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HTVR 09

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How To 9: Register a Vehicle from Out of State (Nonresident Vehicle)

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Nonresident Vehicle Information

A nonresident vehicle is a vehicle last registered in another state or country.

Can I Register My Nonresident Vehicle in California?

Some nonresident vehicles cannot be registered in California or the United States (U.S.). For rules and exceptions, see the Buying a Vehicle From Out of State - Can You Register It in California? (FFVR 29) Fast Facts brochure.

Caution: Unless the vehicle was originally manufactured to meet California emission standards or the owner or vehicle qualifies for an exemption, California law prohibits California residents or businesses from bringing into California or registering in California, a motor vehicle which is less than 2 years old and has less than 7,500 miles on the odometer at the time of purchase, trade, or acquisition. Refer to the Statement of Facts California Non-Certified Vehicle (REG 256F) form for exemptions.

Requirements to Register a Nonresident Vehicle

  • An Application for Title or Registration (REG 343) form completed and signed by all registered owners shown on the out-of-state registration or title. For leased vehicles, the signature of the lessor is required.
  • The last issued out-of-state title. When an out-of-state title is not surrendered to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the California registration card is marked “Nontransferable” and a California Certificate of Title is not issued.
  • The last issued out-of-state registration certificate or current year renewal notice, or a letter, fax, or wire from the last registration jurisdiction verifying the registered owners name(s) and the vehicle’s last registration expiration date.
  • A Verification of Vehicle (REG 31) form completed by an authorized DMV employee, law enforcement officer, or California-licensed vehicle verifier.
  • Commercial motor vehicles (vehicles designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property or used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit) that weigh:
    — Over 6,001 pounds unladen (empty) require a Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (CGW) (REG 4008) form. For more information, see the Registering Commercial Vehicles and PTI Trailers (FFVR 27) Fast Facts brochure.
    — 10,000 pounds or less unladen require a California public weighmaster’s certificate. A weighmaster’s certificate is not required for:
    • Autos (unless registered as commercial vehicles).
    • Motorcycles.
    • Trailers.
    • Certain commercial vehicles:
    — If a prior California registration shows the unladen weight, and the vehicle's weight has not been altered.
    — With an unladen weight of 6,000 pounds or less when the out-of-state title or registration shows empty, unladen, scale, tare, or WT/Wheels weight.
    — Two or three-axle trucks weighing 10,001 pounds or more. The estimated weight must be entered on the REG 343.
  • Trailers (except trailer coaches or park trailers) require:
    — A Statement of Facts (REG 256) form with the estimated weight of the trailer entered in Section G
    — A Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) Application/Certification (REG 4017) form with side A completed to request a California Certificate of Title for the trailer. 
  • A smog certification from a California smog station is required for the following vehicles:
    — Gasoline-powered 1976 and newer year models (motorcycles are exempt).
    — Diesel-powered 1998 and newer year models with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) under 14,001 pounds (diesel hybrids included).
    — Natural gas or propane-powered with a GVWR under 14,001 pounds.
  • The out-of-state license plates. However, you may keep the license plates if they are:
    — Expired.
    — Required to be returned to the state they were issued from.
    — For an interstate-registered vehicle (maintaining full registration in California and another state).
  • Applicable registration, transfer, and use tax fees.

When Fees Become Due

Registration fees for nonresident vehicles must be paid to DMV within 20 days of the date they become due. The date that registration fees become due varies. For date fees due, residency, and exemption information, see the How To: Determine Residency/When Are Fees Due on an Out-of-State Vehicles (HTVR 33) brochure.

Note: To avoid penalties, submit your registration application and fees on time, even if you do not have all the requirements (title, smog, etc.) needed to register the vehicle in California.

What Fees Are Due?

The amount of fees due depends on a variety of factors. For an estimate, use the Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator available at dmv.ca.gov. An exact amount can only be calculated when you submit your registration application to DMV. For registration fees, see the Registration Related Fees (FFVR 34) brochure.

How Do I Change Ownership?

You will need:

Requesting a Duplicate Out-of-State Title

If the out-of-state title has been lost, stolen, or destroyed, and you are changing ownership or wish to have a California Certificate of Title issued, a duplicate must be obtained from the state that issued the title. Out-of-state DMV addresses are available at dmv.ca.gov or by phone at 1-800-777-0133.

Forms

Forms are available online at dmv.ca.gov, by mail or at any DMV field office.

HTVR 9 (REV. 03/2020)

 

 
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