Application Requirements For Vehicle Dealers Auto Commercial
- Vehicle Dealer Handbook (PDF)
- Vehicle Industry Procedures (VIP) Manual (formerly the Dealer's Handbook)
- Autobroker's Endorsement
- Guide for Licensed Vehicle Dealers and Lessor-Retailers (PDF)
- Occupational Licensure Product List (PDF)
- Buy/Sell Procedures for New Vehicle Dealers
Vehicle Dealer Original License Forms (Including Autobroker)
Note: Forms may be completed before printing
Please print the appropriate checklist to obtain a list of all the forms and any additional documents required for each license:
- OL 248A, New Dealer Application Checklist
- OL 248B, Used Dealer, Dealer-Wholesale Only Application Checklist
Select the appropriate link to print the forms required for each dealer packet:
- OL 248N, New Dealer Application Forms
- OL 248U, Used Dealer, Dealer-Wholesale Only, Application Forms
Application forms may also be printed individually from the following list:
- OL 12, Application for Original Occupational License, Part C
- OL 21A, Original Application for Occupational License, Part A
- OL 25, Surety Bond of Dealer OR
OL 25B, Surety Bond of Motorcycle Dealer, Motorcycle Lessor-Retailer, All-Terrain Vehicle Dealer, or Wholesale-Only Dealer (Less Than 25 Vehicles Per Year) OR
- OL 25E, Deposit Agreement and Assignment (PDF)
- STD 204, Payee Data Record
- OL 53, Authorization to Release Financial Information
- OL 124, Certificate of Proposed Franchise (new automobile, commercial, motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, motorhome, and recreational trailer dealers only)
- OL29B, Application for Occupational License Personal History Questionnaire, Part B, Business Licensing Unit (Required for each person listed under ownership on form OL 12)
- ADM 9050, Appointment of Director as Agent for Service of Process
- DMV 8016, Request for Live Scan Clearance (receipt) (More information about Live Scan) (Required for each person completing form OL29B)
- ADM 1316, Fingerprint Card (out-of-state applicants only) Fingerprint cards may be obtained by calling Occupational Licensing at (916) 229-3126.
Additional Required Application Package Documents:
- Certificate of Completion, Dealer Education Program (Used Vehicle Dealers and Wholesale-Only Dealers)
- Proof of successfully passing the Used Dealer Test administered by DMV (Used Vehicle Dealers only and Wholesale-Only Dealers). A fee of $16.00 will be collected for each examination administered by the department.
- Letter of Authorization (New Trailer Dealers only; required for each line)
- If filing as a Corporation, Limited Liability Company or Limited Liability Partnership owned businesses only: Statement of Information (SI 550) or Statement of Information LLC (LLC 12) filed with the Secretary of State.
- Copy of California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) Resale Permit
- Photograph(s) of business location, refer to Photograph Procedures
Place of Business Inspection
After you have arranged an appointment with an Occupational Licensing Inspector he or she will inspect the place of business where the dealer conducts business.
- The office of the principal place of business and each location of the dealership must be established to the extent that its construction is not temporary, transitory, or mobile in nature, except that a trailer coach office is acceptable providing it is not part of the dealer's vehicle inventory being offered for or subject to sale while being used as an office of the dealership and otherwise meets the requirements of the Vehicle Code. The place of business is a place actually occupied either continuously or at regular periods by the dealer. Section 320, CVC.
- Inspect all books and records pertinent to the business. CVC Section 320 (a), CVC Section 1670, and CVC Section 1671 and CCR Title 13, Section 270.00, 270.02, 270.04 and 272.00
- Inspection of Display Area (not required if wholesale only). After you have arranged an appointment with an Occupational Licensing Inspector he or she will inspect the display area to ensure:
- The display area of the principal place of business shall be of sufficient size to physically accommodate vehicles of a type for which the dealership is licensed to sell.
- The display area must be clearly for the exclusive use of the dealer for display purposes only.
- Additional display areas are permitted within a radius of 1,000 feet from the principal place of business and any licensed branch location without being subject to separate licensing. However, such display areas must also meet the signing requirement as identified in Vehicle Code Section 11709 (a).Title 13, Section 270.08, 270.08 (a) and 270.08 (b)
- Inspection of Signs (not required if Wholesale Only Dealer). After you have arranged an appointment with an Occupational Licensing Inspector he or she will inspect the sign(s) to ensure:
Signs must be of a permanent nature, erected on the exterior of the office or on the display area, and be constructed or painted and maintained so as to withstand reasonable climatic effects and be readable as provided for in CVC Section 11709. CCR, Title 13, Section 270.06
A temporary sign or device may suffice when a permanent sign is on order. Evidence of such order shall be submitted to the Department prior to issuance of a temporary permit or license. CVC Section 11709(a)
Other Permits and Licenses
Copies of the following permits and/or licenses from other agencies must be submitted with your application:
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration Resale Permit (Revenue and Taxation Code, Section 6066 and 6067)
All licensees selling vehicles or vessels, retail or wholesale, are required to file an application for a Seller's Permit. The purpose of the permit is to enable the licensee to collect taxes on sales. There is no fee for the permit, but a deposit may be required. Applications can be made through your local CDTFA office. A copy of this permit is required as part of the application for a dealer and lessor-retail license. Pursuant to California Vehicle Code Sections 11617(a)(6) and 11721(f), the Department may automatically cancel your dealer or lessor-retail license for failure to maintain a valid seller's permit.
Pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code Section 6014, "Seller" includes every person engaged in the business of selling tangible personal property of a kind the gross receipts from the retail sale of which are required to be included in the measure of the sales tax.
Questions should be referred to CDTFA at (800) 400-7115 or refer to information published at CDTFA Publication 73 (PDF).
City and/or County Business License
A copy of your Business License, Certificate of Occupancy License, or Tax Certificate, if required by the city/county you are doing business in.
Business Partner Automation Program (BPA)
New Vehicle Dealers - Participation in the Business Partner Automation Program is mandatory for new vehicle dealers. Instructions are available at: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/otherser/bpa/bpa.htm
Used Vehicle Dealers - The department's Business Partner Automation Program offers alternatives for processing sales transactions electronically. Instructions are available at: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/otherser/bpa/bpa.htm
National Motor Vehicle Titling Information System (NMVTIS)
New and Used Vehicle Dealers - Effective 7/1/2012 the seller must obtain a National Motor Vehicle Titling Information System (NMVTIS) report for any used vehicle offered or displayed for sale, and must display a warning on the vehicle when the report indicates the states has branded the title. Further information regarding NMVTIS or to locate a vendor to access these reports is available at: http://www.vehiclehistory.gov/
The following permits and/or licenses MAY be required by other agencies.
Dealers who will be providing automobile servicing and repair are required to file an application with their local Bureau of Automotive Repair office. The application process takes approximately six to eight weeks and includes a fee.
Bureau of Security and Investigative Service, Repossession Agency
Pursuant to the Business and Professions Code, Section 7502, no person shall engage within this state in the activities of a repossession agency as defined in Sections 7500.1 and 7500.2 unless the person holds a valid repossession agency license or is exempt from licensure pursuant to Section 7500.2 or 7500.3.
Bureau of Security and Investigative Services
2420 Del Paso Road, Suite 270
Sacramento, CA 95834
Fax (916) 575-7290
Original Application Fees
The fees to become a licensed dealer are:
- $175 Non-refundable application fee
- $1 Family Support Program fee
- $70 For each branch location (if applicable)
- $87 For each dealer plate and $89 for each motorcycle plate (plus county fees, if applicable)
- This figure will vary depending on the county where your business is located
- Dealer plates are not required
- Auto brokers are not eligible for plates (no inventory)
- $300 New Motor Vehicle Board Fee, per location (new automobile, commercial, motorcycle, ATV, motorhome, and recreational trailer dealers only)
- $100 Autobroker Endorsement fee
- $42 For each person submitting ADM 1316 Fingerprint Card (out-of-state applicants only)
The Family Support Program fee is paid on original and renewal applications.
Vehicle Dealer License Renewal Forms and Fees
- Proof of Continuing Education (required every two years)
- OL 45, Renewal Application
- OL 56, $50,000 Bond Exemption Application (Wholesale-Only Dealers, if applicable)
- OL 247, Special Plates (required if not renewing all plates)
- OL 257, Continuing Education Exemption Application (Wholesale-Only Dealer, if applicable)
The fees to renew a dealer license are:
- $1 Family Support Program fee
- $125 Renewal application fee
- $87 for each auto plate and $89 for each motorcycle plate (each dealer plate)(plus county fees, if applicable)
- $300 New Motor Vehicle Board Fee, per location (new automobile, commercial, motorcycle, ATV, motorhome, and recreational trailer dealers only)".
- $75 Autobroker Endorsement fee
The Family Support Program fee is paid on original and renewal applications.
Vehicle Dealer License Modification Forms and Fees
Dealer License Exemption
A dealer who does not have an established place of business in this state but who is currently authorized to do business as, and who has an established place of business as a vehicle dealer in another state is not subject to licensure under this article if the business transacted in California is limited to the importation of vehicles for sale to, or the export of vehicles purchased from, persons licensed in California under CVC Section 11700 et seq., and CVC Section 11700.1.
