California Driver’s Handbook

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Section 19 of 22

Section 11: Vehicle Registration Requirements

You need to register your vehicle in California to use it in the state. For more information, visit

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

Out-of-State Vehicles

You have 20 days to register your vehicle after you become a resident or get a job in California. For more information, visit

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.