Moving to California DMV – What to Do

If you’re moving to California, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the entity you will be dealing with regarding your vehicle. There are two things you will need to do with the DMV:

  1. Register your vehicle
  2. Get a new license

You should do these things within 20 days of moving to California, otherwise penalties can kick in.

Here are some more things you will need to do:


Smog check – your car will need to pass a smog check, which will require you to go to a smog check place, which will cost somewhere between $50 and $100. If your car fails the smog check, you can’t register it. Many cars fail smog check, by the way.

Old registration – you will need to provide the DMV with your vehicle’s old paperwork to show where it came from, etc.

Fee – there’s a fee to register your car in California. It varies by car. Expect $150-$250 per year.


Test – If you have a driver’s license from another state, you will still need to pass a written, multiple choice quiz, which you take at the DMV. There’s a pamphlet of laws you can learn before taking it. It’s not too difficult, but still study up for a few minutes.


You can save a lot of time at the DMV by making an appointment online before you go there.


Learn more about dealing with the DMV after moving.

About Devie Lin

Read blogs written by Devie Lin and find information related to moving & relocation on the Moving Blog by Moving Guru.
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