Occupational Licensing

Now you can apply for, renew, and update your Occupational License(s) online.

What is Occupational Licensing?

California is home to over 31 million vehicles and more than 24 million licensed drivers. The sale and use of cars in California has created diverse businesses that provide many services to meet the various needs of California drivers, including:

To protect consumers, Occupational Licensing (OL) oversees the licensing, monitoring, and regulating of these and many other motor vehicle-related businesses and professions. You can apply for, renew, or update your OL online.

Do I Need an Occupational License?

Depending on your business and the products or services you provide, you may need an OL. You can apply for, renew, or update your OL online.

These products require street registration or off-highway vehicle (OHV) identification. If you sell any of these products, you need to be licensed as a manufacturer, distributor, or dealer.

  • Automobiles
  • All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) (OHVs are subject to identification, not registration)
  • Commercial vehicles (includes truck tractors, motor trucks, pickups, and sport utility vehicles with a manufactured or conversion truck bed)
  • Motorcycles and motor driven cycles (includes both on road and motorcycle-type OHVs)
  • Trailers (includes semi-trailers, fifth wheel travel trailers, and camp trailers)
  • Recreational vehicles (includes motor homes)
  • House cars (includes vehicles permanently altered for habitation)
  • Buses (includes commercial vehicles defined in CVC §260)
  • Emergency vehicles (includes fire trucks, fire equipment and ambulances)
  • Low-speed vehicles
  • Moped or motorized bicycles: Licensure is only required when dealer sells another product requiring a license pursuant to CVC §5039. Motorized bicycles and mopeds are issued special plates rather than license plates pursuant to CVC §5030.
  • Motor truck
  • Trailer coaches and park trailers
  • Utility-terrain vehicle
  • Snowmobiles
  • Special construction equipment (incidentally operated on public streets under special permit)
  • Special mobile equipment
  • Forklifts (primarily designed for loading and not operated on highways)
  • Golf carts
  • Motorized quadricycles and tricycles
  • Motorized scooters
  • Motorized bicycles and mopeds (only when the dealer sells no other products requiring licensure pursuant to CVC §5039)
  • Portable dollies or tow dollies
  • Aircraft refueling vehicles
  • Manufactured homes
  • Camper with one axle (a camper designed to be mounted on a motor vehicle)
  • Dune buggies and sand rails
  • OHVs not listed as requiring licensure
  • Implements of husbandry (Vehicles used exclusively in the conduct of agricultural operations are designated as an implement of husbandry. Incidental movement over a highway or public roads is defined as movement involving a total distance of no greater than one mile from the point of origin of the trip.)

Vehicle “kits” sold unassembled to be constructed by the purchasers for private use (not for resale) and not constructed by licensed manufacturers or remanufacturers (or manufacturers/remanufacturers that should be licensed), do not currently require licensing. However, a manufacturer and dealer license would be required to sell pre-assembled kit vehicles, or kits that leave the facility ready for registration (for example, turnkey vehicles), if such were legal.

Kits are generally products distributed in component parts requiring tools to assemble into a final product. Products distributed with component parts assembled to the point that tools are not required to render the vehicle operational on the highway, or as identified OHVs, are not considered kits (with possible exceptions).

Two-stage products are subject to licensing, if the manufacturer is using a purchased chassis and permanently altering the product or adding new/used products to the chassis for sale, including under a new product name.

If the vehicle is shipped directly to the converter from the manufacturer, then a new vehicle dealer license is required.

If the vehicle is purchased from a dealer by the converter, modified and offered for sale, then a used vehicle dealer license if required.

If the vehicle is purchased by a consumer and delivered to the converter for modification, then no license is required.

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