Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 13 of 38

Chapter 12: Nonresident Vehicles

12.150 Reciprocity

Nonresident Home State Entitles Owner to a Grace Period—The nonresident owner may renew the vehicle registration in the owner’s residence state. The nonresident owner also may operate the vehicle in California during the grace period provided by the residence state without the vehicle becoming subject to California registration.

If the vehicle becomes subject to registration during the grace period (for example, the owner accepts gainful employment or becomes a resident) or the owner decides to obtain California registration, fees are due from the statutory expiration date and must be paid within 20 days to avoid penalties (VC §4152.5).

Respond to questions from nonresident applicants regarding California registration requirements as follows:

  • Caution the nonresident regarding the requirements.
  • Make sure the nonresident understands the difference between the statutory expiration date and the grace period.
  • Use specific dates when explaining the requirements for registration and payment of fees.

Nonresident Home State Does Not Have a Grace Period—In this case, the vehicle is subject to registration immediately upon first operation after the statutory expiration date unless the owner has evidence of renewal in the owner’s residence state made either before the statutory expiration date or before first operation in California after the statutory expiration date.

The registration fees must be paid within 20 days of the expiration date of the nonresident registration to avoid penalties (VC §4152.5).