CA California DMV Planned Non Operation PNO

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WARNING! Planned Non-Operation (PNO) means your vehicle will be stored and not operated on any public streets or highways after its registration expiration date. The PNO fee which you'll be required to pay will be significantly less than your full registration fees. If your vehicle is operated (including being towed) on any public street or highway after its registration expires, and full registration fees have not been paid, you will be required to pay penalties in addition to your registration fees. (See Vehicle Code Sections 4604, 4604.2 and 4604.5)

Order Includes: New planned non operation notice, online e-Card download, and anytime registration reinstatement.

Officially Licensed by the Department of Motor VehiclesOfficially Licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles
Officially Licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles

What is a DMV Planned Non Operation and How Does It Work?

Ever had a vehicle which you stopped driving yet couldn't let go of, maybe for sentimental reasons or an appreciation in value? Or perhaps you have one that needs repairs you just haven't gotten to. Why pay registration fees or insurance for a vehicle which you cannot or do not plan on driving? This is preciously where a DMV Planned Non Operation (PNO) comes in.

Filing a PNO stops your vehicle's insurance and smog check requirements. It also allows you to postpone paying any registration fees until that time which you choose to operate the vehicle on public roadways and/or highways again. Just keep in mind, not only may the vehicle not be driven (including being towed) on public roadways while its under non-op status, but it cannot be parked on public property either. In many jurisdictions, this can include parking lots located at shopping centers, strip malls, movie theaters, etc.

If at any time the vehicle is operated or parked where it may be subject to citation, then full registration fees and penalties for that year become due. The DMV is made aware of the violation and will send the vehicle's registered owner a notice demanding payment. If response is not received within 30 days, a VLT stop is placed on the vehicle's DMV records. All DMV transactions are suspended until payment is received. The vehicle may be subject to impoundment if corrective action is not taken immediately.

So, if you're planning on placing your vehicle under non-op status for the right reasons, taking everything mentioned above into consideration, the DMV's Planned Non Operation program is right for you; and below we'll explain all you need to know on how to get it done easily.

I've received my renewal notice and want to file a PNO. What's next?

Assuming you want to file for a PNO by mail, simply detach the lower portion of your registration renewal notice and mail it in with the appropriate PNO fee amount. The DMV will mail back a Non-Operated Vehicle Notice indicating the vehicle's registration is now under Planned Non Operation status. Store your vehicle on private property on or before its current registration expiration date. Use the sample renewal notice below as a guide. There is no added fee for filing by mail. Allow the DMV 3-4 weeks to process your PNO. For DMV in-person service, please make a DMV appointment prior to your visit.
Vehicle Registration PNO

I don't have my renewal notice. Can I still file a PNO by mail?

Yes, you can file a planned non operation by mail without your vehicle's registration renewal notice. Complete a Certificate of Non-Operation/Planned Non- Operation Certification (REG 102) and mail it in with your payment (check, money order, cashiers check) to the DMV address on the form. The REG 102 will serve in lieu of your renewal notice. You will receive a Non-Operated Vehicle Notice within 3-4 weeks.

I need a PNO today. Can I file it in-person?

Yes, you can file a PNO in person. In case an urgent matter requires you obtain a Planned Non Operation notice as soon as possible, the fastest method would be to visit a local vehicle registration office and request a PNO in-person. These offices are known as BPA (Business Partner Automation) providers. They are your local DMV office alternatives. They provide the same vehicle registration services which you would find at a state run DMV office but without long lines and usually no wait; service fees apply. They can provide same-day PNO processing and issue a Non Operation Notice for your vehicle on-the-spot.

You may also visit your local DMV branch office. Take with you your current or expired registration card and ID. You'll need to see a DMV clerk and pay the PNO fee indicated on your renewal notice. The DMV clerk will then issue your vehicle a Non-Operation Vehicle Notice. If planning on visiting your local DMV branch office in person, it is highly recommended to make an appointment beforehand.

How To File a DMV Planned Non-Operation Online

There are several options which will allow you to file your PNO online, with or without having received your vehicle's registration renewal notice. The only requirement is that you be within the allowed PNO filing timeline. Have your vehicle's license plate number and last five digits of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) available. You can obtain both these off a registration card, certificate of title, renewal notice, or directly from your vehicle. The VIN can be obtained either from the public VIN (located behind the windshield on the lower driver's side corner) or from the manufacturer label affixed to the driver's side door post.

