Here's the ultimate guide to registering your vehicle at the California DMV. We've simplified the entire process for you so you can save time.
What You’ll Need
📌 A completed Application for Title or Registration (Form REG 343) including:
- Signatures of all owners
- Lienholder information (if applicable)
📌 Proof of vehicle ownership and mileage
- Vehicle title, which must include odometer mileage if vehicle is less than 10 years old
📌 Proof of vehicle insurance
📌 Valid smog inspection certificate (if applicable)
- Provided by seller
- Valid if issued within past 90 days
- Required if vehicle is more than four years old
- Not required if:
- Previous owner renewed the registration (for two years) within 90 days of the vehicle sale
- Vehicle is hybrid or electric
- Vehicle is gas-powered and made before 1975 or diesel-powered and made before 1997
- Vehicle is a motorcycle
📌 Out-of-state title and registration (if applicable)
📌 $58 registration fee + $25 California Highway Patrol fee + Transportation Improvement Fee, which is assessed as follows, based on the value of your vehicle:
- $25 for vehicles valued @ $0-$4,999
- $50 for vehicles valued @ $5,000-$24,999
- $100 for vehicles valued @ $25,000-$34,999
- $150 for vehicles valued @ $35,000-$59,999
- $175 for vehicles valued @ >$60,000
What You’ll Do
If you purchased your vehicle from a car dealership...
- Step 1: Sit back and relax! The dealership will handle all the registration paperwork and fees for you
- Receive your temporary registration certificate from the dealership
- Determine whether dealership also provides license plates; if not, visit the DMV to obtain them
- Step 2: Receive your official registration certificate and registration stickers from the CA DMV via U.S. mail
If you purchased your vehicle from a private individual...
- Step 1: Within 10 days of purchase, visit your nearest CA DMV office (optional: make an appointment!)
- Bring your vehicle - a DMV employee will perform a physical inspection and VIN verification
- Provide required documents and ID
- Pay the required fees
- Receive your registration certificate, license plates, and registration stickers
- Step 2: Make sure your registration stickers are properly affixed to your license plates
- Step 3: Hit the road and drive!
Caveats and Exceptions
Request this full checklist, including caveats and exceptions, for free by email:
📌 Hit the blue chat button in the bottom corner! If we're not here we'll email you back as soon as possible!
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