New to California

Welcome to the Golden State! If you’re new to California, learn how to get your driver’s license and register your vehicle.

Am I a California resident?

You are considered a resident of California if you are present in this state for six months or longer within a 12-month period,California Vehicle Code (CVC) §516 and you are not visiting on a temporary or transient basis.

Also, you are considered a resident of California if:

  • You are registered to vote in California.
  • You are gainfully employed in California.
  • Your place of business is located in California

This does not include military personnel.

  • You pay resident tuition at a public institution of higher education such as a university or college.
  • You have dependents who attend a primary or secondary school.
  • You are a homeowner with a property tax exemption.
  • You rent a property in California.
  • You have claimed residency to obtain a license, privilege, or other benefit that non-residents cannot obtain.
  • You have a current California driver’s license or ID card.
  • You are determined to be a resident because of acts, occurrences, or events that indicate that your presence in the state is more than temporary or transient. 

What can we help you with today?

Driver's License and Identification (DL/ID) Cards

You need a valid California DL to operate a motor vehicle in California. Learn more about the types of DL and ID cards available, and how to apply.

Register Your Vehicle

A vehicle must be registered in California if it is based in California or is primarily used on California highways (CVC §4000.4).

Titles & Transfers

A California Certificate of Title identifies you as the legal owner of a vehicle. Learn more about titles and what to do if you have bought a new vehicle in California.


Beginning May 3, 2023, you will be required to present a federal compliant ID such as a valid U.S. passport, military ID, or REAL ID DL/ID card in order to board a domestic flight and enter federal facilities like military bases, federal courthouses, and other secure federal sites.

License Plates, Decals, & Placards

Vehicles registered in California need California license plates. Learn more about the types of plates, decals, and placards that identify vehicles on California roads.