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California DMV Registration Renewal Guide

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California DMV Registration Renewal Guide

California DMV Registration Renewal Guide

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It’s time to renew your California registration. Your two options are to head over to your local California DMV (CA DMV) or use the quicker, less frustrating alternative Car Registration.

Renewing Your Vehicle Registration with Car Registration

Don’t sit there dreading heading to the DMV. You don’t have to go! You can renew your vehicle registration online from the comfort of your home. To start the renewal process with Car, you’ll need the following information:

  • License plate number
  • The last 5 digits of your vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Zipcode where the vehicle is stored
  • Email address

Car Registration provides its services for the following vehicle types:

  • Passenger vehicles
  • Light trucks
  • Trailers
  • Motorcycles
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Boats and Personal Watercraft
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Off-road vehicles

Why choose Car Registration, Inc.? You can spend most of your day at the CA DMV if you would like. When you request to have your registration renewed at the CA DMV branch, you’ll be waiting several weeks to receive your new sticker. However, when you renew your registration with Car Registration, Inc., you’ll get a same-day copy of your new registration card, and you’ll receive your new sticker the next day.Be advised that the services Car Registration, Inc. provides are paid services. Although you may not be too excited about paying additional fees, you get the convenience of skipping long lines and getting quick delivery of your documents that you are required by law to have. We’d say it’s worth it.

Renewing Your Vehicle Registration at a California DMV Branch

Before we begin, let’s make sure you have what you need. To renew your vehicle registration at a CA DMV branch, you need to make sure you have the following:

  • Your license plate number
  • The last 5 digits of your vehicle identification number (VIN) or hull identification number (HIN) for a vessel or boat
  • A renewal notice that confirms your current address (if you moved, you will need to update your address at least 3 days BEFORE you can begin your renewal application)
  • Your payment information (all credit and debit card transactions include an additional 1.95% payment processing fee. If you are paying directly from your bank account, there are no additional fees.)

If you have Disabled Person Parking plates or placards, they must be renewed separately.

Renewing Your Registration Online

You can renew your registration only if you don’t have any unpaid traffic tickets or delinquency fees. This information will be posted on your renewal notice. To renew your vehicle registration online, you need to make sure you have the following information:

  • Your license plate number
  • The last 5 digits of your vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Proof of an active auto insurance policy on file with the CA DMV
  • Proof of smog certification on file with the CA DMV
  • Payment to cover applicable renewal fees (payment can be made using a credit, debit, ATM card, or checking account number)

Renewing Your Registration by Mail

To renew your registration by mail, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your registration renewal form (if your address was changed, you must print your new address on the form)
  • Proof of a valid auto insurance policy (if required)
  • Proof of smog inspection (if required)
  • Proof of payment of outstanding fees (if required)
  • Check or money order made payable to the DMV to pay all applicable fees

Mail the necessary documents and payment to the following address:Vehicle Registration OperationsDepartment of Motor VehiclesP.O. Box 942869Sacramento, CA 94269

Renew Your Registration by Phone

You can also renew your vehicle registration by phone if the following applies:

  • You have your vehicle registration renewal notice
  • Your registration renewal notice shows the correct address
  • You have no unpaid delinquency or ticket fees

If the above statements are true, call the CA DMV at (800) 777-0133. You will also need your renewal ID number (RIN) that is printed on your renewal notice. You may also be asked to provide the following:

  • Your vehicle identification number (VIN) – this information should be listed on your renewal notice
  • Proof of a valid auto insurance policy on file with the CA DMV
  • Proof of emissions certification on file with the DMV
  • Your license plate number
  • A credit or debit card to pay your renewal fee

Renewing Your Registration in Person

If you choose to renew your CA vehicle registration in person (or your renewal notice states that you must do so), you need to visit your local CA DMV branch with your renewal notice or your current registration certificate. You will also need the following:

  • Your valid CA driver’s license
  • A court clearance document that shows that any delinquent fees have been paid (if applicable)
  • Payment to cover the applicable renewal fees (payable by cash, check, money order, or debit/ATM card)

Be advised that you must renew your registration in person if you owe any delinquency fees or unpaid traffic tickets. If you haven’t received your renewal documents, you can check the status of your vehicle registration by contacting the CA DMV.

