Online Vehicle Registration Service Licensed by the California DMV
If you just bought a car in California or recently moved here from another state, you are going to need to register your vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in order to legally operate your vehicle. This page will tell you what documents you need to need to bring to the DMV to complete the registration process and what fees you can expect to pay.
California Vehicle Registration
If you bought your car at a dealership, they will generally take care of the entire registration process for you. You will be issued temporary registration to use until your permanent registration card and stickers arrive in the mail from the DMV. Check with the dealership before purchase to be sure that they register vehicles. If they don't, then you will have to follow the process described below.
Buying a car from a private party makes the registration process a little more complicated. You will have 10 days from your vehicle purchase to register your vehicle with the DMV (or face late fees). Your initial registration can only be done in person at the DMV, so make an appointment and submit the following documentation:
After a DMV employee completes your vehicle's VIN inspection, you will be issued your registration card, stickers, and plates.
Vehicle Registration Fees
There are a number of different fees that can be charged during registration. Each case is different. These fees will be charged during your car purchase if you buy from a dealer. You must pay the DMV directly if you purchased your vehicle from a private party.
The fees that are required from ALL vehicles include:
Registration Fee: $46
California Highway Patrol Fee: $23
The DMV offers a Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator that allows current and new residents of California to estimate their registration fees.
It is important to note that late fees will be applied if you do not register your vehicle within 10 days of purchasing it from a private party. A late fee will also be applied if you do not register your vehicle with the DMV within 20 days of establishing residency in California.
You will be required to renew your vehicle registration annually. The DMV will send you a renewal notice in advance of your registration expiration. This notice will list your renewal options which generally include: renewal in person, by mail, by phone, or online.
You may also choose to renew your registration with CaReg. CaReg is officially licensed by the DMV and provides quick and easy DMV transactions online.
For more detail on how to renew your registration, visit our "Renew California Vehicle Registration" page.