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How To Register A Vehicle from Out-of-State (Nonresident Vehicle)


How To Register A Vehicle from Out-of-State (Nonresident Vehicle)

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What is a Nonresident Vehicle?

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

Can I Register My Nonresident Vehicle in California?

Anyone who brings a vehicle into California, or purchases a nonresident vehicle while in California, should be aware that 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 on the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website.

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 that had less than 7,500 miles on the odometer (at the time of purchase, trade, or acquisition).
  • Anyone from importing a new direct import vehicle less than two years old.

What Do I Need to Register My Nonresident Vehicle?

  • An Application for Title or Registration (REG 343) form (PDF) signed by all registered owners shown on the out-of-state registration or title. Complete both sides of the REG 343.
  • The last issued out-of-state title (not required when there is no change of registered owner). However, when an out-of-state title is not surrendered to DMV the California registration card is marked "Nontransferable" and a California title is not issued.
  • The last issued out-of-state registration certificate or renewal notice for the current year, 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 (PDF) completed by an authorized DMV employee, law enforcement officer, or licensed vehicle verifier (no charge for vehicle verification at DMV offices).
  • 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 (PDF). For more information, see the Registering Commercial Vehicles and PTI Trailers (FFVR 27) Fast Facts brochure..
    • 10,000 pounds or less unladen also require a California public weighmaster's certificate. To find a public scale, check your telephone directory or visit the California Department of Food and Agriculture website.
      A weighmaster's certificate is not required for:
      • Autos (unless registered as commercial vehicles).
      • Motorcycles.
      • Trailers.
      • 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 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 that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) under 14,001 pounds (diesel hybrids included).
    • Natural gas or propane powered that have a GVWR under 14,001 pounds.

For a list of smog exempt vehicles and further smog information see

  • 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).
  • Appropriate fees and any use tax due.

What Do I Need for an Out-of-Country Vehicle?

For an out-of-country vehicle, first contact the following agencies for customs, safety, and emissions compliance requirements:

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • California Air Resources Board.

If the vehicle is determined to be eligible for registration, documents from these agencies and normal nonresident requirements are required.

When Do I Have to Pay Fees to Register My Nonresident Vehicle?

Registration fees for your nonresident vehicle 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 fee calculator. An exact amount can only be calculated when you submit your registration application to DMV.

How Do I Change Ownership?

You will need:

  • The last issued out-of-state title signed for release by the seller(s) and legal owner(s) (if any). The legal owner's release of interest may also be done on a notarized Lien Satisfied/Legal Owner/Title Holder Release (REG 166) form (PDF).
  • A Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form (REG 262), if the person from whom you are buying the vehicle is not the registered owner shown on the out-of-state title. The REG 262 is not available online. To obtain a REG 262, call 1-800-777-0133 or visit a DMV office.
  • An odometer disclosure on the title or a REG 262 signed by the seller and buyer, if the motor vehicle is less than 10 model years old.

How Do I Request 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 title issued, a duplicate must be obtained from the state that issued the title. Out-of-state DMV addresses are available at or by phone at 1-800-777-0133.

HTVR 9 (REV 5/2014) WWW


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