Find answers, information and resources to help you with all your California vehicle registration needs.
I Did Not Receive My Registration Renewal Notice
I did not receive a registration renewal notice from the DMV. I'm in California. I just realized this after noticing my tags are about to expire this month. Can I request a renewal form sent to me or do I need to go into the DMV to handle this? I need it the quickest way possible before I get pulled over for expired registration. Thanks.
Great news! You Can Renew Your DMV Registration Without a Renewal Notice.
There is no need to visit the DMV, and you don't need to request a 2nd renewal notice; which the DMV doesn't provide anyway. The closest thing to a second notice is a Registration Fee Delinquent Notice which is usually mailed 3 months after your vehicle's registration expiration date. That's no good.
What you can do is simply use any of the four registration renewal options below. The process can be handled online, or in-person, without a California DMV registration renewal notice. We do however recommend that you investigate the reason you didn't receive your vehicle's renewal notice. Was it due to a wrong address on file with the DMV, or perhaps the notice was lost in the mail? In the mean time, you may renew your vehicle registration, without a renewal notice, and avoid late fees using one of the methods below.
How To Renew Your Registration Without a Registration Renewal Notice
First decide on how soon you need your new registration. Do your tags expire today or tomorrow, or do you still have time? There are a few renewal options which don't require the submission of a renewal notice, and deciding on which one to use will probably depend on how quickly you need your new registration card and sticker in hand.
Option 1 - NeedTags DMV Processing (Next-Day Delivery)
This is the fastest option to renew your registration without a renewal notice. Have your vehicle's license plate and last 3 digits of the VIN number available. Your vehicle's registration renewal will be processed and mailed out same day, with delivery as fast as next-day.
If the DMV has your mailing address incorrect and requests an update, you'll be able to correct your mailing address and have your new registration card and sticker delivered to your new address.
The perfect solution when your registration is expired or about to expire soon. Also, if your vehicle requires a smog check or insurance, and you don't have one, either, or both, you'll be able to pay your renewal fees, and avoid late penalties. NeedTags will post your renewals fees with the DMV and on the same day which you obtain insurance and/or smog inspection, we'll clear the RDF (Report of Deposit of Fees) on file and mail you your new registration card and sticker, overnight if requested.
You will not have to wait the 3 to 4 week period for the DMV to realize you've fulfilled your smog check or insurance obligation, clear your vehicle's RDF, and place your renewal back in queue for processing. NeedTags will handle the process, with or without your renewal documents, at speeds which will help you to avoid DMV late fees.
Option 2. Renew in-person at a DMV branch office (appointment required). Take with you your current or expired registration card and ID. You'll see a DMV clerk, pay your renewal fees and be issued your renewed registration. If your vehicle is due for a smog check, it must have been completed or else the DMV will issue you what is called an RDF. It stand for Report of Deposit of Fees. It is not current registration, but proof that you've paid the DMV. You can no longer be charged late fees. Once your vehicle is smog checked, your new registration card and sticker will be mailed to you. It's not really recommend to go this route if you haven't smog checked your vehicle and a smog inspection is required, or if your vehicle is uninsured. The reason being is, it takes the DMV longer to issue registration once a vehicle has been RDF'ed. It's best to visit the DMV once you have everything you need to get your registration renewed in one visit.
Option 3. Renew online through the California DMV online renewal system here. Have your vehicle's license plate number and last five digits of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). You can get both of these off of an old registration card or directly from your vehicle. The license plate number is obvious, it's on the license plate, and the VIN can be obtained either from the public VIN (located behind the windshield on the lower drivers side corner) or from the drivers side door post. Same as with visiting a DMV office, ensure you have your smog check completed (if required) and insurance on record with the DMV. Do not use the state's online system if either of these requirements are not fulfilled. As mentioned above, the system will automatically RDF your vehicle's registration and it will take much longer to receive your renewed registration card and license plate sticker.
Option 4. Renew in-person at a local vehicle registration office. These offices are known as BPA (Business Partner Automation) providers . They are your DMV office alternatives. BPAs are privately owned businesses contracted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to provide in-house vehicle registration services. They provide the same services which you would find at a state run DMV office but without long lines, and with very few limitations as far as the types of vehicle registration transactions they can perform. They carry official DMV inventory and can provide same-day license plates, stickers, vehicle registration cards, OHV tags, and more. If visiting a vehicle registration office, once again, make sure if you need a smog check, it's taken care of and that your vehicle is currently insured. They will be able to renew your vehicle's registration without any renewal paperwork.