Does Your Vehicle Have a DMV Record?
If your vehicle is titled in California, but has not been registered for four years or more, it may no longer have a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) computer record. Even if you still have paper documentation issued by DMV on the vehicle, a computer record must be reestablished.
Do You Have the Title?
If you have the California Certificate of Title or expired California registration card (not a photocopy), the following items are required to register your vehicle:
- A completed Application for Title or Registration (REG 343) form.
- A Verification of Vehicle (REG 31) form. This form must be completed by an authorized DMV employee or peace officer.
- The California Certificate of Title or registration card and an Application for Duplicate or Transfer of Title (REG 227) form.
- If you submit a REG 227 and the registration card shows a legal owner, you must submit a notarized Lien Satisfied/Legal Owner/Title Holder Release (REG 166) form.
- If you are not the owner shown on the title or registration card, then the Certificate of Title or REG 227 must be properly endorsed for transfer.
- A weight certificate for commercial vehicles weighing less than 10,001 pounds unladen or a Statement of Facts (REG 256) form from the owner certifying the weight has not changed.
If the vehicle weighs 10,001 pounds or more, or is a Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) trailer, a REG 256 certifying the estimated weight is required.
A Certificate of Non-Operation/Planned Non-Operation Certification (REG 102) form or REG 256 certifying to the nonoperation of the vehicle.
The odometer disclosure statement completed on a Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form (REG 262) for motor vehicles less than 10 model years old.
If you do not have a California Certificate of Title or expired registration card, or you only have a photocopy of the registration card, the following items are required to register your vehicle:
- A completed REG 343.
- The Cost Information section must be completed with the purchase price to establish a vehicle license fee classification.
- A REG 31 form. This form must be completed by an authorized DMV employee or any peace officer.
- A REG 256 form, which contains the following information:
- How, when, and from whom the vehicle was acquired.
- What efforts were made to obtain evidence of ownership and why it was unobtainable.
- The current value of the vehicle.
- A weight certificate for a commercial vehicle weighing less than 10,001 pounds unladen.
- If the vehicle weighs 10,001 pounds or more, or is a trailer in the Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) program, a REG 256 certifying the estimated weight is required.
- A REG 102 or REG 256 certifying to the nonoperation of the vehicle.
- The odometer disclosure statement completed on a REG 262 for motor vehicles less than 10 model years old.
- A motor vehicle bond if the vehicle is valued at $5,000 or more.
Will You Need Anything Else?
You may also need to submit the following:
- A smog certification based on the year model of the vehicle.
- The license plates from the vehicle.
- A Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (CGW) (REG 4008) form, for commercial motor vehicles (Pickups with an unladen weight of 8,000 pounds or less, a gross vehicle weight rating of 11,499 pounds or less, and not exceeding 9 feet in length are exempt from this requirement).
- A Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) Certification (REG 4017) form for trailers in the PTI program if the owner requests a Certificate of Title.
- If you do not plan to operate the vehicle, but wish to obtain a California Certificate of Title issued in your name, you may apply for a “Title Only” by completing a REG 256 and REG 102.
What Fees Are Due?
Fees are due from the date the vehicle is first operated. The amount of fees due (except for trailers in the PTI program) will depend on the cost of the vehicle, the county of residence, and the type of vehicle. The exact fees can be determined at the time of your registration application, or by using the Online Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator at www.dmv.ca.gov. The fees must be paid prior to operation of the vehicle.