A car registration renewal in California could be costly, time-consuming, and even stressful.
Use eTags© to Quickly Complete Your DMV Service. Renewals, Title Transfers and More, All Online!
If you don’t gather the right documentation, you’ll end up making continuous visits to your local CA DMV, which could be really frustrating.
Whether your county doesn’t offer any booking option for renewals, showing up by just walking in could be even more time-consuming
However, there’s always a solution to every hassle. The goal is to make your car registration renewal a hassle-free task so you could have more time to focus on what really matters in your day.
Let us explain you how to complete a CA DMV registration renewal one question at a time.
Should you have any other questions in regards to CA DMV registration renewal, please let us know in the comments below.
What do I need to renew my registration?
To renew your vehicle registration in California, you will need to bring your renewal notice or current registration certificate, your valid CA driver’s license, and payment for the renewal registration fees.
If applicable, submit a court clearance document detailing that any delinquent fees attached to your vehicle have been paid.
You are also allowed to pay your CA DMV vehicle registration renewals by cash, check, money order, and debit/ATM card.
Where can I go to renew my car registration?
You can renew your car registration in several ways. You could renew your car registration in person at your nearest CA DMV branch.
Note that you must renew it in person whether you have outstanding fees or unpaid traffic tickets. It may be the most time-consuming choice but find out if your local DMV offers appointment reservations.
You could alternatively renew your car registration by mail but you’ll need to make sure that your renewal request documentation is sent to the indicated address on time.
You are also allowed to renew your car registration over the phone only if your auto registration notice has your current home address and you don’t have any unpaid delinquency or ticket fees.
Lastly, the most convenient way is to renew your car registration online. You’ll need to find the appropriate platform that matches your state, or even your county.
eTags, for example, is a website that drivers in any California county can use, and the only service allowing drivers to renew after the expiration period has passed and/or your car registration is expired.
How often do you renew vehicle registration in California?
The CA DMV requires drivers to renew their car registration on an annual basis. This is important for drivers who just moved into California and are not aware of this obligation.
You’ll receive a renewal notice in advance of your car registration’s date of expiration.
The registration renewal notice normally includes the date of your tag expiration, registration renewal fees, information of the vehicle, any emissions requirement, and delinquency fees (if applicable).
Whether you haven’t received your CA car renewal notice, contact your local DMV for more information about your renewal time.
It’s also advisable to update your address with the CA DMV to avoid any missed renewal notice in the future.
How early can I renew my car registration in California?
You are allowed to renew you car registration in California 60 days prior to the expiration date. Usually, getting your car registration renewal notice serves as a reminder of the expiration date to avoid late fees.
Note that the CA DMV does not give any grace period for late renewals.
Provided that you failed to renew your car registration within the indicated time, you’ll be liable for a percentage of your regular renewal, flat late fee, and a flat California Highway Patrol (CHP) late fee.
For example, if you renew your car registration one day after the expiration date, you will be paying about $30 on late fees, which are charged in addition the standard renewal cost.
Never stay behind on your car registration renewals as late fees increase over time. The longer you delay this obligation, the more you’ll pay.
How long do you have to renew your tags in California?
Again, you are allowed to renew you car registration in California 60 days prior to the expiration date. Usually, getting your car registration renewal notice serves as a reminder of the expiration date to avoid late fees.
The CA DMV does not give any grace period for late renewals so try avoid delaying your obligation.
When does my vehicle registration expire?
Your car registration expires every year on the date indicated on your vehicle registration card. Note that the CA DMV does not give any grace period for late renewals.
How much is California registration renewal?
There are several factors that you need to take into consideration when estimating how much you need to pay to renew your car registration in California.
Fees typically vary according the year, weight, and value of your vehicle. Keep in mind that your fees could go up whether you request special license plates.
It’s also recommended that drivers check with the CA DMV for specific fees that pertains to their local county or district.
More importantly, if your vehicle information shows pending delinquency fees such as parking tickets, they must be paid prior to renewing your car registration in California.
Check with your local DMV if you qualify for a tax deduction provided that you completed your car registration renewal.
