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What Do I Need To Register My Car In California

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Michigan Car Registration Requirements

Registering Your Vehicle In California | All In One Vehicle Registration

A non-resident of Michigan may operate a vehicle for 90 days in the state. At any time beyond 90 days, you will need to register your vehicle. This also applies to military personnel on active duty. New Michigan residents must immediately title and register their vehicles.

To learn more about registering a car in Michigan, read our blog post: How to register a car in Michigan

How To Register A Car As A New California Resident

If youâre a new resident of California, youâll first need to head down to the local DMV office .

Youâll have to establish residency in order to register a car. A resident is in possession of a driverâs license or voter registration as proof, as well as California-based employment, tax exemption for a home in the state, or rent or lease for an apartment in-state. If youâre underage, youâll need to be enrolled as a dependent.

If youâre of voting age, youâll also re-register to vote in the state, with more information available on the Secretary of State website along with the voter registration application and specific county election details.

Once your residency is established as an official Californian, youâll need to submit an application for the title or registration. The terms and qualifications might be different depending on whether itâs a commercial vehicle or otherwise, but either way, youâll need to apply and bring proof of insurance. Youâll also need an out-of-state title if you are attempting to transfer your title to California. An out-of-state registration is also requested and a weight certification if required. Youâll need a smog certification, which should be updated every two years and is required within a certain timeframe, as well. If this smog test isnât done there will be fees and if it doesnât pass a smog test , consider it a junk car. A smog check isnât the only thing to be done ASAP by penalty of fees.

Get A Smog Certification If Your Car Isnt Exempt

Most cars require a certification from a STAR smog testing station. When you transfer ownership of a gas-powered vehicle that is four or less model years old, a smog certification is not required; however, a smog transfer fee is collected from the new owner. When a gas-powered vehicle that is more than four model years old or a diesel-powered vehicle that is a 1998 year-model or newer and has a GVW of 14,000 pounds or less is sold, the seller must obtain a smog certification for the transfer unless biennial smog certification was obtained within the last 90 days. The most popular type of vehicles which do not need to be smog tested include:

  • 1975 and older year-model and gas-powered.
  • 1997 and older year-model and diesel-powered.
  • Electric-powered vehicles

Read Also: Can I Register My Car Online Florida

How To Sell A Car In California

Whether you live in the Bay area, the Central Valley, Southern California, or the desert or mountains of Eastern California if you are thinking about privately selling your used car or truck, youve come to the right place. With an estimated 15 million registered trucks and cars in the state of California, it is no wonder that thousands of private car owners from the Golden State have used Autotrader to sell their car. Below, weve outlined below the 6 steps required to sell a car in the state of California. Remember, most U.S. states consider the vehicle title a legal document which is why it is advised to use the legal names of both parties involved along with legible handwriting using a black or blue ink. Mistakes, errors and using white out may void the document so be careful and take your time filling it out.

The Difference Between Title License And Registration

What Do I Need to Sell My Car? What If My Registration Has ...

License and registration, please. Sorry, we wanted to get your attention with a phrase that often includes a pair of flashing lights twinkling in your rearview mirror. When a police officer asks you for your license and registration, theyre usually referring to your drivers license and registration card.

Its important to understand the difference between a car title, a drivers license, license plates, and registration.

Car Registration: Everything You Need To Know

Buying a new car or truck is the fun part, but sorting through paperwork can be a daunting and time-consuming process. Car registration is a necessary element of vehicle purchase and ownership, no matter what youre buying or where you happen to live.

Rules and requirements can vary from state to state, or change based on the type of vehicle you drive. Generally speaking, however, the bulk of what you need to do to register a car remains the same. Well explain everything you need to know to make it seamless and simple to understand.

Miscellaneous Registration And Service Fees

Fee Type
Clean air vehicle sticker (VC
Varies by county
Non-resident service
Non-resident reregistration
Prejudgment attachment filing or certificate )
Prior history
Privately owned school bus registration/licensing education related $23
Transfer on death beneficiary designation
Total loss salvage/dismantled vehicle inspection
Total loss vehicle partial VLF refund service
Vehicle seized/sold to satisfy DMV lien up to $250
Zero emissions vehicle parking sticker

Pennsylvania Car Registration Requirements

If you are a non-resident in Pennsylvania and your vehicle is registered in another state, you don’t have to register it again. All new residents are required to apply for a Pennsylvania title and vehicle registration within 20 days of residing there.

