Notice of Release of Liability

What is a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability?

The Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (NRL) is used to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when you have sold or transferred your vehicle or vessel to another party. It is used only when ownership of the vehicle or vessel has changed. Legal owner transfers (transfers between lenders or removal of a lienholder from the title) do not require an NRL.

How does the notice of transfer and release of liability protect me?

When properly completed, and the information is recorded by DMV, liability for parking and/or traffic violations and civil litigation, resulting from operation after the date of sale, becomes the responsibility of the subsequent purchaser (Vehicle Code §5602). Additionally, when the NRL information is received by DMV, and the vehicle record is marked, no further vehicle registration renewal notices will be mailed to you for the reported vehicle.

Am I required to notify DMV when I sell or transfer my vehicle to another owner?

Yes. You are required by law to notify DMV within five calendar days from the date you sell or transfer title or interest in and deliver possession of a vehicle to another owner (Vehicle Code §5900).

Does the NRL remove my name from the vehicle record?

No. Only the buyer's application for transfer, using the endorsed title received from you, can do that. When the information required on the NRL is received by DMV and updated to the record, you are no longer responsible for civil or criminal actions arising with the vehicle after the date of sale.
For example, you will not be liable for:

  • Parking or traffic violations resulting from operation of the vehicle after the sale or transfer date, or
  • Civil litigation resulting from use of the vehicle after the date of sale.
  • Registration renewal fees and penalties resulting from operation of the vehicle after the sale.

NOTE: In the case of a suit or complaint, the court is responsible for determining if you have complied with the law and are exempt from civil and/or criminal liability.

I just sold my IRP vehicle; can I still submit an NRL/IRL?

Yes, however you should submit an NRL/IRL using the information on the California title. Because the IRP license record is not a title record the release of interest will not update and show on that record. You must delete the IRP record through the IRP system within the IRP Unit.

What information is needed to complete a NRL?

The department is required to collect the following information per Vehicle Code §5900:

  • Description of the vehicle or vessel including the
    • vehicle license plate or vessel CF number
      • Do not key or print any symbols in the license plate configuration i.e. heartstarhandplus
    • vehicle identification number or vessel hull number
    • vehicle make or vessel builder*
    • year model*
  • New owner's name and address
  • Vehicle odometer reading as of the sale or transfer date
  • Date of sale
  • Seller's or lessee's name and address

NOTE: If any of this information is missing, the department may be unable to update the vehicle record and/or these conditions may disqualify your liability exemption.

*This information is automatically provided when using the online application.

How will I prove that I filed a NRL via the Internet?

When the transaction has been transmitted to DMV you will receive a confirmation. Print a copy of the confirmation and keep it in your records.

Do I have to complete the NRL myself?

No; however, submitting the NRL yourself is the best way to ensure that DMV gets all the information in a timely manner. You may have someone else submit the NRL on your behalf, but you are still responsible if any information is missing. For example, if your brother sells your car for you while you are away on vacation, he can complete and file the NRL with the department.

What if I cannot remember the name of the person to whom I sold or transferred the vehicle?

You may put "unknown" in the new buyer's name and address fields.

What if there is not a match on my plate or VIN number?

Check to make sure that you have entered the correct information. If it is correct and you continue to receive an error message indicating that there is no match to the keyed information, you will need to contact DMV at 1-800-777-0133.

If I file a NRL electronically, do I still need to submit a paper copy?

No. Once you file an electronic NRL, the vehicle record will be updated within one business day.

May I still file a paper copy instead of filing via the Internet?

Yes. You may download the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (REG 138), complete it, and mail it to the address on the form. If any of the information is missing or illegible, the department may be unable to update the vehicle record, which may disqualify your liability exemption. For your protection, you should make a photocopy of the completed REG 138 form for your file.

How do I obtain a copy of the NRL I submitted to DMV?

You may download the Request for Record Information (INF 70), complete it and mail it along with the required fee to the address on the form.

How to stop receiving renewal notices for a vehicle you no longer own.

If you receive a renewal notice for a vehicle that you no longer own, DMV probably did not receive a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability, or if one was submitted it was incomplete or illegible. In either case, you must submit another Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability for the record to be updated.

Registration renewal notices are computer generated more than 60 days prior to the expiration date. Occasionally, the renewal notice and the Notice of Release of Liability cross in the mail. If this occurs, you may submit another Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability to ensure that the record is updated.

NOTE: If the original Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability was submitted online do not send the renewal notice or the online confirmation page to the department. Your confirmation page is proof that the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability has been submitted.

Can the online NRL application be used if the buyer or seller is a business?

Yes. Start the business name in the last name field and continue into the first name field if necessary.