Can I register an out-of-state car in California

This page last reviewed December 20, 2013

California's new vehicle standards are an important part of improving the air we all breathe. New vehicles first sold in other states that meet California standards may be registered in California at any time. New vehicles not meeting California New Vehicle standards can only be registered in certain situations. A "New" vehicle is any vehicle with less than 7,500 miles at the time it was obtained. "Used" vehicles, those with over 7,500 miles at the time they were obtained, can generally be registered in California as long as they are in compliance with US EPA emission standards.

REFERENCE| California Health & Safety Code Sections 43150-156

How to tell what standards a vehicle was built to meet

All vehicles sold in the United States have a unique drive-train identifier called the "Test Group" or "Engine Family Number". This number allows owners, parts suppliers, and service providers to determine specifications and installed emissions control equipment of motor vehicles. Because many vehicles may have several different configurations, this number will provide specific information about the emissions control system and exact standards that a vehicle was designed to meet.

The Vehicle Emission Control Information label is located in the engine compartment in a clearly visible position, most often directly on the underside of the hood. The following diagram can help you locate your vehicles label.

Used Vehicles

The vehicle was obtained as a "Used" vehicle were obtained by a California resident as a "used" vehicle (used vehicles must have at least 7,500 miles at the time of purchase). Non-California vehicles can also be registered by individuals moving to California from other states.

REFERENCE| California Health & Safety Code Sections 43150-156

IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information does not apply to any vehicle first sold outside the United States. NON-USA vehicle Information