Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 13 of 38

Chapter 12: Nonresident Vehicles

12.080 Military Personnel (VC §6701)

Military personnel, including California residents, who are military members or the nonresident spouse of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces returning from active duty in a foreign state and military and civilian members of NATO who are not citizens of the United States are permitted to operate a vehicle (including trailer coaches) in California with valid license plates from either the:

  • Individual’s home state or country.
  • State or country where the individual was regularly assigned and stationed when the license plates were issued.

For military personnel assigned to Washington, D.C., consider Maryland or Virginia the state where stationed.

The requirements are:

  • The vehicle must be owned by the military member or their spouse.
  • The vehicle must be currently registered.
  • The vehicle must display valid license plates issued to the military person or their spouse by the foreign jurisdiction where the military person was last regularly assigned and stationed for duty by military orders or by a jurisdiction claimed as the permanent state of residence by the nonresident military person.
  • The vehicle cannot be a commercial vehicle used in a business manner from which the military member or their spouse receives compensation.

Military orders do not include military orders for leave, for temporary duty, or for any other assignment of any nature requiring the military person’s presence outside the foreign jurisdiction where the owner was regularly assigned and stationed for duty.

  • If the vehicle is a motor vehicle, the owner or driver has in force one of the forms of financial responsibility specified in VC §16021.

Officers of the Public Health Service are entitled to all rights, privileges, immunities, and benefits provided under the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act of 1940. They do not have to be on duty with the U.S. Armed Forces.

Refer to the Determining the Date Fees Become Due section in this chapter for procedures.