Important Vehicle Information


You must pay registration renewal fees by the due date even if you are unable to provide a required smog certification and/or evidence of insurance. Paying full registration renewal or planned nonoperation (PNO) fees by the due date prevents penalties, but is not a permit to operate the vehicle. California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§9552-9554

Your license plate number must be shown on all mailed payments/checks including paper checks mailed to DMV through a bank’s online bill payment system. For faster processing, renew online.


  • “Smog Certification Required,” you may take your vehicle to any Smog Check station.
  • “Smog Certification Required at a STAR station,” your vehicle must be inspected at one of these stations. Some STAR stations are only authorized to perform inspections, while others are licensed to perform both inspections and repairs.

Take your renewal notice with you to a Smog Check station. The inspector will scan the barcode on the notice to ensure the correct vehicle information is sent to DMV. After the inspection, the station will provide you a Vehicle Inspection Report for your records.

Vehicle retirement? You may be eligible for $1,500 or $1,000 to retire your vehicle from operation.

Need repair assistance? If your vehicle fails its Smog Check inspection, you may be eligible for up to $1,200 in emissions-related repairs.

Inspection Issues? Referee Centers can verify Smog Check results and inspect unique vehicles.

Own a hybrid vehicle? Hybrid vehicles are now subject to Smog Check inspection.

For more information, visit or call the Bureau of Automotive Repair at 1-800-952-5210.


Many vehicles have been recalled recently for needed repairs. Did you know you can check to see if your vehicle has an unrepaired manufacturer’s safety recall? For most vehicles, manufacturer safety recalls are repaired for free. You can check for any recalls and how to get the recall repaired at


Failure to notify DMV of these changes can lead to collection accounts, up to and including wage garnishments or bank levies.

  • No longer own? You must submit a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (NRL) for the vehicle record to be updated. A NRL must be submitted within five (5) days from the date you sell, give away, donate, or otherwise dispose of a vehicle.
  • Moved out of state? If you have moved out of California and received a renewal notice, simply write on the notice that you are no longer in California AND write the date that your vehicle moved out of state and mail the notice back to DMV. Your record will be updated when DMV receives the notice. Also complete an online Change of Address form.


Evidence of liability insurance from a company authorized by the California Department of Insurance is required to renew your registration. If evidence of liability insurance is not requested on your renewal notice, it has already been provided by your insurer electronically. If it is requested, you must provide it with payment of renewal fees. Documents submitted to DMV cannot be returned. Evidence of liability insurance must be carried in each vehicle and presented upon request to a peace officer or if you are involved in an accident. CVC §§ 4000.37, 16020, 16028, and 16056

If your renewal notice reads “Registration Suspended,” your vehicle cannot be operated or parked on California roadways until your registration is reinstated. For further information, please visit Vehicle Registration Suspensions or call our automated voice system at 1-800-777-0133.


Contact DMV before moving your PNO vehicle; a moving permit may be issued for certain purposes. If a vehicle with a PNO status is operated, parked, towed, or left standing on a public street or highway, it may be subject to citation or impoundment and the payment of fees and penalties for late registration. Other laws, ordinances, or codes may be applicable to your PNO vehicle. If you have any questions or require information about local laws, ordinances, or codes, contact your local authorities.


An annual retention fee for your ELP or special interest license plate may be required even if you do not register the vehicle (i.e., vehicle on PNO), or if you sold the vehicle and are keeping the plates for future assignment. Failure to pay the retention fee will result in plate cancellation and your plate configuration will be available for others to order.


To add or change your residence and/or mailing address or to change other departmental records, visit the online Change of Address system or complete a Notice of Change of Address (DMV 14) form.

You can find more information on our website or by calling 1-800-777-0133.

ISD 83 VR (Rev. 2/2021)