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Moving to California: driver’s license and car registration

California attracts thousands of new residents every year — the number of newcomers increases steadily. Weather you are relocating with one of the moving companies in CA or by yourself you need to know how to get the local driver’s license, is it obligatory to register your car and why this state is not as good as others for cars owners.
California takes last but one place in owning a car expenses rating — the average costs of owning a car for 3 years $14,452. Taxes and gasoline prices are also higher than in other states. That is why you should think twice if you really need your car in CA.

If you still intend to relocate in CA, you should know that another state driver’s license is not valid here. It doesn’t concern visitors — tourists and travelers shall use their former states or countries driver’s license.

How soon should I get a driver’s license after moving to California?

All newcomers who already have driver’s licenses from other states shall get the local permission within 10 days after getting residency and the car registration should be done within 20 days.
To obtain the local driver’s permission you shall visit the DMV, the procedure is described in details lower. The car registration also requires the local DMV office attendance. Make sure that you have all the needed documents before making an appointment and the car registration will be completed without difficulty.

California driver’s license application procedure

Those who are going to become a CA resident should pass the procedure of obtaining a local driver’s permission before register a car:

  • provide the CA DMV with the correct documents (your identity and full name, date of birth, the number of Social Security);
  • pass the written test (you can train here for free);
  • get your license.

Note that newcomers from other countries who have driver’s permission will have to pass the driving skills test as well as those who do not have driver’s permission yet. One more important point is that your former state driver’s permission will be nullified after you obtain the local driver’s permit and register a car in CA.

How do I get my car registered?

Moving to California with a car implies your vehicle to be registered. It can be done through the following steps:

  • make an appointment in your local DMV;
  • fill in the blank of Application for Title or Registration;
  • apart from the filled blank attach the smog and emission certificate and vehicle insurance.

If you are moving to California with a leased car the application for registration card must be confirmed by the organization leasing the transport and you. You should also specify the name and the adders both of you and the organization leased your vehicle.

Note that moving to California from Texas or any other state with cheaper living may not meet your expectations as for the cost of living and other difficulties. Still, the appropriate preparation will ease this process. If it is not you but one of your friends who relocates to CA, check our list of gifts for someone moving to California.