How to calculate registration fees in California
First, all motor vehicles must pay a registration fee and a $23 California Highway Patrol (CHP) fee. Drivers must also pay other fees depending on many other variables including the type of vehicle and the county they live in.
To find more information about registration fees in California, visit the California VLF calculator and enter your license plate number, the last 5 digits of your VIN, and your zip code.
How much are late fees for vehicle registration in California?
Since the CA DMV does not offer any grace period, here is an estimate of the fees you’ll pay for not renewing your vehicle registration on time.
- Less than 1 year: $30
- 1 to 2 years: $50
- Over 2 years: $100
To avoid paying late fees on your next car registration renewal, complete your registration renewal before the expiration date.
How do I remove my name from car registration in California?
To request a registration name change, you’ll need to contact your local CA DMV and follow their instructions.
However, you could only remove your name from the car registration when there are more than one name registered on the vehicle.
How can I check my vehicle registration status?
You could always contact the CA DMV to check your car registration status at (800) 777-0133.
If you renewed your car registration with eTags, feel free to contact our customer support for more information about your car registration status.
Can your car be towed for expired registration in California?
Yes. Your vehicle could be towed if you get caught driving a vehicle with an expired registration in California.
It also depends on how long you’ve been driving with an expired license. If your car registration has expired for less than 6 months, you could get a fine if caught by a police officer.
If you are driving a car with a registration that has been expired over 6 months your vehicle could potentially be towed by law.
How do I get a temporary registration in California?
If you buy a car from a dealership, they will give you a temporary registration certificate for you to keep with you until your permanent registration arrives from the CA DMV.
The temporary registration is valid until you receive the license plates and stickers, or for 90 days from the date of sale.
How to get a copy (duplicate) vehicle registration in California
You could apply for a duplicate California registration with the CA DMV either in person or by mail.
You must filled out an Application for Replacement Plates, Sticker, Documents (Form REG 156), a Notice of Change of Address (Form DMV 14), and pay the $21 replacement fee.
If you need to send it by mail, you’ll need to mail to this address:
Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269
How to change your vehicle registration address
You could change your address either online, in person, or by mail. Note that the CA DMV allows drivers to change their vehicle registration within 10 days after moving.
All you need to do is submit a completed Change of Address (Form DMV 14) to the DMV. If you are doing it by mail, submit it to the address listed on the form.
Can I renew my registration at the nearest CA DMV?
Yes. You could only renew your car registration at your nearest CA DMV in person. However, you should try gathering all the documents you need prior to heading to the DMV office to avoid future complications.
Can I go to any DMV to renew my registration?
You can only go to your nearest CA DMV branch to renew your vehicle registration in person, unless you want to do it by mail or online.
How long is the wait time at the California DMV?
It depend on how you handled this procedure. If you booked an appointment, you may not be waiting as longer as any other person who just walks in.
Keep in mind that a lot of people visit the DMV for different procedures and inquiries.
What do I need to renew my registration in person?
If you decide to renew your car registration in person, you will need to bring your renewal notice or current registration certificate, your valid CA driver’s license, and payment for the renewal registration fees.
If applicable, submit a court clearance document detailing that any delinquent fees attached to your vehicle have been paid.
You are also allowed to pay your CA DMV vehicle registration renewals by cash, check, money order, and debit/ATM card.
When does the CA DMV send out renewal notices?
The CA DMV will mail you a car registration renewal notice well in advance of the expiration date.
If you haven’t received your renewal notice, we recommend that you investigate by contacting your local DMV for further information.
It may be that you haven’t updated your address on their records or it got lost on the email.
Either way, you can still renew your car registration without renewal notice either in person, online, or with eTags which is the fastest and most hassle-free choice.
I did not receive my car registration renewal notice . What should I do?
Whether you haven’t received your car registration renewal notice in the mail, either contact your DMV office or call (800) 777-0133.
When it come to renewal notices, always try to update your home address with your local DMV to avoid this type of situations.
What if lost my DMV renewal notice?
You shouldn’t worry about losing your vehicle registration renewal notice as you can still renew your registration by following alternatives routes including in-person visits or online renewals.
