the California Dmv?

Why Did GetHuman Write "How Do I Register My Vehicle with the California Dmv?"?

After thousands of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV/RMV) customers came to GetHuman in search of an answer to this problem (and many others), we decided it was time to publish instructions. So we put together How Do I Register My Vehicle with the California Dmv? to try to help. It takes time to get through these steps according to other users, including time spent working through each step and contacting California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV/RMV) if necessary. Best of luck and please let us know if you successfully resolve your issue with guidance from this page.

Why does GetHuman Write How-to Guides for California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV/RMV) Problems?

GetHuman has been working for over 10 years on sourcing information about big organizations like California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV/RMV) in order to help customers resolve customer service issues faster. We started with contact information and fastest ways to reach a human at big companies. Particularly ones with slow or complicated IVR or phone menu systems. Or companies that have self-serve help forums instead of a customer service department. From there, we realized that consumers still needed more detailed help solving the most common problems, so we expanded to this set of guides, which grows every day. And if you spot any issues with our How Do I Register My Vehicle with the California Dmv? guide, please let us know by sending us feedback. We want to be as helpful as possible. If you appreciated this guide, please share it with your favorite people. Our free information and tools is powered by you, the customer. The more people that use it, the better it gets.

California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV/RMV)

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