California Motorcycle Registration
Many new motorcycle owners don't know what the rules and procedures are in regards to Motorcycle Registration in California. There are important things to know when registering your bike for the first time or renewing motorcycle registrations.
For bikers, there's no other feeling like the freedom of driving down the open road, feeling the wind and listening to the powerful roar of their engine.
In order to stay on the road and enjoy your motorcycle, you will have to make sure your vehicle is properly registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
On this page, we will cover how to register your vehicle for the first time, how to register a vehicle that came from out-of-state, and how to renew your motorcycle's registration.
First Time Registration
So, you just bought a gorgeous new bike and you're wondering how to go about registering it? The answer depends on whether the bike was purchased from a dealership or if it was a private purchase.
If your bike was purchased at a dealership, you're in luck. The majority of the time a dealership will take care of all of the registration paperwork for you. They will even issue you temporary registration to carry until your official registration documents arrive from the DMV.
If you bought your bike used from a private party, you will have to handle the title transfer and registration yourself at your local DMV. Make sure you do this within 10 days of purchasing the vehicle so you do not have to pay any late fees.
To avoid long wait times at the DMV, it is recommended that you make an appointment.
Bring the following to your appointment:
After you have registered your motorcycle, you will be issued your registration certificate, plates, and stickers.
If you are new to California or purchased your vehicle out-of-state, you will have to follow a slightly different procedure than the one described above. It is important to note that new California residents must register vehicle within 20 days of establishing residency to avoid being penalized.
To complete your registration, head to your local DMV (an appointment is recommended) and submit:
After the process is complete, you will receive your new plates, registration certificate, and stickers.
Each year, the DMV will send you a renewal notice reminding you to renew your motorcycle's registration. To keep your bike road legal, you will need to renew your registration in person, by mail, by phone, or online.
- In Person: Show up at your local DMV with your renewal notice, your license, and payment to cover the fees. You will be issued your new registration certificate and stickers before you leave the office.
- By Mail: Collect your renewal notice, a copy of your proof of insurance, and a check made out to the DMV and mail it to: Vehicle Registration Operations, Department of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 942869, Sacramento, CA 94269-0001. You will receive your new registration certificate and stickers in the mail.
- By Phone: Have your Vehicle Identification Number (located on your notice), your license plate number, and a payment method (credit/debit card) ready and call (800) 921-1117. You will receive your new registration certificate and stickers in the mail.
- Online: Your renewal notice will state whether or not you are eligible for online registration renewal. Online renewal requires both proof of insurance and smog certification on file with the DMV. You will need your Vehicle Identification Number and payment (credit/debit card) to complete the online renewal process. After you complete the process, you will receive your new registration and stickers via mail. If you need your registration right away, you will want to use CaReg (more info below).
Renewing Online CaReg
CaReg, officially licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, is an online service that offers a quick, easy, and efficient alternative to DMV renewal options. Don't get caught waiting in line at the DMV or waiting a week or even two for your registration to be delivered. CaReg online renewal services offers a same day E-copy of your registration so you will not get stuck driving with an expired registration card. We also offer next business day delivery if you need your official hard copy fast.
Did you lose your registration notice? Don't worry about it. You won't need it to complete the CaReg renewal process. CaReg requires only a few simple steps for you to renew your motorcycle registration so you can spend your time on the open road instead of at the DMV.