Tip! If you recently moved and suspect this to be the reason your DMV renewal notice never arrived, we recommend placing your vehicle under non-op through NeedTags. We'll ensure your Planned Non Operation Notice gets mailed to your new address. Plus, if DMV asks for an address update while your order is being processed, we'll be able to update those records and issue your new Planned Non Operation Notice with your correct address printed.

Online Option 1 - Standard DMV Processing (3-4 Weeks)

For renewal notices which include a RIN number: If your renewal notice has a RIN number printed on the left column, you may place your vehicle under non-operation status through the DMV portal. Bypass any smog check or proof of insurance requirement if needed. Proceed through the online steps until you are displayed your renewal fees. You will be given an option to select Non-Operation status. Go ahead and choose that option, then continue on to the DMV payment screen. Allow the DMV 3-4 weeks to process your PNO and to mail you a Non-Operation Vehicle Notice.

Online Option 2 - Expedited DMV Processing through NeedTags (Same-Day)

If your renewal notice does not include a RIN number and the DMV website does not accept your vehicle's information, or more importantly, you need your vehicle's registration placed under non-operational status immediately, consider requesting PNO through NeedTags. We have communication channels built into our system which allow us to handle complex DMV transactions effortlessly online. As an authorized DMV partner, NeedTags can process your PNO, resolve any hold-up, and ship your new PNO documents as fast as overnight to any address in the U.S., with guaranteed delivery.

DMV Planned Non-Operation Related Facts and Q & A

What is the timeline for requesting a PNO and how much does it cost?

You may request a PNO filing up to 60 days prior to your vehicle's registration expiration date without penalty; only pay a $23.00 PNO filling fee, or up to 90 days after the registration expiration date; pay PNO filing fee plus late penalty. Your registration renewal notice will indicate the PNO fees due (late fees included) based on your PNO filing date. If filing by mail, your postmark date is considered.

If you're past the 90 day filing timeline, full registration and late penalties will be due. After paying your registration fees, consider filing an Affidavit of Non-Use. An affidavit of non-use will allow you to cancel your vehicle's insurance policy without DMV penalty. See below.

Consider filing an Affidavit of Non-Use if you're past your PNO deadline.

So that you are not required to carry liability insurance for a vehicle which you do not intend to drive, but for which you've already paid or are required to pay full DMV registration fees, consider filing an Affidavit of Non-Use (REG 5090). A non-use affidavit notifies the DMV that your currently registered vehicle will no longer be operated or parked on any California roadway and its liability insurance coverage will be cancelled. This will allow you to avoid receiving the dreaded "registration suspension" notice. You can remove a previously submitted Affidavit of Non-Use from your vehicle's DMV record at any time during the paid registration period, provided your vehicle is insured (state minimum requirements apply).

File an Affidavit of Non-Use faster, online: CA DMV - File Affidavit of Non-Use

Note: Unlike a PNO, an Affidavit of Non-Use (REG 5090) does not exempt a vehicle from registration renewal fees, nor any smog check requirement. It only allows for a vehicle to be temporarily uninsured. Assuming you wish to continue keeping the vehicle stored, when its registration expires, you'll be required to either pay renewal fees and file a new Affidavit of Non-Use, or place the vehicle under Planned Non-Operation status.

What is the penalty for operating a Planned Non-Op vehicle on public streets?

While your vehicle is under Non-Operation status it must be stored on private property and cannot be operated in public. Substantial penalties, in addition to annual DMV registration fees, will become immediately due if a driver is caught in violation of the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles PNO statutes; Vehicle Code Sections 4604, 4604.2 and 4604.5. We list the latest California PNO penalty fee structure further below on this page.

Can I sell my vehicle while it's under Planned Non Operation status?

Yes, you are able to transact the vehicle. Meaning, you can sell the vehicle if you choose, but the new owner will not be able to drive it, at least not on public streets or roadways, unless they pay California Department of Motor Vehicles registration and title transfer fees, and provide a passing smog check (smog certificate), if required. Towing the vehicle from where you purchase it, or obtaining a one-day moving permit, are some options here.