California Vehicle Registration Renewal Notice

The CA DMV will send you a renewal notice in advance of your registration’s expiration date. This notice will include the following information:

  • The date of your tag’s expiration
  • Renewal fees
  • Vehicle information
  • Emissions requirement
  • Delinquency fees

You are required to pay all delinquency or ticket fees listed on your renewal notice before renewing your registration. You will only be allowed to renew by mail or in person if you owe any extra fees.

What Happens if I Didn’t Receive a California Vehicle Renewal Notice?

If you didn’t receive a renewal notice in the mail you can contact your local CA DMV branch or call (800) 777-0133. To avoid missed renewal notices in the future, if you move, make sure you update your new address with the CA DMV.

California Registration Renewal Fees

The CA DMV provides an Online Fee Calculator to help you decipher your registration renewal fees. CA registration renewal fees vary based on the following factors:

  • The year, weight, and value of your vehicle
  • Special license plate fees
  • Local county or district fees
  • Delinquency fees, such as unpaid parking tickets, must be resolved before you can renew

Once you renew your vehicle registration, you may be eligible for a CA tax deduction on your vehicle license fee.

Late Fees, Penalties, and Fee Refunds

The CA DMV assesses fees and penalties for late renewals, as well as offers a renewal fee refund if you leave the state before your renewal period. The CA DMV does NOT offer a grace period for late renewals. If you miss the deadline, you will be subject to three types of late fees:

  • A percentage of your standard renewal
  • A flat late fee
  • A flat California Highway Patrol (CHP) late fee

Late fees are charged in addition to your regular renewal cost. These fees increase over time, making it more expensive the longer you delay.

Military Registration Renewal

If your vehicle’s CA registration expires soon and you are deployed as a member of the armed services, you may be eligible to delay payment until you return. To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a member of the Armed Forces, Armed Forces Reserve, or National Guard
  • Be temporarily deployed outside the state and engaged in combat or homeland defense purposes
  • Not be deployed solely for training, processing, or permanent change of station purposes
  • Be ONLY applying to have the fees that you incurred during your time of deployment waived

To have any late fees waived, you must visit your local CA DMV branch and follow the standard registration renewal procedure. We discussed this in the information above this section. You will also need to complete a Statment of Facts (Form REG 256), that indicates your active duty status and deployment dates.You have 60 days from the time your deployment is terminated to apply for a penalty waiver. For more information, you can contact the CA DMV at (800) 777-0133. It’s in your best interest to schedule an appointment with the CA DMV before visiting.

Non-Operational Vehicles in California

If you received a renewal notice for a vehicle that you do NOT plan on operating, such as a vehicle that you do not drive, have parked, stored, or have towed, on public roads for the entire registration year, you may apply for a Planned Non-Operation (PNO) status to avoid paying renewal fees.

Applying for Planned Non-Operation Status

To apply for PNO status, you are required to do so on or before the day your CA vehicle registration expires or apply up to 90 days after your registration expires and pay all accrued late fees.To apply, you must mark the designated PNO box on your renewal notice or:

  • Complete a PNO Certification (Form REG 102)
  • Complete an Affidavit of Non-Use (Form REG 5090), if you plan on cancelling your auto insurance policy.

You must mail your renewal notice or PNO Certification to the address provided on the documentation or mail it to the following address:Department of Motor VehiclesP.O. Box 942869Sacramento, CA 94269You can file for PNO status up to 60 days before your registration expires. You will receive a PNO notice every year, which you may ignore until you plan on operating your vehicle again.

Vehicle Moving Permit

You may apply for a vehicle moving permit that allows you to move or park a car on public streets for one day. This permit is intended to be used for instances, such as getting your emissions tested or moving a vehicle from one storage place to another. You will not be required to pay any fees as long as it’s only for the day.To apply, you must visit your local CA DMV branch, and do the following:

Regular Use Registration

You must re-register your vehicle if you plan on driving it. To do so, visit your local CA DMV branch and:

  • Follow the registration renewal steps described above
  • Pay all required renewal fees

Now you know how to renew your California vehicle registration at a CA DMV branch or with

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