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What to do if vehicle registered in another state

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POSTED June 14, 2012 2:16 a.m.

SACRAMENTO - Do you have questions about general driving related requirements like registration and insurance? Are you unclear about laws and restrictions related to driving? The California Department of Motor Vehicles has answers. Save Time. Go Online at

Q: My daughter registered my car in another state.  However I recently received a renewal notice and my registration was listed as delinquent.  How do I notify DMV that the vehicle is registered in another state?

A: You may return the renewal notice to DMV with a letter stating that the vehicle is now registered in another state.  Be sure to indicate when the vehicle left California and the state where the vehicle is now registered.  The fees remain due if the vehicle was registered elsewhere after the registration expiration date.  If the vehicle’s ownership was also changed, you may wish to file a Notice of Release of Liability online at, to ensure DMV records are aware of the new information.  DMV will update its records and stop further attempts to collect past due registration.

Q: I recently paid my registration renewal fees, and then sold the vehicle.  Do I qualify for a refund of my registration fees?

A: Vehicle registration is inherited with the sale.  If you purchase a vehicle with expired registration, you are subject to the registration and late fees.  If you purchase a vehicle with current registration, you are not subject to the registration fees as they have already been paid. 

For more information on registration fees, visit

Q: I am a commercially licensed driver; I received a citation last year  before I became a commercial driver.  Can I go to traffic school to mask the ticket I received in December?

A:  Yes, providing you were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time you received your citation. For more information on traffic school requirements, visit

Q: How often may a driver attend traffic violator school in order to keep violations confidential (masked) and not part of the public record?

A: A driver who is referred by a court to traffic violator school may have only the first violation masked in an 18-month period. Subsequent violations during the 18-month period will not be masked.

Q: I paid my registration fees online and entered my checking account information.  I received a dishonored check notice.  How is this possible?

A: Make sure to correctly enter your bank account and routing number when making an online payment. On the DMV website,, there is an example of where to locate the bank routing numbers, so please take a look before entering your check information. 

When entering payment from an existing checking account, be sure to verify that the numbers are correct before entering the final payment.  This will ensure that we are able to locate your account and deduct the payment.

Q: What is the DMV’s policy for headgear when the license photo is taken?

A: The department prefers the removal of headgear, unless it is part of your normal identification, or is worn because of religious beliefs. In those instances, headgear is permissible as long as the individual’s face is visible. Generally, headgear such as a baseball hat can obstruct the eyes, nose, mouth or cause dark shadows. This can result in unacceptable photographs and unnecessary return trips to our field offices.

The DMV is a department under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, which is under the direction of Acting Undersecretary Traci Stevens. The DMV licenses drivers, maintains driving records, registers and tracks official ownership of vehicles and vessels, investigates auto and identity-related fraud, and licenses car dealers, driving schools, and traffic violator schools. For more information about the DMV, visit

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