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California Department of Motor Vehicles
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Reporting Vehicle Status (Registered vs. Non-Operational)

Registration or Non-Operation?

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) annually mails you a registration renewal notice for each of your currently registered vehicles (every two years for Off-Highway Vehicles [OHVs]). You must decide whether to renew the registration or fi le for non-operational status.

What’s the Difference?

California law requires vehicles to be currently registered if they are driven, towed, stored, or parked on public roads or highways at any time during the registration period.

Non-operational means that the vehicle will not be driven, towed, stored, or parked on public roads or highways for the entire registration year.

Annual Registration

Each year, on or before your vehicle�s registration expiration date (every two years for OHVs), you must pay full registration renewal fees. This indicates to the department your intention to operate the vehicle at some time during the upcoming registration period. If you�ve moved and did not notify the department, you might not receive a vehicle registration renewal notice. It is your responsibility to pay the appropriate fees on time.

Filing for non-operational status

If you decide to place a non-operational status on your vehicle, you must do so on or before your vehicle�s registration expiration date.

NOTE: You must pay the Planned Non- Operation (PNO) fee on or before an OHV�s biennial registration expiration date or the non-operational status option is forfeited. Full registration fees and penalties would be due.

The renewal notice has a box designated for you to check that indicates you want the non-operational status marked on your vehicle�s record. The planned non-operation (PNO) fee must be sent to the DMV with the bottom portion of the renewal notice on which you have checked the planned non-operation box.

If you don�t have a renewal notice, complete a Certifi cate of Non-Operation/Planned Non- Operation Certifi cation (REG 102) and mail it with your check to the address on the form.

Once a non-operational status is placed on a vehicle�s record, it remains until you decide to operate the vehicle and pay full registration renewal fees. You do not have to respond to the non-operated vehicle notice that you will receive.

NOTE: Once you fi le the REG 102, you may obtain a no-fee, special moving permit at any DMV offi ce and, without paying renewal fees, move the vehicle from its current storage place to a new storage location for repairs, alteration, vehicle inspection, smog inspection, weighing construction (for an incomplete vehicle), or for its permanent wrecking or dismantling. Permits are valid for one day only, and the date is printed on the permit.

Once a non-operational status is placed on a vehicle’s record, it remains until you decide to operate the vehicle and pay full registration renewal fees. You do not have to respond to the Non-operated Vehicle Notice that you will receive.

Retaining Special or Personalized Plates for Non-operated Vehicles

If you have personalized plates or special interest plates on a vehicle for which Planned Non-operational (PNO) status has been placed, you must pay an annual retention fee to retain your priority to that plate configuration (CVC Sections 5060 and 5106). This requirement applies to special interest plates issued in standard sequential or personalized formats. If the DMV does not receive the annual retention fee, your priority to the plate configuration will be forfeited and the configuration made available to someone else.

Paying early

The department will accept registration renewal fees or the PNO fee up to 75 days before the vehicle�s registration expiration date.

If you pay late

CALIFORNIA HAS NO GRACE PERIOD. Paying either the full registration renewal fees or the PNO fee after the vehicle�s registration expiration date causes penalties to become due. There is no grace period.

If you are registering the vehicle, penalties will be due in addition to the full registration renewal fees.

If you are registering the vehicle, penalties will be due in addition to the full registration renewal fees.

If you don�t have all the required documentation � smog certifi cation, for example � you should pay your fees on or before the vehicle�s re-gistration expiration date. The department will issue a receipt to you showing what is needed to complete your application for registration. This receipt does not authorize operation of the vehicle, but avoids penalty fees.

If you want the non-operational status, you may still apply for it up to 90 days after the vehicle�s registration expiration date. When payment is made after the expiration date, however, penalties based on the full registration renewal amount will be due in addition to the PNO fee.

What if I Decide to Operate my Non-Operational Status Vehicle?

If your vehicle has a valid non-operational status on file with the DMV and you decide to operate it, full registration renewal fees (and full or prorated weight fees, if appropriate) become due on the date of first operation. These fees must be paid prior to operating the vehicle or penalties will be assessed.

NOTE: When a non-operational status is set on the vehicle record, the registration expiration date is left unchanged.

If you decide to operate your non-operational status vehicle?

If your vehicle has a valid non-operational status on fi le with the DMV and you decide to operate it, full registration renewal fees (and full or prorated weight fees, if appropriate) become due on the date of fi rst operation. These fees must be paid prior to operating the vehicle or penalties will be assessed.

NOTE: When a non-operational status is on the vehicle record, the registration expiration date is unchanged.

Vehicles exempt from reporting operational status

Owners of historical vehicles, horseless carriages, and vehicles of special interest that are part of a collection and are not operated are not required to register or fi le for the non-operational status. (These vehicles are defi ned in Vehicle Code ��5004, 5004.5, and 5051.)

Other exempted vehicles include:

  • Mopeds
  • Vehicles with registrations which expire while in dealer or lessor/retailer inventory
  • Vehicles with registrations which expire while being held for lien sale by an authorized towing company or parking facility
  • Vehicles which are part of an apportioned or permanent fleet
  • Special Equipment (SE) as defined in Vehicle Code §§245, 565, 570, and 575
  • Unrecovered stolen vehicles
  • Title Only vehicles that are currently located and registered in a state other than California

NOTE: For registration fees, see the brochure, Registration Related Fees (FFVR 34). Because fees are subject to change, visit our website at dmv.ca.gov for the most current information or call DMV toll free at 1-800-777-0133.

BUYER BEWARE!

If you purchase a vehicle, you will be responsible for past due fees and penalties when you transfer the title into your name, unless:

  • Registration is current.
  • A planned non-operational status is on fi le with the DMV. Fees must be paid before operation to avoid penalties.

Statutory Authority

Revenue and Taxation Code ��10855 and 10856. Vehicle Code ��4452, 4604, 4604.5, 5105, 5106, 9269, 9553, 9554, 9706, 9710, 9862, 38121, and 38246.

Try These Service Options

Key dmv.ca.gov for service 24/7:

  • Renew your vehicle registration (see your renewal notice for the RIN-Renewal ID Number)
  • Renew your driver license (see your renewal notice for the RIN)
  • Take a sample driver license test
  • Order special plates
  • Get forms, brochures, and handbooks
  • Find answers to your questions
  • Make appointments (except commercial driving test)
  • Calculate registration fees

Call 1-800-921-1117 for DMV�s Automated Voice Recognition service 24/7:

  • Make appointments (except driving test*)
  • Pay registration renewals (see your renewal notice for the RIN-Renewal ID Number)

Call 1-800-777-0133 for service 24/7:

  • Get forms and publications
  • Listen to general information
  • Make appointments (except driving test*)

*To make a driving test appointment or speak with a technician, call 1-800-777-0133 during normal business hours

  • Between 8-5, Mon., Tues., Thurs., and Fri.
  • Between 9-5 on Wednesdays