To learn more about registering a car in Pennsylvania, read our blog post: How to register a car in Pennsylvania.

Your Car Insurance And Registration Need To Be From The Same State


Vehicle registrations and auto insurance can be tough to navigate, and you may find yourself asking: Can my car be registered in one state and insured in another?

No, your car cannot;be registered in one state and insured in another.;Generally, your car should be both registered and insured in your state of legal residence.;If you have recently moved, you have some time to switch your car insurance policy .

This article describes some of the common scenarios for having a car registered and insured in different states and explains how to switch your insurance when the time comes. If you need to make a switch, read our round-up of the best car insurance companies and compare quotes using the tool below.;

Florida Car Registration Requirements

In Florida, you have 10 days to register your out-of-state car after you’ve moved there. To be considered a resident of Florida, you must be employed in the state, have your child enrolled in public schools, or have established a living address. To learn more about registering a car in Florida, read our blog post: How to register a car in Florida.

How Do I Find Out When My Motor Vehicle Registration Expires

Finding out when your registration expires is easy. Below i will list the ways to find out:

  • Look at the top of your reg card it will tell you the date your registration period expires on
  • Look at your titles your titles also indicates when your registration period goes until
  • Look at your DMV registrations renewal it indicates the date of expiration.
Registration Card

How To Register An Out Of State Car In California

This article was written by Jennifer Mueller, JD. Jennifer Mueller is an in-house legal expert at wikiHow. Jennifer reviews, fact-checks, and evaluates wikiHow’s legal content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. She received her JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 172,480 times.

You may have recently moved to California from another state. Or, you may already live in California, but you bought a car in another state. In either case, you’ll need to follow California’s procedure for registering an out-of-state car. There are a few additional steps to registering an out-of-state car that don’t apply to cars bought in the state of California.XResearch source

Alabama Car Registration Requirements

How do i renew my car registration in pa

Non-residents of Alabama must register their vehicles within 30 days of entering Alabama. Drivers must have the car’s title and proof of previous vehicle registration to purchase a new vehicle registration. Unless you are in college or the military, your vehicle must be inspected.Sponsored Link: Save time and money on insurance with Esurance. Get a quote online now.

California Smog Checks And Inspections

Just about every vehicle in CA needs to pass a smog inspection before they are able to be registered in California. Some areas of California require that a person’s vehicle pass a smog test every two years. New cars less than six years old will be charged with a $20 smog fee for the first six years rather than having to pass smog inspections.

The list of vehicles below are exempt from smog inspections:

  • New vehicles under four years old.
  • Hybrids and electric cars.
  • Trailers.

Are You A New Resident To The State Of California

In order to complete your California Registration, you will need to complete your residency documentation. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, in order to establish residency you must fit one or more of the following criteria: Have been in the state for 6 months or longer, have a CA drivers license or ID, have a job within CA, are registered to vote within CA, renting an apartment or home within CA, or you own a home and have a property tax exemption.

Once you have established residency, you will have 20 days to register your vehicle or else you will incur late fees. The documentation you will need for registering your vehicle is:

  • If you own your vehicle: the vehicles Out-of-State title

  • A California Smog Certificate

  • A completed VIN Inspection. This will need to be filled out by a DMV employee, a California certified inspector, or police officer and is used to verify that your vehicle is compliant with the state standards.

  • Your out-of-state license plate is only required if you did not need to return them to the previous issuing state or they are expired.

Recommendations And Things To Consider:

  • To avoid extensive wait times at the DMV make an appointment online at your local DMV office or give your local field office a call. With COVID-19 closing some DMVs, appointments may not be available in your area at this time.

  • Be prepared to pay the taxes and fees associated with registration

  • Be proactive with the registration process to avoid any late fee, tickets from the California Highway Patrol, and reduce the possibility of losing any of the required documents. If your title becomes lost or damaged prior to the registration process you will need to apply for a new one.

  • Purchasing A Vehicle From A Car Dealership

    CA residents with out-of-state license plates must pay

    With vehicles purchased from a dealership, the dealership will generally take care of all registration paperwork for you, and issue you a temporary registration certificate for you to keep in your car until your official registration arrives from the CA DMV. They may or may not issue license plates ask your dealership beforehand what their specific process is.

