Reporting Vehicle Status

Registration Versus Planned Non-Operation (PNO)

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) mails a vehicle registration renewal notice annually to the registered owner of each vehicle registered in California (every two years for off-highway vehicles [OHVs]). At that time the registered owner must decide whether to renew the vehicle registration or file for PNO status.


California law requires vehicles to be currently registered if they are driven, towed, stored, or parked on public roads or highways at any time during the registration period.

If the registered owner decides to register the vehicle, full registration renewal fees are due. If the registered owner has moved and did not notify DMV, they may not receive a vehicle registration renewal notice. It is the registered owner’s responsibility to pay the registration renewal fees on time.


PNO means that the vehicle will not be driven, towed, stored, or parked on public roads or highways for the entire registration year.

If the registered owner decides to file a PNO on the vehicle, they must do so on or before the vehicle’s registration expiration date. It is still possible to file a PNO up to 90 days after the vehicle registration expiration date, however penalties are due. For OHVs the PNO must be filed prior to the registration expiration date or the PNO option is forfeited and registration fees with penalties are due.

The renewal notice has a designated box to indicate the registered owner’s intention to place the vehicle on nonoperational status.

If a renewal notice is not available, complete a Certificate of Non-Operation/Planned Non- Operation Certification (REG 102) and mail it with your check to the address on the form. A PNO may also be filed online at

Once the PNO status is placed on a vehicle record, it will remain on the record until the registered owner wishes to register the vehicle. The registration expiration date remains the same. No response is required unless the registered owner wishes to register the vehicle.

If the registered owner files an Affidavit of Non-Use (REG 5090) for a currently registered vehicle for insurance purposes and continues not to use the vehicle, they must file for PNO when the vehicle registration comes due for renewal.

Paying Early

DMV will accept registration fees or the PNO filing up to 60 days before the vehicle registration expiration date.

Paying Late

CALIFORNIA HAS NO GRACE PERIOD. If the registered owner does not have all the required documentation, such as a smog certification or proof of insurance, they should pay the fees on or before the vehicle registration expiration date to avoid penalties. The registered owner will receive a receipt showing what is needed to complete the application for registration. This receipt does not authorize operation of the vehicle but avoids penalty fees.

If the registration renewal fee(s) or the PNO fee is paid after the vehicle registration expiration date, penalties will be due in addition to the regular fee(s).

The registered owner may file for PNO status up to 90 days after the vehicle registration expiration date, as long as the vehicle has not been driven, towed, stored, or parked on public roads or highways. When payment is made after the expiration date, penalties based on the full registration renewal amount will be due in addition to the PNO fee.

Operating Your PNO Vehicle

If the vehicle is on PNO status with DMV and the vehicle needs to be operated for:

  • One Day-to move the vehicle from its current storage place to a new storage place, or for repairs, alteration, vehicle inspection, smog inspection, weighing, construction (for an incomplete vehicle), or for its permanent wrecking or dismantling. You may obtain a Vehicle Moving Permit (REG 172) at a DMV office without paying renewal fees.
  • Regular Use-full registration renewal fees (including full or prorated weight fees for commercial vehicles) must be paid prior to operating the vehicle or penalties may be assessed.

Vehicles Exempt from Reporting Operational Status

Historical vehicles, horseless carriages, and vehicles of special interest that are part of a collection and are not operated as defined in Vehicle Code (VC) §§5004, 5004.5, and 5051.

Other exempted vehicles include:

  • Mopeds
  • Vehicles with registrations that expire while in dealer or lessor/retailer inventory
  • Vehicles with registrations that expire while being held for lien sale by an authorized towing company or parking facility
  • Vehicles which are part of an apportioned or permanent fleet
  • Special Equipment (SE) as defined in Vehicle Code §§245, 565, 570, and 575
  • Unrecovered stolen vehicles
  • Title Only vehicles that are currently located and registered in a state other than California

For registration fees, see the brochure, Registration Related Fees (FFVR 34). Since fees are subject to change, visit our website at for the most current information or call DMV toll free at 1-800-777-0133.

Vehicles Which Cannot be Placed on PNO Status

  • Park Trailers
  • Trailer Coaches
  • Vessels
  • Special Equipment
  • Mopeds/Motorized Bicycles

Special Interest Plates

If the vehicle has special interest plates and the vehicle currently is on PNO status, the registered owner must pay an annual retention fee to retain priority to the license plate. If DMV does not receive the retention fee, priority to the license plate may be lost making the plate available to someone else. Call DMV toll free at 1-800-777-0133 for further information.

Buyer Beware

When a California registered vehicle is purchased, the new owner (buyer) will be responsible for any past due fees and penalties when the vehicle is transferred into the new owner’s name, unless the:

  • Vehicle registration is current.
  • PNO is on file with the DMV. Fees must be paid before operation to avoid penalties.

Statutory Authority

California Revenue and Taxation Code §§10855 and 10856.
Vehicle Code §§4452, 4604, 4604.5, 5105, 5106, 9269, 9553, 9554, 9706, 9710, 9862, 38121, and 38246.