If you’re new to California or have just purchased a vehicle in California, here are the simple steps you need to know to quickly register your vehicle in California.
Moving to California with a Vehicle?
If you’ve just moved to California, you’re supposed to register your vehicle within 20 days of becoming a resident. So, you’ll need to go into your local DMV office and register in person. You should make an appointment at your local DMV office first.
Then you’ll need to fill out the Application for Title or Registration, ensure that all registered owners sign the form, provide proof of vehicle insurance, and a smog and emission certificate.
For the smog and emission certification, the majority of California zip codes require a smog check, and you need to have your smog check done before you can register your vehicle. Here’s a list of where you can get your smog check in California.
You’ll need to bring your out-of-state title to your appointment. However, if you’re applying for a California title, this is not required. It’s a good idea to bring your out-of-state registration renewal paper or letter.
Buying a Vehicle in California from a Dealership?
Most dealerships will take care of all the registration needs for you and give you a temporary registration certificate. Ask your dealership about this!
Buying a Vehicle in California from an Individual?
If you buy from an individual (not a dealership) you have 10 days to register it at your local DMV office. You’ll need the vehicle title, odometer reading, valid smog certificate, and a completed Application for Title or Registration. If you cannot locate the title you can apply for a duplicate here.
More California DMV Questions?
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