How to Register a Car in California if You’re From Out-of-State

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If you take a job in California, become a resident, or rent an apartment, you have 10 days to register your vehicle. If you are just “visiting” in CA, you technically don’t have to register your vehicle or get a CA driver’s license as long as your home state or home country’s license and registration is valid.

Step 1)

Visit a local DMV office. You should make an appointment for faster service(you can make an appointment directly on the website). This will allow you to just walk right in on your appointment day and avoid the line.

Step 2)

While at the DMV, you will need to fill out form REG 343 – Application for Title or Registration. This application is also available on the DMV website here:

All registered owners of the vehicle will have to sign this form. If the car is owned by a Bank or other lien holder, you will have to provide their contact information.

Step 3)

Bring the original title of the car, in the state where it was last issued. The DMV associate will need to look at this.

Step 4)

Bring the registration certificate of the state where your car was registered last.

Step 5)

If your car is less than 10 model years old, you will need to fill out the Odometer Disclosure Statement at the DMV.

Step 6)

Your car will have to be inspected by an authorized DMV employee. These inspections do not have the strictest guidelines and there is no fee for having this done. For faster service, I recommend having an appointment!

Step 7)

There may be a smog certification required, but that depends on your vehicle type. Also, if you are registering a truck with a weight of over 6,000 pounds, you will be required to get a weight certification.

Step 8)

Lastly, pay the required fees. The amount of fees varies and can range anywhere from $50 and up. A vehicle registration fee calculator can be found on the DMV’s website located here:

Also remember to renew your registration every calendar year, this can now be done online in most cases on the California DMV website.

Also remember to get your car tested for smog certification if needed.


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