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Old 09-17-2013, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,078 posts, read 11,064,608 times
Reputation: 3023

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The DMV must have the worst website on planet Earth! You would think this would be simple information to find. Can someone tell me what I need to bring with me to change my license and plates from another state to CA?

I assume the following:
DL:
- Old License
- Second form of ID (passport or similar)
- Proof of address (a bill or other piece of mail)

Plates:
- Vehicle
- Old Plates
- Old State Registration (up-to-date)
- Title (necessary?)
- Proof of current insurance.

Am I missing anything? Do I need to re-take a written test if I have already have a valid license from another state?
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Declezville, CA
16,806 posts, read 39,945,786 times
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They don't want your old plates.
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Carmichael, CA
2,410 posts, read 4,456,262 times
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Yes, the vehicle title is required. The license plates only need to be turned in if you're coming from a state that requires them to be returned; they'll let you know if they need to be turned in.

Depending on the age of your car, and where you live, you'll probably also need a SMOG certificate.

Make sure you make an appointment, or check the website--it will show current wait times for every field office, both with an appointment and without.
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:49 PM
 
Location: O.C.
2,821 posts, read 3,537,940 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
The DMV must have the worst website on planet Earth!
Its the worst place on the planet. Be prepared to spend most your day at the DMV. Only half a day if you have an appointment.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,078 posts, read 11,064,608 times
Reputation: 3023
Quote:
Originally Posted by cb73 View Post
Depending on the age of your car, and where you live, you'll probably also need a SMOG certificate.
It's 2004, I'm going to a DMV in LA County, the car is garaged in Ventura County.

Should I get the smog check before I go in? I have a garage in the area where I can get it done cheap and easy.
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Old 09-17-2013, 01:10 PM
 
Location: The Great West
2,084 posts, read 2,621,941 times
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For the license, you have to:
-fill out the application and pay $32 for it
-provide your true name and social security number (so I think they need to see your social security card and your birth certificate)
-provide thumb prints
-pass a vision exam
-take photo (duh)
-take the written test, like you had to for your learner's permit (36 questions)

I found this by looking at the section that tells you how to apply for a license when you're over 18. So if any of this is wrong, I apologize...just going off the website.
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Under the Redwoods
3,751 posts, read 7,672,460 times
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If you already have a drivers license, don't think you need anything else for paperwork.
You have already shown your birth certificate when you got your original, no need to briń anything with your address. You will need to take the written test so they know that you know the state laws. Grab a drivers handbook and go over it the day of or night before. Be aware that they word things on the test in such a way to confuse you. So read everything twice before you answer, especially the questions that seem like they have two possible answers.

Yes- get your car smogged tested- valid for 30 days I believe, and if you have insurcance with a well known company, you should be in the system, but bring proof just in case.
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:42 PM
 
Location: The Great West
2,084 posts, read 2,621,941 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OwlKaMyst View Post
If you already have a drivers license, don't think you need anything else for paperwork.
You have already shown your birth certificate when you got your original, no need to briń anything with your address. You will need to take the written test so they know that you know the state laws. Grab a drivers handbook and go over it the day of or night before. Be aware that they word things on the test in such a way to confuse you. So read everything twice before you answer, especially the questions that seem like they have two possible answers.

Yes- get your car smogged tested- valid for 30 days I believe, and if you have insurcance with a well known company, you should be in the system, but bring proof just in case.
Great info on the license. I have to get my CA license soon so it's nice to know that I don't have to bring all the stuff.

Another good thing to do is to take the sample tests on the website. The drivers handbook can also be downloaded from the site.

Some of the questions are like OwlKaMyst said - confusing. But it seems to be a good way to prepare.
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:23 AM
 
Location: SoCal
542 posts, read 1,548,933 times
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From the DMV's website regarding registering your car from out of state:

Registering the vehicle

The following is required to register a vehicle from out–of–state (nonresident):

  • An Application for Title or Registration (REG 343) (PDF) signed by all registered owners as they appear on the out-of-state registration and/or title. Enter the name(s) and address of the registered owner(s) and lienholder (legal owner), if any, and complete the questions on the application.
  • Last issued out-of-state title. (Not required if there is no change of registered owner and a California title is not requested.) If the out-of-state title is not surrendered the California registration card issued will say nontransferable and a California title will not be issued.
  • Last issued registration certificate or renewal notice for the current year or a letter from the last registration jurisdiction verifying the registration period.
  • The vehicle must be inspected by an authorized DMV employee, law enforcement officer, or a licensed vehicle verifier. These inspections are most easily obtained by bringing the vehicle to the nearest DMV. There is no charge for the inspection. For faster service, make an Appointment(s) .
  • Smog certification, if applicable
  • Weight certificate, if applicable
  • Appropriate fees and any use tax due
  • Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (REG 4008) (PDF) form for commercial motor vehicles (pickups with unladen weight of 8,000 lbs. or less are exempt from this requirement)
  • Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) Application Certification (REG 4017) (PDF).

I have no idea if those links will work by me pasting that here. Here is a link to the whole page about registering cars that were never registered in CA: How To Register A Vehicle from Out-of-State (Nonresident Vehicle)

Regarding getting a license if you're licensed in another state:

If you become a California resident, you must get a California driver license within 10 days. Residency is established by voting in a California election, paying resident tuition, filing for a homeowner’s property tax exemption, or any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents.
To apply for an original driver license if you are over 18, you will need to do the following:
.....
If you have a license from another country, you will be required to take a driving test. If you have a license from another state, the driving test can be waived.


I got that from here: Driver License and Identification (ID) Card Information

Also, here's a general link for people who are new to CA, regarding registration of cars and getting a license: Information For Persons New To California

If you have trouble finding stuff on the DMV site, sometimes I've had luck typing key words into their search bar. Hope that helps.
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:05 PM
 
Location: The Great West
2,084 posts, read 2,621,941 times
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Update: I just got my CA license (my old one was Nevada), so I can share some info on that for anyone who is searching for a thread like this.

I did need to bring my birth certificate. If you didn't previously have a CA license, you have to bring some legal ID. I think a passport would have worked as well. However, I didn't need my social security card.

Obviously, you need your original license. You also need to do the vision test and the thumbprint, which takes all of 2 minutes. Then you have to do the written test. It's 36 questions and you are allowed to get 6 wrong. It wasn't very hard but there are some tricky, specific questions. For anyone who is going to take the test, I would make sure to pay attention to the section on railroad crossings (for some reason there is always at least one question on that) and do the sample tests.

Of course, there are many different versions. But I'd say most of the questions can be answered with common sense.
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