File Transfer Process FTP using the Virtual Private Network VPN Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

General FAQ

What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

A VPN creates an encrypted virtual tunnel over the Internet from your company to the DMV to allow for the sending and receiving of files in a secure manner to prevent hackers from obtaining sensitive data.


What is the DMV’s VPN project?

The DMV VPN project allows customers of the DMV the ability to send and receive files utilizing File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to and from the DMV thru a VPN over the internet. The primary goal of the DMV VPN Project is to provide DMV customers with an expedient way to send and receive data with the DMV.


What is not included in the DMV VPN Project?

The DMV VPN Project is not a search engine; it does not open the DMV Database to access the data arbitrarily for information such as names, addresses, driver license information (DL).  The DMV VPN Process is not a; web based, “click-the-link and receives a report”, type of process. 


What is the VPN client?

The VPN client is a Windows based application installed on a personal computer to establish a VPN tunnel.


What is a Router to Router VPN connection?

A Router to Router VPN connection is one in which the VPN tunnel is created by a router at your company and a router at DMV. Then, when you need to send files to the DMV, all you need to do is to open up your favorite File Transfer Protocol (FTP) software and send and receive files.


What will the VPN cost my company and what programming effort is needed in order to use the VPN?

The VPN client and the router-to-router VPN are distributed to our customers at no cost. 


What kind of data can I get with this project?

The DMV collects vehicle registration data and driver license data. Depending on your company’s needs you will be granted either or both data types.  


I want to send data to the DMV. How do I create the records that I need to put in my DMV file?

Some customers have programmers create programs so they can create the records for the DMV. Others simply use Excel or Word programs to create the records in the correct format.


I submitted my Questionnaire to the DMV’s Information Services Branch (ISB) now what?

DMV’s ISB will review your Questionnaire for completeness and insure all necessary contract paperwork is current. They will then FAX your completed Questionnaire to the DMV’s Production Support Unit (PST) where it will be assigned to a technical analyst. You should be contacted within two weeks of submitting your Questionnaire to the DMV.


Who do I call at the DMV if I have general Questions about the VPN project?

Before submitting any paper work you can contact the DMV ISB at (916) 657-5582 for any general questions. For specific technical questions you can contact DMV PST at (916) 657-8861.


Does DMV process on holidays and what are the state holidays?

 DMV does not process on state holidays. To get a copy of the state holidays you can go to . This page is updated annually to reflect the current holiday schedule. 


I have a vendor who does all of my processing for me, can I just have him call you?

The DMV would be more than happy to work with your vendor. The only thing we are prohibited from doing is giving User IDs and passwords directly to your vendor. However, it is perfectly acceptable for you to give your vender those credentials. The DMV’s ISB will provide you with a third party authorization form to complete.


Implementation FAQ

Which should I choose the VPN client or router to router solution?

To decide which VPN technology to employ you must look at several things. From the technical standpoint, if you do not have the prerequisite router hardware (see the VPN Client Manual) then you have to use the VPN client. From a business standpoint, removing one layer (the client software) allows for a more automated transfer (such as a Mainframe batch job sending and receiving files). If you are an infrequent user of the process, then the VPN client would be more practical to use.


What File Transfer Protocol client software should I select?

The DMV does not suggest or promote one FTP client over the other. We have found that certain FTP clients involve a certain amount of configuration due to configuration of the DMV’s FTP server but it is minimal.


What is a requestor code and why do I need it?

A requestor code is a five digit code the DMV assigns to each customer that wants to share data with the DMV. This code allows access to DMV data. Access is determined by business need and assigned by the DMV’s Accounts Processing Unit (APU). 


What is the expected timeframe in setting up VPN and eventually start submitting files to DMV?

Based on the type of VPN technology you will use and issuance of security access, the setup may take up to 3 to 6 weeks.


Technical FAQ

Data Questions

What is a VR Non-Urgent Inquiry?

Customers can send vehicle registration data and receive back vehicle registration data, such as who owns the car, their address, status of the cars title, etc.


What is Tape Image and Card Image (VR Inquiry)?

Although the names are misleading, tape image and card image are vehicle registration inquiry formats (input and output). For customers needing basic information such as registered owner name and address, card image is the appropriate format to choose. While customers wishing more detailed information should choose tape image. The Non-Urgent VR Inquiry Manual (blue color, available by calling ISB) gives an in depth view.  


My VR inquiry did not return many record matches, what can I do to improve the match rate?

Often by removing the year and make you will improve the match rate of your inquiry.


What is a Driver License Inquiry?

By sending in some basic information (driver license number, the first three characters of the last name and your requestor code) you will receive back drivers license record information from the DMV.


What is a Soundex Search (SS) DL Inquiry and why would I use it?

If you want to find a person’s driver license record but you don’t have their driver license number, then by supplying some basic data elements (such as complete name, and date of birth) you can then submit an SS inquiry to obtain DL information.


I currently receive Jury Extract information on tape can I receive this information through VPN?

Yes, the Jury Extract output file is produced twice a year during the first Saturday of the month for the months of April and October only.


What is Employer Pull Notice (EPN) program and where can I receive additional general information on this program?

The EPN program allows your organization to monitor DL records of employees who drive on your organization’s behalf.  For general information on this program, please visit or contact the DMV EPN unit at, (916) 657-6346.


