CA DMV Questions & Answers

Find answers, information and resources to help you with all your California vehicle registration needs.

Question & Answer Forum
Can't find what you need? Ask a DMV Expert

All Topics > Out-of-State Vehicle Registration > Paid DMV Online But I Need to Submit REG 5103 and Have Tags Mailed to Me

Paid DMV Online But I Need to Submit REG 5103 and Have Tags Mailed to Me

Last Updated: 06-06-2022

I paid the DMV Registration fee online on the DMV website and got a letter 3 weeks later saying I need a smog check. My car is out of state temporarily so I need a smog exemption. Because of this, do I still have the option of submitting the REG 5103 form to NeedTags, or do I have to do it directly with the DMV? Also does the form have to be notarized, and do I need to fill anything out in Section 2: Executed on, At (City) and State line?


Having received notification that your vehicle's registration is incomplete means the DMV issued your vehicle a RDF (Report of Deposit of Fees), as opposed to actual vehicle registration. This occurred because your vehicle required a smog inspection, and one was not obtained during renewal filing.

Filing a REG 5103

We do not recommend paying vehicle registration renewal fees using the DMV website or DMV kiosk when a vehicle has an unfulfilled smog check requirement. Doing so prolongs the renewal process exponentially.

Here's what happens in these types of cases. The DMV first processes the renewal as an RDF. Then, after you get a smog test, and after the DMV system is updated with your smog certificate information, your vehicle's registration renewal is placed back in queue, with one hundred thousand other renewal transactions, until it is once again processed and the RDF cleared. In essence, the process takes twice as long. With the DMV already taking 2 to 3 weeks to renew registrations, most vehicle owners cannot afford the wait, and will usually end up driving with expired tags.

It's not late to have us process your REG 5013, same-day.

To answer your question... yes, we can process your renewal with the smog check exemption, clear the RDF on DMV file, and mail your new registration to an out of state address, all in a few minutes. It's not too late. You don't need to mail the REG 5103 to the DMV. Simply email it to us instead. We'll get your order mailed out on the same business day as we receive your REG 5103.

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.

The REG 5103 does not need to be notarized. Section 2 - Certification, must be filled-in. Simply indicate the date, city and state you are in while completing the application. Also provide your printed name and signature. Include your mailing address on file with the DMV in this section; not the address where your vehicle is currently located. The vehicle location address will need to be entered in Section 1 only. See the quick guide link below to learn of the current filing fee for this service.

Related Material

REG 5103 (Download Form)
REG 5103 (Quick Guide)
Registration Renewal While Car is Out of State
Online DMV Registration Renewal

Let's get started...

Officially Entrusted by the CA Department of Motor Vehicles
close X
 Avoid DMV Late Fees & Penalty

Checking DMV Records ...

Please wait.