Registration Application

California Registration Application Laws

In the state of California there are laws concerning the registration of a vehicle. The excerpts below will tell you all you need to know about registering a car in California!

  • Application for original or renewal registration for vehicles and motorcycles is made to the DMV.
  • Application for initial registration or transfer of registration must be accompanied with a valid certificate of compliance with state air pollution control measures.
  • Registration card (or facsimile) issued upon registration must be carried with the vehicle and must be presented upon demand to any peace officer.
  • DMV may suspend, cancel, or revoke registration of a vehicle when notified by an insurance company that coverage has been canceled and when sufficient notice to insured has been given by the insurance company. DMV must give the owner at least 45 days’ notice of intent to suspend, cancel, or revoke registration.
  • DMV will not accept application for registration if the vehicle is not in the state unless the DMV is satisfied, at the time all documents and fees are submitted, that the vehicle will be registered to a resident of California.
  • DMV must refuse original, renewal, or transfer of registration if the application contains a false or fraudulent statement, fees have not been paid, the vehicle has failed emissions standards, evidence of financial responsibility has not been provided, or applicable use tax has not been paid.
  • DMV must refuse renewal registration for delinquent parking violations or failure to pay a lawfully imposed fine, penalty, or bail.
  • There is no period of grace for late registrations.
  • DMV will waive all registration renewal late payment penalties on a vehicle which is registered to a member of the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve or National Guard who is called to active service or active duty out of the state.

More information about vehicle registrations in California can be found on California’s DMV website. This includes new registrations, renewals, smog inspections, updating registration information, titles, fees, insurance requirements, license plates and more.

This article about California Registration Application Laws was last updated in 2024. If any of our information is incomplete or outdated please let us know. Thank you!