CA California DMV Vehicle Registration Renewal

Fast, Secure, and Easy-To-Use Registration Renewal | Officially Entrusted by the CA DMV  California DMV Authorized Provider

CA DMV Vehicle Registration RenewalCalifornia DMV Vehicle Registration Renewal

Renew your vehicle registration online with faster options.

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Retrieving DMV Records

Retrieving DMV Records
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Order Includes: New vehicle registration card, license plate year tag, replacement month sticker, and instant digital download.


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

California Department of Motor Vehicles services delegated to NEEDTAGS

Instant Registration Card
Download a digital copy of your new CA DMV registration card instantly for free. Print out your e-Card or display it on your mobile device anytime.
Expedited DMV Processing
Get DMV tags as fast as next day with API driven technology. Our proprietary platform is built to expedite the processing of your vehicle's registration.
Anytime Fee Payment
No smog? No insurance? Not a problem. Avoid late fees and long DMV lines. Our system will accept your payment and post your renewal fees anytime.
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Recently moved? Just let us know your new address. We ensure you get your sticker & registration card, guaranteed. We ship anywhere in the U.S.
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Get back on the road in no time. A dedicated agent will help resolve your registration suspension, insurance or ticket issues, expeditiously online.
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DMV Vehicle Registration Renewal Q & A

Skip DMV lines! Renew your CA vehicle registration online with NeedTags. Get instant vehicle registration, free e-Card download, and stickers next-day. Pay your DMV vehicle registration renewal fees and renew your DMV tags now.

a. How much is the penalty if I renew my vehicle registration late?

Paying Vehicle Registration Renewal Late
Penalties range depending on how late you renew your vehicle registration. The DMV does not allow a grace period for vehicle registration renewal. Penalties accrue the day after your tag expires, at midnight. An exception applies for those expiration dates which fall on weekends and/or holidays.

Use the chart below to determine how much more you'll need to pay if you renew your vehicle registration late. If you have your vehicle's registration renewal notice, see the right side center for a list on fees due based on payment postmark date. Get your car registration fees paid as soon as possible to avoid late fees.

  • 1 - 10 Days Late - Additional 10% vehicle license and weight fee plus $10.00 DMV penalty and $10.00 CHP fee
  • 11 - 30 Days Late - Additional 20% vehicle license and weight fee plus $15.00 DMV penalty and $15.00 CHP fee
  • 31 Days - 1 Year - Additional 60% vehicle license and weight fee plus $30.00 DMV penalty and $30.00 CHP fee
  • 1 Year - 2 Years - Additional 80% vehicle license and weight fee plus $50.00 DMV penalty and $50.00 CHP fee
  • More Than 2 Years - Additional 160% vehicle license and weight fee plus $100.00 DMV penalty and $100.00 CHP fee

b. What is the penalty for driving with expired tags and can my car be impounded?

Can My Car Be Impounded for Expired Tags?
The penalty for driving a vehicle with expired registration may be as severe as a vehicle impoundment. Ordinarily an officer will issue a citation for expired registration under CVC 4000a(1) and allow you to pay the fine through traffic court if your tags aren't expired over 6 months. The law does allow an officer to impound any vehicle with expired registration greater than 6 months. A 4000a(1) citation is a correctable offense and not counted as a traffic point against your driving record. The penalties however, especially if your vehicle is impounded, are severe. Renew your vehicle registration before it gets too late. California Vehicle Code 4462 VC requires drivers to show police proof of registration upon request. Anyone who displays false or invalid proof of registration faces misdemeanor charges, including up to 6 months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.

c. Do I need car insurance before I can renew my vehicle's registration?

Do I Need Car Insurance Before Renewing My DMV Vehicle Registration?
When processing your vehicle registration renewal online through NeedTags, you may pay your renewal fees without current insurance coverage. This will help you avoid DMV late fees in case you can't get coverage for your car before your vehicle registration expiration date, or if your insurance company hasn't yet sent electronic proof of insurance to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Once you renew vehicle registration through NeedTags, we will check DMV insurance records. If an insurance policy record for your vehicle is not found, we'll contact you to collect this information the easiest way possible. Most often you'll simply snap a photo of your insurance card and email it to us. With this process, NeedTags is able to renew your vehicle registration faster. You will receive your new vehicle registration sticker and registration card once you submit proof of insurance or upon the DMV receiving electronic proof of insurance from your insurance carrier. Insurance companies in California are required by law to electronically report auto insurance policy information to the DMV for all private-use vehicles, (CVC §16058). Commercial or business insurance policies are exempt from electronic reporting. Reporting time is 30 days from the date coverage is obtained, and 45 days from when coverage has been canceled. Depending on how fast your auto insurance company sends data to the DMV, the DMV insurance system may or may not reflect your current insurance status. Records will indicate no financial liability coverage on record when you actually have coverage. Should you be in this situation, contact us to renew your vehicle registration. We can help.

d. Do I need a smog check before I can renew my vehicle registration?