The process of selling and buying a non-operation vehicle can become complicated; almost a catch-22 sometimes, in that the vehicle may require a smog check but be unable to be driven to a test facility. A one-day moving permit can only be obtained after paying full registration fees, which means you'll need to visit the DMV after obtaining the vehicle's title from the seller, and pay DMV registration fees without having moved the vehicle yet. With the one-day moving permit issued by the DMV, you'll then drive the vehicle to a smog test center. Once the vehicle is inspected, you can make a final trip to the DMV to finalize the transfer and be issued a new registration card and year sticker, as well a new Certificate of Title mailed to you in 3-4 weeks. You'll need to turn in your old title in order to receive a new one.

You can also perform a California vehicle title transfer safely online; without a single visit to the DMV, and only one quick trip to your local post office. A one-day moving permit will be provided to you at no cost and we can overnight it to any address once your title transfer is processed. For security reasons and per Department of Motor Vehicles guidelines, you will be required to mail your title to our processing center prior to us posting fees with the DMV.

Buyer Beware: When a California registered vehicle is purchased, the buyer (new owner) becomes responsible for any past due registration fees and penalties when the vehicle is transferred into the buyer's name, unless:

  • The vehicle is currently registered.
  • There is a PNO on file with the DMV. Fees must be paid before operation to avoid penalties.

Do I need to have car insurance before filing for a PNO?

No, insurance is not necessary when placing a vehicle under Planned Non-Operation status. In fact, filing a PNO is one way to stop the DMV from requiring auto insurance ever; or at least until you start driving the vehicle again. Note: If your vehicle's registration is currently suspended, you may be unable to place it under PNO status without first visiting the DMV and correcting the suspension issue. Should this be the case, contact the DMV at (800) 777-0133 for suspension information specific to your vehicle.

Do I need a smog check before I can PNO my registration?

Not at all. A smog check will not be required when filing a PNO. The purpose of placing your vehicle under Planned Non Operational status is for the DMV to stop requesting renewal action(s), including obtaining a smog certificate; for as long as you intend to not operate your vehicle in public. Be prepared to provide proof of a passing smog inspection when you decide to reinstate your vehicle's registration. Note: A smog certificate is valid for 90 days from the date of its issuance. Records are transmitted to the DMV electronically. Keep your actual smog certificate (hard copy) with your vehicle's records.

I'm ready to start driving my car again. How do I get my registration reinstated?

If you placed your vehicle under planned non-operation through NeedTags, the process of reinstating its registration is simple. Visit our DMV registration portal and complete the online renewal form. The system will calculate current DMV fees owed and allow you to make payment. If there are any outstanding requirements, e.g. smog certification or proof of insurance, our system will post fees with the DMV and allow you time to perform the required tasks. Paying your registration fees through this method will automatically clear your vehicle's PNO status and reinstate its registration the fastest way possible.

Assuming everything is in order, a new registration card and sticker will be mailed to you same-business day. We offer express and next-day shipping to any address in the U.S. All renewal orders include an instant registration e-Card download free.

DMV Planned Non Operation Penalty and Fines - California Vehicle Code - VEH § 4604.5

(a)(1) If the vehicle has not been operated, moved, or left standing upon any highway subsequent to the expiration of the vehicle's registration, the certification specified in Section 4604 or 4604.2 may be filed after the expiration of the registration of a vehicle, but not later than 90 days after the expiration date, subject to the payment of the filing fee specified in Section 4604 and the penalty specified in paragraph (2).

(2) A penalty shall be collected on any certification specified in Section 4604 or 4604.2 filed later than midnight of the date of expiration of registration. The penalty shall be computed as provided in Sections 9406 and 9559 and after the registration and weight fees have been combined with the license fee specified in Section 10751 of the Revenue and Taxation Code (this refers to Vehicle Licensing Fees), as follows:

  • (A) For a delinquency period of 10 days or less, the penalty is 10 percent of the fee.
  • (B) For a delinquency period of more than 10 days, to and including 30 days, the penalty is 20 percent of the fee.
  • (C) For a delinquency period of more than 30 days, to and including 90 days, the penalty is 60 percent of the fee.
Fees collected are distributed as follows: 40.7% to local government (cities/counties), 25.7% to the CHP, 13.9% to the DMV, 13.0% to Caltrans, 1.7% to the California Air Resources Board, 4.3% to other state agencies, and 0.7% to the general fund.