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Moving to California from Hawaii Need To Register My Vehicles

Last Updated: 06-03-2022

I have 2 vehicles that are currently register in Hawaii. I will be moving to San Diego and want to know how and when should I register my vehicles in San Diego, California.


You will need to register your vehicles with the CA DMV within 10 days of establishing permanent residence or obtaining employment in California, unless your employment is temporary. During your vehicle registration, you'll surrender the current Hawaii license plate(s) and out-of-state certificate of title, and be issued two new California plates, and new California Certificate of Title, per vehicle.

The DMV registration process for an out of state vehicle is similar to that of a California vehicle title transfer except an out of state vehicle will need to have its vehicle identification number (VIN) verified and a VIN Verification Form (REG 31) turned in to the DMV. A VIN verification can be obtained at a California DMV office, California Highway Patrol Station (with appointment) or certified VIN verification facility. You will also need to complete and submit a California Application for Title or Registration Form (REG 343) form.

Finally, you may need to have your vehicles smog inspected. You can obtain a smog check at any California smog station. The results of the inspection will be sent to the DMV electronically.

The following vehicles are exempt from the California smog inspection:

  • 1975 or older year model and gas-powered
  • 1997 or older year model and diesel-powered
  • Diesel-powered, natural gas or propane-powered with a GVWR of 14,001 pounds or more
  • Electric powered
  • Hydrogen fuel cell-powered
  • Motorcycle
  • Off-highway

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