    What Is Car Registration

    Car registration allows a state to keep track of the vehicles driven by its residents. Typically, you pay a fee to the state you live in, give them information about yourself and your car, give proof of ownership and proof of insurance coverage, pass any necessary safety and emissions inspections, and receive proof that your car has been registered usually a registration card, registration stickers, and license plates. Registration usually expires every year or two, at which point youll need to renew. It is illegal to drive an unregistered vehicle on public roads.

    Car registration refers to both the act of registering your car, and the documents that prove the car is registered.

    Circumstances That Require Additional Paperwork

    You will be required to provide additional documents if your new vehicle meets the criteria listed below:

  • The vehicle is over 4 years old and did NOT receive a smog certification in the previous 90 days.
  • Provide a valid smog certificate.
  • The vehicle did NOT require a smog certification for transfer, yet received one within the last 90 days.
    • Gas vehicles manufactured in 1976 or later.
    • Diesel vehicles with a GVWR of under 14,001 pounds, made in 1998 or later.
  • The most recent out of state title.
  • Most recent registration certificate or current renewal notice to verify the names of the owner and registration expiration date.
  • A Verification of Vehicle form completed by a DMV employee, police officer, or CA-licensed verifier.
  • The vehicles out-of-state license plates.
  • Payment for the applicable fees.
  • Submit these items to your local DMV field office.

    Vehicle Registration For Ca Military Residents

    California residents who are stationed outside of California can register your vehicle in whatever state you are currently stationed in, and then register it in California when you return to the state.

    CA military members stationed within the state, or non-resident military members who register their vehicles with the CA DMV, are eligible for a vehicle license fee exemption. To obtain the exemption, submit the following to the CA;Department of Motor Vehicles:

    • Fill out and submit one of the following vehicle license fee exemption forms:

    Why Do You Need To Register A Car In California

    Do I need to do a smog test if my car is a 2013 in ...

    Registering a car serves one primary purpose. It establishes a formal link between a vehicle on the road and its legal owner. Having this on record with a governmental entity, and carrying your registration in your vehicle, can be required by a state for a variety of reasons, but the big ones are:

    • Taxation: This is usually through the administration of a property tax. Knowing who the owner of the vehicle provides a means to determine to whom a tax bill should be assessed.
    • Safety: This is determined through a mandated inspection process. Having unsafe vehicles on the road is a threat to others. Registering a vehicle means that there is a record of an inspection process that ensures major vehicle systems such as brakes, lights, and other components are in working order.
    • Track or prevent criminal activity: Having a governmental record of who owns a vehicle is useful in case there are questions of ownership and it improves the ability to track illicit sales if a car is stolen.

    What Youll Need To Register Your Vehicle At The California Dmv

    ;A completed Application for Title or Registration including:

    • Signatures of all owners

    ;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

    • 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 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

    ;$58 registration fee + $25 California Highway Patrol fee + Transportation Improvement Fee, which is assessed as follows, based on the value of your vehicle:

    You can also register your vehicle online here. You will need to provide your drivers’ license number, a payment method and the last 5 digits of your car’s VIN.

    How Do I Pay For My Dmv Registration Renewal

    The California DMV has made it easier for customers to renew their Department of Motor Vehicles vehicle registration by providing multiple ways to pay for and pick up their stickers. You can do it in person, online, or via mail. The choices to renew your registration are varied in 2021. Here are a few ways you can get it done, from best/quickest, to worst/slowest:

  • Renew online through the DMVs website:;The DMV does have an option for you to renew your motor vehicle tags online. Their website has the capability to allow its customers to log-in to their website and renew the registration online. Again, like any service the DMV offers directly, there is no fee. However, their service is NOT instant. They will collect your money instantly, but the sticker is not issued right away. In addition, you have to have an email, create a username and a password, and provide private information . The registration process can be a pain. Heres the link to their online portal:;DMV online portal.
  • How To Complete Your Vehicle Registration Renewal In California

    The process of registration renewal is a pretty simple process that can be done online in a majority of cases. About 60 days before your registration is set to expire, you should receive a renewal notice in the mail.

    The renewal notice should have:

    • Name and Address

    • Options for completing your renewal: Online, By mail, phone

    In some cases, it will also include:

    • Manufacturer recalls that need to be corrected

    • Smog Check that need to be completed

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