California Car Registration
Need to register your car in California? We've collected helpful information that will save you some time, and we offer links to resources that will get you going in the right direction. Select from the options below to get started.
Online application assistance can simplify the process for many DMV related services, including: renewing your license, applying for a license, registering a vehicle, replacing your license, changing your address and more. In addition to the free forms and general instructions available from the DMV offices or websites, you will receive a comprehensive Easy Guide" containing information relevant to your service needs. Where possible, we will prepare your DMV forms and/or provide links to DMV online services. Via our partners at Road America, you will also receive 30 days of both emergency Roadside Assistance and the Repair Assist consultation service. In addition, you will be able to take advantage of a free membership to DMV Advisors, a state-specific help desk prepared to answer any driver-related questions or concerns you may have. Other benefits include an ongoing monthly newsletter and a quarterly magazine covering important updates that affect drivers, important safety tips and ways to save money on vehicle-related services.
2: By mail, if eligible
Some drivers prefer to handle the renewal process by mail, rather than taking advantage of assistance services, visiting the DMV in person, or via available online services. Service by mail is available with limitations. Read below for additional details or visit your local DMV.
3: Via a local DMV office
If you prefer to access DMV services in person or your specific needs require an in-person visit, most, if not all, driver license services can be handled at a physical DMV office location. Varying DMV offices sometimes supply different types of services so you will need to check before your visit to make sure the DMV closest to you provides the service you require. In addition, you can call to see if your local DMV allows you to make a personal appointment. Read more below to see if an in-person visit is either preferred or required.
New California Car Registration
If you have purchased your vehicle through a dealership then they will perform all necessary registration tasks. But if you have just bought or been gifted a car any other way, or become an official resident, you are expected to register your vehicle as soon as possible. For a list of all DMV offices make sure to visit California Vehicle Registration Home Page.
Visit car-registration.org for a step-by-step guide to obtaining a new California car registration.
Renewing Your California Vehicle Registration
Renewing your registration is an easy process in California, as you are given option of renewing in person, online, or via mail.
California allows some drivers to renew their registration online, provided that they meet the certain state requirements. In order to register online, visit California Vehicle Registration Home Page and follow the instructions given.
To renew your California tag in-person, visit California Vehicle Registration Home Page for a list of DMV offices in the state of California. You will also be required to present the last five digits of your vehicle’s VIN number, a verification of your updated address (if needed), license plate number, and your bank routing and checking number, MasterCard or Visa credit or debit card to pay the relevant fees. Also, make sure your Smog certification has been filed with the DMV.
You are only eligible to renew your tag mail if you’re out of state or can’t make it into an office. To renew by mail, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/forms/reg/reg343.pdf to download the appropriate form. You be required to present the last five digits of your vehicle’s VIN number, a verification of your updated address (if needed), license plate number, and payment for the relevant fees.
Replacing Your California Car Registration
Losing your registration can be a pain, but if you live in California it is easily fixable. You can apply for a duplicate registration in person at any DMV office, online, or by mail.
To replace your registration online you will need to visit http://dmv.ca.gov/portal/home/dmv.htm. Make sure to have available your license plate number (and the co-owner's if applicable) and other personal information such as Social Security number and your date of birth as well as a MasterCard or Visa credit or debit card to pay the relevant fees.
If you would rather renew your California vehicle registration by mail, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/forms/reg/reg156.pdf to download the necessary form. Have the following information on hand to make the application process easy:
- The owner’s (and the co-owner’s if applicable) name
- License plate number
- Vehicle’s VIN number
- Lienholder’s information if vehicle is financed
In California, you can also head into your local DMV office to apply for a duplicate registration certificate. You will be asked to provide the owner’s (and the co-owner's if applicable) name, address, license plate number, the vehicle’s VIN number, and lienholder’s information (if vehicle is financed). For a list of DMV offices, visit http://dmv.ca.gov/portal/home/dmv.htm.
Changing Your Address