Dealer License Exclusions
The term "dealer" does not include any of the following:
- Insurance companies, banks, finance companies, public officials, or any other person coming into possession of vehicles in the regular course of business, who sells vehicles under a contractual right or obligation, in performance of any official duty, or in authority of any court of law, if the sale is for the purpose of saving the seller from loss or pursuant to the authority of a court.
- Persons who sell or distribute vehicles of a type subject to registration for a manufacturer to vehicle dealers under this code, or who are employed by manufacturers or distributors to promote the sale of vehicles dealt in by those manufacturers or distributors. However, any of those persons who also sell vehicles at retail are vehicle dealers and subject to this code.
- Persons regularly employed as salespersons by vehicle dealers licensed under this code while acting in the scope of that employment.
- Persons engaged exclusively in the bona fide business of exporting vehicles or of soliciting orders for the sale and delivery of vehicles outside the territorial limits of the United States, if no federal excise tax is legally payable or refundable on any of the transactions. Persons not engaged exclusively in the bona fide business of exporting vehicles, but who are engaged in the business of soliciting orders for the sale and delivery of vehicles, outside the territorial limits of the United States are exempt from licensure as dealers only if their sales of vehicles produce less than 10 percent of their total gross revenue from all business transacted.
- Persons not engaged in the purchase or sale of vehicles as a business, who dispose of any vehicle acquired and used in good faith, for their own personal use, or for use in their business, and not for the purpose of avoiding the provisions of this code.
- Persons who are engaged in the purchase, sale or exchange of vehicles, other than motorcycles subject to identification under this code, which are not intended for use on the highways.
- Persons temporarily retained as auctioneers solely for the purpose of disposing of vehicle stock inventories by means of public auction on behalf of the owners at the owner's place of business, or as otherwise approved by the department, if intermediate physical possession or control of, or an ownership interest in, the inventory is not conveyed to the persons as retained.
- Persons who are engaged exclusively in the business of purchasing, selling, servicing, or exchange racing vehicles, parts for racing vehicles and trailers designed and intended by the manufacturer to be used exclusively for carrying racing vehicles. A "racing vehicle" is defined as a motor vehicle of a type used exclusively in a contest of speed or in a competitive trial of speed which is not intended for use on the highways.
- Any person who is a lessor.
- Any person who is a renter.
- Any salvage pool.
- Any yacht broker who is subject to the Yacht and Ship Brokers Act (Article 2 (commencing with Section 700) of Chapter 5 of Division 3 of the Harbors and Navigations Code) and who sells boat trailers in conjunction with the sale of a vessel.
- Any licensed automobile dismantler who sells vehicles that have been reported for dismantling as provided in Vehicle Code Section 11520.
- The Director of Corrections when selling vehicles pursuant to Section 2813.5 of the Penal Code.
Any public or private nonprofit charitable, religious, or educational institution or organization that sells vehicles if all of the following conditions are met:
- The proceeds of the sale of the vehicles are retained by that institution or organization for its charitable, religious, or educational purposes.
- The vehicles sold were donated to the institution or organization.
- They meet all of the applicable equipment requirements of Vehicle Code Division 12 (commencing with Section 24000) and have been issued a certificate pursuant to Section 44015 of the Health and Safety Code.
- The institution or organization has qualified for state tax-exempt status under Section 23701d of the Revenue and Taxation code, and federal tax-exempt status under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Any motor club, as defined in Section 12142 of the Insurance Code, that does not arrange or negotiate individual motor vehicle purchase transactions on behalf of its members but refers members to a new motor vehicle dealer for the purchase of a new motor vehicle and does not receive a fee from the dealer contingent upon the sale of the vehicle.
California Vehicle Code. Sections 20, 285 - 286, 320(a), 426, 3000 et seq., 5753, 8803, 10750 10751, 11700 et seq., 11800, and 11824. The California Vehicle Code is available for purchase from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
California Code of Regulations . Title 13, Chapter 1.
Business and Professions Code . Sections 9889.50-9889.53, and 17500.5.
Civil Code . Sections 2981-2984.4.
Government Code . Section 6157 (a) - (d).
Health and Safety Code . Sections 43150-43156, 43200-43213, and 43600-43660.
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 5 or greater) to view some of the linked documents on this page. If you have problems with Acrobat Reader see the Adobe Troubleshooting page for possible solutions.
Application Questions and Submission Information
Please refer to the Vehicle Dealer Handbook (PDF)
- OL Information
- Headquarters Operations
- Compliance Programs
- Field Inspector Offices by Location
- Information Services
Occupational Licenses & Programs
- All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Training
- Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program
- Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Permit – Coming Soon
- Driving School
- Employer Testing Program
- Ignition Interlock Device Program
- Mature Driver Program
- Registration Service
- Traffic Violator School
- Vehicle Verifier
- Vessel Agent
Quick Licensing Links