Do I Need a Smog Check Before Renewing My DMV Registration?
For the purpose of CA DMV vehicle registration renewal, automobiles 8 years and older require a smog inspection every two years. Your DMV vehicle registration renewal notice will show the requirement. NeedTags.com can accept your renewal payment and post fees with the DMV so that you do not accrue penalties. Your new registration card and sticker will be mailed to you after your vehicle passes the smog inspection. If you've recently failed a smog test, this is the best option to avoid late fees. After your vehicle passes the smog test, the station conducting the inspection will electronically transmit your smog certificate to the Department of Motor Vehicles as well as give you a print out of your smog test results. Pay particular attention to the type of smog check the DMV has requested your vehicle undergo. You may be able to visit any smog station or only one that is STAR certified depending on the inspection type requirement. Visit www.SmogTips.com for more information. The website also features money saving coupons and smog test rebate program.

When renewing your vehicle registration through the DMV either by mail or online and before obtaining and passing a smog check, please allow 30 days from the date your vehicle passes the smog inspection to receive your new registration card and sticker. If your registration is due to expire soon or for any reason you need to get your new registration card and tag as soon as possible, renew your vehicle registration through NeedTags.com. We will post fees with the DMV now so that you avoid late fees, and mail out your new registration card and sticker on the same-day which you obtain your smog inspection. For DMV in-person service, please make a DMV appointment prior to your visit.

e. What can I do if I need a smog test but my car is temporarily out of state?

How Can I Get an Out of State Smog Check Exemption?
If your car is temporarily located out of state and its your DMV vehicle registration renewal notice indicates a smog certificate is required, you do not necessarily need to drive it to California to obtain a smog inspection. When completing your renewal by mail, simply submit along with your renewal notice an Application for Temporary Smog Exemption (REG 5103). After your renewal is processed, the DMV will mail your new registration card and sticker to the mailing address on file.

This may or may not be convenient for you if your vehicle is required to have current tags in the state which you are located temporarily. Also when completing your vehicle registration renewal through the DMV, the smog exemption process takes approximately 30 days between the time you mail in the REG 5103 and the DMV reviews and authorizes it. If you choose to take this route, you may need to have someone at your mailing address forward your new vehicle registration card and sticker to your out-of-state address once the DMV processes your renewal.

Smog Check Exemption Online: To avoid the hassle of filing your smog exemption by mail, or in the case that you don't have someone available at your mailing address to forward your new vehicle registration out of state, the better option is to use NeedTags to renew your vehicle's registration and to allow us to file your smog check exemption online. When you order vehicle registration renewal through NeedTags and you email us your REG 5103 instead of mailing it to the DMV, we'll process your vehicle's registration renewal without a smog check and mail your new registration card and sticker to your out of state address on the same business day on which we receive your REG 5103. We allow you to email us the REG 5103 form, which speeds up the process tremendously. This is absolutely the best method to renew your registration without a smog check when your vehicle is located out of state. This service is especially beneficial to RVers, students, and military personnel... but really to anyone who is temporarily out of state and needs new stickers fast. Note: Smog exemptions are not allowed when a vehicle is located in Nevada.

How To Order: If you'd like to file your smog exemption online, you may submit your vehicle registration renewal order now. Upon receiving our confirmation email, reply back with your REG 5103 attachment and we'll proceed with filing your exemption. You may submit your REG 5103 as a scanned PDF document or a photo/image taken with your smartphone. Please ensure your REG 5103 is of high resolution and cropped neatly if submitting a photo/image. If any corrections are needed, we will contact you before the filing. The additional fee for this service is $60.00. It will be billed to your credit card after you place your renewal order through our online registration renewal system. Renew your vehicle registration with faster online options through NeedTags.

The filing fee for military personnel stationed out of state is $40.00. Please ensure your REG 5103 states out of state military status as the reason for your smog exemption request.

REG 5103 Quick Guide: Complete a CA DMV Application for Temporary Smog Exemption the right way.

