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Registration Renewal While Car is Out of State

 
Question 
My car is currently out of state and cannot undergo the mandatory smog testing at this time. I will need to submit a form REG 5103 with my registration payment in order to renew my registration. How would I go about processing the payment and submitting the exemption? Also, could the tags be sent to my out of state address? The tags do not expire until the end of next month, but I wanted to get this in motion in case there are any setbacks. Please let me know what steps I should follow.

Answer 

How To Renew Your California Registration While Out of State

Allow us to give you a quick run down of the smog check exemption process in California. If your vehicle is temporarily located out of state and the DMV has asked that you obtain a smog certificate for its registration renewal, it is possible to complete the renewal and get new tags without getting a smog check, effectively excusing you from having to bring your vehicle back to California to obtain an inspection.

You'll need to file a REG 5103 (Application for Temporary Smog Exemption for a Vehicle Located Out of State). The REG 5103, when completed properly and submitted along with your registration renewal payment, will exempt your vehicle from an emissions test until it is brought back to California.

The question is, do you have enough time? If filing the exemption by mail, allow at least 45 days to receive your renewed registration card and new license plate sticker, and expect it to be mailed to your address on DMV records. If this is not convenient for you, perhaps there is no one available to forward your mail, or 45 days is long past your current expiration date, consider filing your smog check exemption request online through NeedTags. We can complete the entire exemption and renewal process on the same day you email us your REG 5103 and we can mail your new tags to any address in the U.S.

If you indent on renewing your registration online through the DMV portal (not through NeedTags), and wish to mail in your REG 5103 to the DMV afterwords, expect approximately the same 45 day processing period. Once you make your payment to the DMV, online, without a smog certificate on record, the DMV will process your order as an RDF (Report of Deposit of Fees), in essence, an incomplete application. Once they receive your REG 5103 and approve it, your renewal will be placed back in queue for RDF clearance and renewal completion. Yes, it's a process, but it's free. If your in a bind for time, or don't wish to go through the DMV hassle, allow NeedTags to process your smog exemption much faster online and by email.

Request Smog Check Exemption By Mail

Prepare the REG 5103 properly (use the quick guide link below) and mail it to the DMV along with the bottom portion of your renewal notice and full renewal payment by check or money order. The DMV will forward your smog exemption application to their processing unit. Allow at least 30 days between the time the DMV receives your exemption request and authorizes it. Once approved, they will mail your new registration card and sticker to the mailing address on DMV record. The entire process should take approximately 45 days. Filing your smog exemption by mail and through the DMV is free.

Did you already mail in your renewal payment? If you already mailed your renewal notice and payment without a REG 5103, and received a Notice of Incomplete Application, you may mail the REG 5103 to the DMV address below now. Please allow at least 30 days before contacting the DMV for a status update.

Mail the REG 5103 to:

Vehicle Registration Operations
Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269

Request Smog Check Exemption Online

You may renew your vehicle's registration through NeedTags and email us your REG 5103 instead of mailing it to the DMV for much faster service. Same day service, in fact.

Submit your registration renewal through NeedTags now. Upon receipt of our confirmation email, reply back with your REG 5103 attachment. 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 $40.00. It will be billed to your credit card after you place your renewal order through our online registration renewal system.

Military Personnel stationed out of state filing fee is $30.00. Please ensure your REG 5103 states out of state military status as the reason for your smog exemption request.

Paid Renewal Through DMV, But Want NeedTags to Process Your Exemption Immediately?

If you've already paid your renewal fees through the DMV, you will be unable to use NeedTags to process your renewal with a smog check exemption online, but may do so by phone. Please contact us with your vehicle's license plate number, last 3 digits of the VIN, and daytime phone number. We will provide you filing fee information as well as an email address to submit your REG 5103. 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 quicker.

Download

You may download a REG 5103 below. Use Adobe Acrobat to complete the REG 5103 on your computer. Print out the REG 5103 and sign it. If you have electronic signature software installed, you may sign the document electronically and save it as a new PDF.

Related Material

REG 5103 (Download Form)

REG 5103 (Quick Guide)


 
 



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