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All Topics > Out-of-State Vehicle Registration > California Registration for Car Located in Oregon

California Registration for Car Located in Oregon

I am currently working in Oregon and have my car here with me. I intend to live and work here for another year or two before moving back to California, but my car is currently registered in California. I have a smog check required by next month for tags, but driving down to California to get that done would be a long and costly trip. I was questioning whether or not I qualified for a REG 5103 especially if I am going to be out of state for over a year for work purposes.


So long as your vehicle is temporarily located in Oregon, and you intend on returning to California in the future, you may request a Smog Check Exemption.

The State of California does not have a "return" date requirement. In other words, if you're unsure as to when you'll be returning to California or when your vehicle will be brought back, you are allowed to write-in "unknown" for your return date (Line 1e of the REG 5103 form). The DMV will accept the application. Just keep in mind, although the DMV says they'll accept an application with an "unknown" vehicle return date, some applications do get rejected, especially when the reason provided for not being required to register the vehicle out-of-state does not suffice. We recommend mentioning a return date even if it is an approximation.

In your specific case, the fact that your vehicle is in Oregon for work related reasons, you do not intent to become of permanent resident of Oregon, and you'll be returning to California once your work is complete, qualifies your vehicle for a smog check exemption. If you have not yet mailed in your renewal payment and have your renewal notice in-hand, go ahead and submit the REG 5103 with your registration fees. Use the envelope provided with your renewal notice. Include your payment, REG 5103, and bottom portion of the renewal notice.

Note, 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 Oregon.

In case you did not receive your renewal notice by mail since you're in Oregon...

You may renew your vehicle's registration online without a renewal notice (through NeedTags) and email us your REG 5103 instead of mailing it to the DMV for much faster service. Submit your registration renewal through our online portal. 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. See the quick guide link below to learn of the current filing fee for this service.

Paid renewal through the DMV but want NeedTags to process your smog 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 as this will make your smog check exemption filing much quicker.

Related Material

REG 5103 (Download Form)

REG 5103 (Quick Guide)

Registration Renewal While Car is Out of State

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