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Section 11: Vehicle Registration Requirements
You need to register your vehicle in California to use it in the state. For more information, visit dmv.ca.gov/vrservices.
Buying or Selling a Vehicle
When you buy a vehicle, you have 10 days to transfer ownership to your name.
When you sell a vehicle, you must notify DMV within five days by completing a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability at dmv.ca.gov/nrl.
You have 20 days to register your vehicle after you become a resident or get a job in California. For more information, visit dmv.ca.gov/outofstatevr.
All vehicles registered in California are required to meet California requirements including vehicle emission controls in support of California’s clean air standards. DMV cannot register a vehicle if it does not qualify.