Yet, you could always contact the local DMV to find out more about your current status.
Can I renew my registration from out of state?
Whether you are currently located out-of-state, the CA DMV allows you to renew your car registration by mail as if it was already mentioned above.
Make sure you have the renewal notice with you prior to submitting your documentation.
How to read a California vehicle registration card
It’s simple. Your license number is at the right of your vehicle, whereas your vehicle identification number (VIN) is the last 5 digits on the center left side of your card.
Your vehicle licensing fee is the second set of digits at the bottom.
Do I need a smog check to renew my registration?
Yes. CA registration renewals require drivers to get a smog check to ensure emission equipment on cars keep running properly and have not been altered since the last inspection.
However, some vehicle are exempt from meeting smog requirements including:
- Vehicles that are 1975 or older models that are powered by gasoline
- Vehicles that are 1997 or older models that are diesel powered and have a Gross Vehicle Weight of 14,000 lbs. or more
- Vehicles that are natural gas powered with a Gross Vehicle Weight of 14,000 lbs. or more
- Electric vehicles
Gasoline-powered, hybrids, and alternative-fuel vehicles that are 1976 and newer versions require a smog check. Yet, here are 2 exceptions to the norm:
- Six model-year and newer vehicles do not need a biennial (every other year) inspection
- Four model-year and newer vehicles do not need a change-of-ownership inspection
Where can I get a smog check?
You could get a smog check by going to the nearest Smog Check station in your area or call (800) 952-5210.
Can I renew my registration online in California?
Yes, you can. You could choose to renew your CA DMV registration renewal online.
As you may find it easier to renew your car registration online, you won’t be allowed to do it with the DMV if you have any pending traffic/delinquency fees.
Still, car registration renewals online are more secure and convenient compared to other options. That’s why eTags offers a CA DMV registration renewal online service to help you handle this procedure easy and quick.
Note that there’s a convenience fee associated when you renew your car registration with eTags, but that fee is normally offset by the time, fuel, and unnecessary frustration savings related to renewal in person.
Can I print my vehicle registration online in California?
If you renew your vehicle registration with your local CA DMV office, your vehicle registration will be mailed to the address you added on your vehicle records.
eTags, though, offers users to print their vehicle registration online anytime by calling the support team or visiting the website.
Can I complete my DMV registration renewal online if I am currently out-of-state?
You definitely could do it but the CA DMV will force you to change your registered mailing address to your new out-of-state address, which makes it more complicated to handle.
If you aren’t planning on staying at your out-of-state address permanently, you could use our eTags registration renewal service to get the tags mailed to you.
It’s an easier and hassle-free choice as you won’t need to make any changes on your vehicle information to complete your car registration renewal in CA.
Ready to renew your CA DMV vehicle registration online?
We hope these commonly asked questions about CA DMV tag renewal have been helpful. If you have another question regarding how to renew your vehicle registration in the state of California, leave us a question below in the comments and we will be happy to answer as soon as we can.
If you’re ready to renew we would be happy to assist. Save time, avoid the line, and renew your vehicle registration online by visiting eTags.com/app/ca/renewal.
Can i renew a vehicle I drive and insured by me and my husband but only my husband is on the lease?
Sure! Place an order for registration renewal here! Make sure the order is in your husband’s name as he is the registered party.
I got a vehicle registration renewal notice and request to smog test my car, can I do the smog test without the renewal notice? I lost the register renewal notice. Thank you
Hi there! Sure you can! All the records are kept electronically. The inspection station only needs your VIN and they can look the rest up!
My car registration expires on December 24th, 2022, and I already put my new registration sticker on. Do I need to keep a copy of the old registration in the car for a couple of weeks until the new registration reaches the date that is printed on it?
Hi there! I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If you want to keep the registration for good measure, that’s fine. But as long as you have a valid registration that shows your vehicle is legal, you’re fine!
I bought a new truck last October. My tags came up this October but the renewal said “return by mail only” I mailed the check and renewal form on 10/29 and the check hasn’t been cashed after 5 days. Is this normal? What do I do?
