How to Renew Car Registration in California
You must apply for car registration renewal in California before your vehicle’s current registration expires. Failure to renew on time may result in late fees and traffic citations if a police officer pulls you over for any reason.
As a reminder to apply for a CA DMV registration renewal, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) sends you an annual notice before your car or truck’s license plates are scheduled to expire. This reminder notice includes your vehicle’s renewal fee and specific instructions for renewing your registration credentials. However, even if you do not receive this notice, you are still required to renew.
If you do not apply for a tag (stickers on your license plate) renewal before your vehicle’s registration expires, you may be subject to late fees, as the state does not offer a grace period once your registration credentials expire. Typically, the amount you will need to pay will increase until you complete the steps renew your vehicle’s registration. To learn more about these requirements and the process you must take to renew your vehicle registration, review the information below.
Renewing Vehicle Registration in California
You may renew registration online in CA or use a DMV Now kiosk instead. You may also renew license plate tags by visiting a participating business partner near you. Online renewal is the quickest and most convenient method for most applicants, but you must meet a few important requirements in order to process your application electronically.
To apply for DMV car registration renewal from your computer or mobile device, you must be able to provide your license plate number, the last five digits of your vehicle’s identification number (VIN) and a current smog certification must be on file with the DMV (if necessary).
Additionally, your renewal notice must display your current address. If your address is not updated, you will need to request an address update on your registration before renewing your credentials. Your renewal notice will also provide you with additional details about the fees you must pay to renew your license plates.
Moreover, you may check vehicle registration status online or by phone if you do not receive a renewal notice from the DMV and wish to verify the annual registration fee before submitting your application. Typically, the cost of renewing your registration credentials includes a base registration fee, vehicle license fee and additional costs that vary depending on the county where you live and the weight of the automobile you wish to register.
DMV Now Kiosk
To instantly receive your vehicle registration renewal stickers, you may visit a DMV Now kiosk to process your request without delay. However, if you need to present proof of an automobile insurance policy or request a name change on your registration, you cannot submit your request via a DMV Now kiosk.
Additionally, you need a current renewal notice from the DMV to renew your plates by kiosk. Before renewing, you may perform a car reg check by phone if you did not receive a renewal notice from the DMV.
When using a DMV Now machine to apply for auto registration renewal in CA, you must also be able to provide a Renewal Identification Number (RIN), current registration card and an accepted form of payment to cover the cost of renewal. After processing your request, you will receive a new registration sticker and card before the end of your visit.
If you prefer to perform a car registration check and license plate renewal in person rather than online or at a kiosk, you may visit a local DMV office or participating business partner. While you can find participating DMV business partners throughout the state of California, these offices may charge an additional fee for their services.
Download our free guide for helpful information and tips about renewing car registration.