My Car is Temporarily Out of State
Can I complete my DMV registration renewal without getting a California smog check?
Unless your vehicle is in Nevada or Mexico, you DO NOT need to bring it back to California in order to complete your registration. Do not obtain a smog inspection in another state, it will not be valid in California. The California DMV does not recognize out of state smog inspections for the purposes of initial vehicle registration in this state or vehicle registration renewal.
Simply fill out and sign DMV's "Statement of Facts" form (Section G), OR complete Reg 5103, explaining your vehicle is out of state and the registration tags will be mailed to wherever the car is currently located. You can obtain a Statement of Facts form (Reg 256) or Temporary Smog Exemption (Reg 5103) by downloading it from this page.
If you choose not to use Reg 5103 you must use Reg 256 and indicate at Section G on the form where specifically your vehicle is located, including full address, the reason the vehicle is out of state, when the vehicle will return to California, who is currently operating the vehicle, and the current registered owners name, address, and signature. We recommend using Reg 5103. Specific blank lines for this information is provided and it will help you keep your information neat and organized; allowing for faster processing of your out-of-state smog check exemption request.
If your vehicle is in Nevada or Mexico, you will be required to drive to California in order to obtain a smog inspection.
You may download the Statement of Facts Form (Reg 256) here, and Temporary Smog Exemption Form (Reg 5103) here.
Complete either form, and mail it in with your registration renewal to the address provided on either document.
California Insurance - California state law also requires all motor vehicle owners to have insurance which provides Bodily Injury Coverage and Vehicle Damage Coverage. Auto insurance will be required prior to your vehicle's registration being completed.
Minimum Coverage - The required minimum insurance coverage for bodily injury is $15,000 per person injured in any one accident and $30,000 for all persons injured in any one accident.
The minimum coverage required for vehicle damage is $5,000 for injury to or the destruction of property of others in any one auto or car accident.
Please note these are only minimum car insurance coverage requirements, and are in place mainly for the protection of the other driver and his or her vehicle.
In order to insure your own vehicle you must have purchased comprehensive and collision insurance. Comprehensive and collision insurance is not required by the state of California but is highly recommended. You will need this coverage to pay for your own vehicle's repairs as opposed to the other person's vehicle in the unfortunate event of an auto accident.
Process by Mail or In Person - You may submit Statement of Facts Form or Temporary Smog Exemption Form in person by making an appointment at your local DMV branch office, or by mailing in to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001
For questions or concerns you may contact the DMV at (800) 777-0133.