If you've already paid your vehicle registration renewal fees through the DMV, that's perfectly fine. Go ahead and place your order through the NeedTags CA DMV registration renewal portal and reply to our Smog Check required confirmation email with your completed REG 5103 form. We'll charge the additional smog exemption filing fee to the credit card you provided during order placement and renew your vehicle registration. We highly recommend that you process both your registration renewal and smog check exemption through NeedTags.com as this will make your smog check exemption filing much more streamlined.

f. Can I receive my vehicle registration card and sticker at my new address?

Change My Address with the DMV
Yes, but only after you've updated your address with the DMV, and have allowed at least 10 days to pass before making your DMV vehicle registration renewal payment. Unlike, NeedTags, the DMV will only mail your new registration card and sticker to the current address they have on file. If you updated your address with them recently, and soon after renewed your vehicle's registration, they may accidentally mail your new tags to your old address. You must give it at least 10 days before performing any transaction with them.

NeedTags however, can process your vehicle registration renewal, provide proof of registration instantly (e-Card download), and mail your sticker and registration card to any address in the U.S. regardless of the address on DMV record. Keep in mind this will not perform a Change of Address with the DMV. You must contact the DMV to officially change your address. To change your address on file with the California Department of Motor Vehicles you will need the following:

  • California driver license or identification card
  • Social security number
  • Last issued vehicle or vessel registration card
  • Address in the United States

Follow this link to change address online (account required): Change Address Online - CA DMV

Note: While your renew your vehicle registration through NeedTags, the DMV may require that we update your mailing address. Should this occur you may need to submit an address verification document. Follow this link to view a list of acceptable address verification documents.

g. My renewal is due but I have parking tickets. Can I still renew my car's registration?

Do I Need To Pay Parking Tickets when I Renew my DMV Registration?
It depends on whether the parking tickets or toll violations have been recorded with the DMV. If they have, you may renew your vehicle's registration but only if you pay the parking or toll tickets at the same time. Your total vehicle registration renewal fees will include an itemized list of outstanding parking tickets which you may make payment for, along with your DMV vehicle registration renewal payment. You may not renew your vehicle's registration without paying the parking citation(s) on record with the DMV. The good news is that not all parking and toll tickets are recorded with the DMV, only those which are delinquent. Your renewal notice will indicate which tickets and/or toll violations must be paid as well as the date of the parking ticket(s) or toll violation(s), the court through which the violation is handled, the citation number and the fine amount. If using our online registration renewal system, we will not require payment of delinquent parking tickets or toll violations until we confirm this information with the DMV. During the processing of your order and if the DMV has recorded any unpaid citations, we will notify you so that you may choose to complete your renewal order along with paying the fines. If the Department of Motor Vehicles has recorded parking or toll violations, payment for both your DMV renewal fees and outstanding fines must be made if intend on renewing your registration, either online, by mail or in-person. If you choose to contest a parking ticket, you will need to contact the municipality which issued the citation prior to being able to complete your renewal. If you've paid for a parking ticket yet the DMV indicates parking penalties are still due, it is possible your citation clearance has not been filed yet. You may be required to provide proof-of-payment to expedite the renewal process. Renew your vehicle registration with faster online options through NeedTags.

h. My car's registration is suspended. How do I remove the suspension and get new tags?

How To Clear a Suspended Vehicle Registration
The Department of Motor Vehicles will mail a letter to a vehicle owner indicating that the vehicle registration is suspended or will be suspended soon. More than often the suspension is related to having lapsed auto insurance coverage or not having auto liability coverage at all. Obtaining auto insurance and paying a $14.00 suspension reinstatement fee to the Vehicle Registration Financial Responsibility Program will clear the suspension. If your vehicle is currently insured, but DMV records still show that it is not, it is possible your insurance company has not yet provided electronic proof of insurance to the DMV. You will receive instruction on how to submit proof of insurance to the DMV once you access your vehicle's suspension record using the DMV Insurance Inquiry System. The system will allow you to learn the reason(s) your registration is suspended. The system will show you the current status of auto insurance and suspension reason. It'll identify any requirements due and provide an option for submitting payment, if required. Please note, a DMV office cannot process paperwork to clear vehicle insurance suspensions. Insurance suspensions are only be handled by the Vehicle Registration Financial Responsibility Program, and the only method to clear up the suspension is to either use the online insurance inquiry system or by calling the DMV at (800) 777-0133. Once your registration suspension is removed, you may renew your vehicle's registration, online, by mail or in person.