Thanks for your question. This can be typical of the DMV to take some time to process requests. I don’t think there’s much that you can do other than track your check! Keep an eye on when it gets cashed. If you can, head into a DMV in person and explain your situation. They’ll hopefully be able to help! Good luck!
Here’s my situation. My vehicle registration comes due in July 2023, when I will be out of the country for 6 months starting January 7, 2023. I will require a smog check before I can renew. Smog checks are valid for 90 days and I can renew my registration up to 75 days in advance. So if I have a smog check done just before I leave it will expire two weeks before my renewal window opens to renew registration. Any advice on how to handle this? Is there any way to change the expiration/renewal date of my registration?
Thank you for your question. You’ve found yourself in quite a situation. I’d recommend first checking online to see if your vehicle meets a smog exemption. If not, your only other option is probably to have someone take your vehicle to get smogged and then complete your renewal online. You can check out our website as we have a dedicated processing department that can see your renewal through! I hope this information helps!
My new.registration tag arrived today but the current one on my vehicle does not expire until 12/20/2022. Can you I apply the new tag immediately?
Sure you can! Your vehicle has legally been renewed and you’re ahead of the game! No harm in that!
I did my renewal registration online on 5/23 but haven’t gotten it on mail yet how much time do they take to come on the mail because on a message it says that it takes up to 5 business days
im sorry but we cant find you in the system with your email address, can you send over your license plate…did u renew with eTags? We are not the DMV.
My rear plate got stolen and I already paid and processed for new plates online. I received the receipt that says it will be mailed 2-4 weeks. Can I drive with one license plate while I wait for my tags to arrive in mail..?
Thank you for your question! It’s not advisable to drive without both license plates. This decision is to be made at your discretion. Good luck!
Haven’t received my renewal notice from DMV. What do I need to renewal online with etags?
Thank you so much for reaching out to eTags regarding your renewal. All you need to complete the renewal online with eTags is to place an order! Our full-service site will ask you all of the pertinent questions to obtain your fees and you’ll be able to pay right on the site. After the order is processed (usually the same day!) you’ll receive a digital copy of your registration! I hope this information helps! Here’s the link to place an order!
Do I have to pay vehicle-renewal when my car and I move out of state?
You’ll have to pay your registration and title in the new state you’re in.
I renewed my registration online with the California DMV website. I got an email that was the receipt and it’s paid for. The money has not deducted out of my bank account so how many days does that take?
We’re not sure, since we are not the DMV. eTags processes registrations online. Perhaps you can contact your local dmv for more info.
I renewed my vehicle registration and paid for it online on 12/23/2021. It was about two months late so I paid the late registration fee as well, but I haven’t received my tags in the mail yet. I received a DMV receipt in my email saying the payment went through. How long does it usually take?
You’d have to contact the CA DMV if that’s who you registered with
Already paid my registration and tags online however I don’t want to wait the 2 weeks for it to come in the mail can I still go to a kiosk and have it printed out since I already paid for it
You can find contact to kiosk here
I mailed my check for renewal of my California car registration a week ago, but the DMV has not received it yet. The due date on the registration is on December 16th. Since I mailed it on December 6th, will it be considered late, if the DMV hasn’t received it by December 16th?
10.070 Mail Applications (CVC §9557)
An application for renewal by mail is made when an application in an envelope addressed to DMV is placed in the U.S. mail or in a post box maintained by the U.S. Postal Service. The postmark date is generally considered the mailed date.
I was wanting to know if my husband can pick up my new plates and tags for me I already paid for them I just need a smog and he doing that later
If the order you placed was online, your registration sticker would be shipped to you once the smog is completed. You would not be able to pick up the registration sticker unless you paid for a replacement. If you placed an order at a DMV kiosk or office, you may be able to pick up the sticker after the smog requirement is complete. We recommend contacting the DMV at (800) 777-0133
Hi, I was wondering, under late fees, there’s “AFTER (Date) NO PNO,” what does it mean by NO PNO? Unlike the dates above “AFTER,” there are PNO fees. Does NO PNO suggest that you can’t drive your vehicle if it’s not renewed? Thank you.
