Registering an Out of State Car in California- Xtreet

If you are bringing an out of state car into California, this will be considered a nonresident vehicle. This means a vehicle that is registered in another state or country. Registering an out of state vehicle is necessary so that you can avoid any extra late vehicle registration California charges. There are certain rules, regulations and information to follow when Register Your Car in California and California vehicle registration from out of state has certain guidelines. It is vital to note that you will have to register your vehicle with the California DMV within 20 days from when they are due to avoid penalties and pay CA vehicle registration.

Cars That Can Be Registered

Certain vehicles cannot be registered in California. We recommend checking out rules and exceptions in the Buying a Vehicle From Out of State–Can You Register It in California? (FFVR 29) Fast Facts brochure if you are not sure you can register the car. As a word of caution, vehicles that do not meet California emission standards are not allowed to be registered if they are less than two years old or have less than 7,500 miles on the odometer when purchased. You can find further information about exceptions on the REG 256F form or on vehicle registration CA online.

Additionally, there are requirements that commercial motor vehicles and trailers need to fulfill. This includes filling out additional forms and submitting other certificates.

California car registration requirements

  • A completed Application for Title or Registration form (REG 343) that all the owners have signed is needed. If the car is leased, the lessor’s signature is required.
  • The vehicle’s last out of state title
  • A document that confirms the vehicle’s last out of state registration is needed. This can be a registration certificate or a current year renewal certificate. If this is not available, it can be a document from the last registration jurisdiction verifying the vehicle’s expiration date and owner.
  • A Verification of Vehicle form (REG 31) completed by authorized personnel is needed. This includes an authorized DMV employee, licensed vehicle verifier or law enforcement officer.
  • A valid smog certificate from a California smog station for certain vehicles. This includes gasoline-powered models from 1976, diesel-powered models from 1998 under 14,001 pounds and natural gas-powered vehicles under 14,001 pounds.
  • Out of state license plates. If the plates are expired or from an interstate registered vehicle, this is not required.
  • Vehicle’s proof of insurance
  • Fees that pertain to tax, transfer and application are required.


Registration fees for out of state vehicles must be paid within 20 days to the DMV from when they are due. It is recommended that you submit your application and California vehicle transfer fee before the date, even if all the requirements are not fulfilled. In this way, you will be able to avoid any penalties and late fees. The date from when these fees will become due will depend on various factors. We recommend you check out the HTVR 33 brochure to get detailed information about fees due and exemptions. Additionally, you can get an estimate on the official California DMV website ( through the Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator. However, you can only calculate an exact amount once you have submitted the registration application to the DMV.

Sales Tax

There may be a sales tax due for your car when registering it. This would be the case if you bought the car within one year from when it entered the state of California. This sales tax will be on the cash price of the vehicle. The cash price refers to the price without additional charges when buying the car. These charges include tax, documentation and licensing fees. There may be exceptions to the sales tax, such as if the vehicle is a gift or belongs to a relative. But it does not include used car registration fee California.

Obtaining a Duplicate Out of State Title

There may be situations where you may not be able to provide an out of state title. This may be the case if the title has been stolen, destroyed or lost. As a result, you may have to obtain a duplicate by the same state where the title was issued. As a result, you will have to contact the California DMV through their official website or phone. You can obtain any forms you may need from their official website, office, or mail.