How do I print the driver record generated from the EPN process?

The purpose of EPN via VPN is to eliminate the need for paper.  The California Highway Patrol permits use of the electronic version of the driver record, however, to meet their requirement, the electronic driver record must stay electronic, be unalterable, and must identify who saw it and when.  If you must print it, it must be presented in the familiar record format.  DMV ISB unit will send you a template to use in printing the record. Prior to going into production you must submit a sample of a printed record to DMV ISB if you decide you wish to print your driver records.  


Why is it recommended that I have 100 or more EPN drivers? 

The process for VPN connectivity is lengthy and will require a group effort to establish the connectivity involving expertise representing your business needs and rules, as well as your technical and data security experts.  Having more than 100 drivers will ensure you are using the VPN system more effectively.  The fewer drivers you have the less effective VPN will be for your company; therefore, it will not be cost-effective for your company or organization.  There is another option of using the services of a third-party agent to provide the services to handle your EPN-related business.  If however, you feel the use of VPN is still beneficial, ISB will be more than happy to assist you along the way. 


Why are there EPN file created on Saturday?

For EPN customers, if a driver does not generate an activity printout during any given 12-month period, a Saturday output file will generate as appropriate.  This output file contains what is generally called the annual driver record.  If you made inquiries and/or added or deleted drivers on Friday, you will receive the output files for the inquiries and added drivers on Monday. 


I got an email that a DL inquiry output file was ready for pickup, but I didn’t send anything to the DMV, what’s up? 

Whenever one of your drivers receive some type of activity (i.e., moving violation, accident, medical certification expiring, driver license expiring, etc), this will generate activity records that will result in a DL inquiry output file.


VPN Client Questions

What if I have my own VPN CISCO Client Software?

You can use your already installed VPN client software. DMV will provide a PDF file to load on your PC. The DMV analyst will e-mail it to you.


VPN Router to Router Questions

I want to implement the router to router solution, now what do I need to do?

Be sure to return your VPN Questionnaire and answer the Questions pertaining to router to router. Shortly after receiving your Questionnaire the DMV technical analyst will schedule a conference call with you. At this conference call the DMV will ask for your public and private router Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, and a network contact person. Please have this information ready. After the conference call the DMV will generate a service request and within four week to six weeks a Network analyst will contact you to establish your router to router tunnel.  


Password Questions Client and FTP Server

Why do I need two user IDs and passwords if I use the VPN client software?

When using the DMV VPN product, you are actually using two separate systems. The first system uses a RADIUS server to authenticate you. The second system, the FTP server, also requires credential authentication.


What is a “default” password for the FTP Server?

The default password is used only for the FTP server. The first time you logon or anytime you have your password reset you will be required to use the default password to establish a new password. You cannot log onto the system using just the default password, you must establish a new password at logon.


Can a previous FTP password be used again?

You cannot reuse a previous FTP password for at least 32 iterations.


How many logon attempts to the FTP server do I have?

You have five attempts before you are locked out.


Why does the cursor not move when I enter the FTP password?

The DMV server does not move your cursor as you enter your password. Careful attention should be given to enter each letter/number correctly.

Will I be notified when my password is about to expire or already has expired?

Notifications and warnings will notbe given if your password is about to expire or if it has already expired.


How do I change an expired FTP password?

If your password has expired you can contact DMV’s Mainframe Operations Team (MOT) at (916) 657-7915 and they will reset your password. They do not know your default password. If you have forgotten your default password, please contact DMV’s Data Guidance Team (DGT) at (916) 657-5959 and they will forward you to the DMV PST for resolution.  


Email Notification Questions

When I receive my e-mail notification from DMV, does that mean that the data was processed at that time and how soon can I expect my responses to my inquiries?

DMV will send an e-mail notification when the customer has placed data in their input data set name. However, this does not mean that the data was processed at that time.  DMV requires that the customer send their data only once a day by 4:30 P.M. Pacific Standard Time (PST), Monday through Friday, except weekends and holidays. DMV’s should have the output file available by 7:00 a.m. the day after the file is sent to the DMV.


Why didn’t I receive an email notification from DMV when I sent my data? 

Some customers are unable to receive emails from DMV due customer’s placing filters (SPAM or network filters) on their incoming emails. Check with your network team to see if you are filtering out any emails coming from the general address of @MVSSY4.TEALE.CA.GOV.


File Transfer Protocol

Why do I have to put single quotes around my remote file name?

The DMV’s FTP server attempts to prefix your remote file name with your user IDs. By using the single quotes around the remote file name, you tell the server not to prefix you file name. Users of AS400 systems must prefix and postfix the remote file name with a double quote “, and a single quote ‘.


Can I upload multiple files in one day?

The DMV only processes files once a day; if you upload more than one file to the same file name you will overwrite the previous file uploaded. After the file has been processed, a new file will be allocated for each customer and each process.   

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Note: Requesting DMV record information in order to perform your own business function (example: Attorney/Law Office, Auto Action, Dealer/Agent, Financial Institution, Insurance Co/Agent, Lien Sale Co., etc.)
Note: Requesting DMV record information in order to perform a legitimate business service on behalf of another CRA applicant (End User) such as pass through/reformat services (Reseller) or other contracted services (Parking Service Agent).
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