PNO on time renewal is $19.00. If you post PNO fees you avoid late fees if you choose to renew at a later date. If you do not post registration or PNO fees you can be ticketed or towed at the owners expense on top of the DMV penalties incurred.
Simple question. My license plate renewal month is October. I just got my renewal sticker (in Sept).
Should I wait till October to affix the new sticker?
You should affix the new sticker to the plate as soon as you get it, this way you also avoid loosing it or even damaging the sticker and having to obtain a replacement.
hello. i just bought a used car in june. the new plates came in today and they expire in january. why do i not get a year? did i pay a prorated rate when i bought the car? if so, then fine.. but if i paid for a year then i want a year!
There are a few scenarios that would answer your question, but i don’t have enough info such as if the car is from out of state or has vanity plates.
I renewed my vehicle registration online but did not receive an email confirmation or receipt of payment from the DMV. Does the DMV still send email confirmations after you renew your license plates online?
eTags isn’t part of the DMV, perhaps check online in the DMVs FAQ section or call your local branch.
Hi, did the payment ever post through your bank account? I’m having this same problem too. I just tried to pay via e-check twice and no confirmation number. The page did not even go to a new page to confirm…the pay button turned from blue to Gray…I’m stressing out. Please let me know.
Hey there, did you complete an order with eTags online? If so, let u know your order number so we can check status.
I’m on a registration with one other individual, the DMV will not renew without this person’s signature, however they have refused to sign. What is my recourse?
Seems like this is a legal issue, you may have to get legal advice.
I will be moving out of CA after a month of registration due date, can I avoid renewal in CA and register vehicle in new state(Oregon) since there is no option of 1 month registration in CA ?
There is no option to renew for a month in CA. You can renew your registration in CA and once the year is over, you can transfer their title to OR. You can renew online at https://www.etags.com/app/ca?utm_source=blog_question
I renewed my registration at the DMV kiosk 60 days prior to expiration. Can I use the renewal registration card in lieu of the current one? The reason I ask is because my current one is missing. Thanks….
If you already renewed your registration then you can use your new card
Had vanity plates on my previous car that got totaled, bought used car from a dealership and had the dealership switch over the license plate on the used car i just bought to my previous vanity plates. Registration sticker just came in the mail for my car… my vanity plates now match my car i just purchased but the month is wrong. The registration paper says it expires in January but i never received that sticker, only the year sticker for this new car. Now i have a diff month on my vanity plate that is April…. how do i get the correct January sticker? Or is there a problem with that and/or will a cop stop me for that.
You can obtain a month sticker for free by visiting your local AAA or DMV office. Take your registration card with you in case they ask for it as proof of current registration. You may also place an order for a replacement with us by visiting eTags.com/app/ca. There’s a fee but you don’t have to walk in to any office. Keep in mind that a replacement order with us means you will also receive a replacement year sticker.
Hello, I am moving to the UK and selling my car in the next few months. The due date on my registration is Feb 26th. However, it says that I have until May 27 to pay (with penalties).
If I am planning to sell my car in April, and the registration has to be current when I sell, do I have to pay the renewal bill beforehand? Since I can pay up until May 27 is the registration considered current during that time or not?
I have contacted several car selling sites and no one can seem to give me a straight answer.
You are not required to renew the registration before selling the car but you will not be able to legally drive it after the expiration date if you do not. There is no cut-off point to when the registration can be paid after expiration. The fees will simply continue to accumulate. Once you sell the car, it will be the new owner’s responsibility to pay any registrations fee due when they are completing the transfer. You can place an order to renew your registration by visiting https://www.etags.com/app/ca/renewal?utm_source=blogquestion or the person that buys the car can go to: eTags.com/app/ca/title#utm_source=blogquestion to start their title transfer online and get the registration fees paid quickly to avoid accumulation of late penalties.
I got a vehicle registration renewal notice for next year and it was twice as much as last years fees! no tickets. no other outstanding fees. The license fee is supposedly based on the value of my 13 year old car. last year it was $23. the renewal says $125. does anyone know why this is? and how i can dispute it?