How to Get Your Vehicle Registration Renewed in California

Most DMV branches in California are extremely busy even on a slow day. While you can always take your chances and wait in line so you can renew your registration in person, you now have an online option you can use that is quick, easy, and extremely convenient. Registering your car before the due date will eliminate any late fees or penalties.

In Person

If you plan on renewing your California registration in person, it’s in your best interest to call and schedule an appointment at least two to three weeks prior to before your registration’s expiration date. When you get ready to go to your appointment, make sure you have the following items:

  • California driver’s license
  • Your registration or renewal card
  • Funds to pay for the renewal (CA DMV only takes cash, check or debit cards)
  • Depending on your zip code, you may need to have a smog check certificate

Keep in mind that even the best-laid plans can go awry, even if you have an appointment.

Online Renewal

If you just don’t have time to wait in lines or deal with the hassle of going into the DMV, you can always pay your registration fees online. After you log in to the portal, the following steps include:

  • Enter the license plate number on your registration
  • Pay any fees (a renewal fee and convenience fee are typically requested)
  • Choose from any of the following payment options: Discover, PayPal, PayPal Credit, Amazon Pay, American Express, Visa, and Mastercard

Paying online is the fastest and easiest way to renew your car registration.

You may also choose to call in your registration and payment or send it in using regular, snail, mail. Either way works as long as you get the registration in before your old one expires. Giving yourself at least two weeks is a good rule of thumb.


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