Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Corrections on Report of Sale Forms (REG 51)

  1. Corrections are acceptable except on the odometer section. Non-odometer corrections made on the REG 51 form must be marked “OK”, and initialed by the dealer, or the dealer’s authorized representative.
  2. When an error is made in the odometer section, a Vehicle/Vessel Transfer Form (REG 262) must be used for the odometer disclosure and a Statement of Facts (REG 256) form explaining the reason for the separate disclosure form must be submitted with the application.

“Unwind”, Void/Canceled Used Vehicle Report of Sale

  1. When the Used Vehicle Report of Sale (REG 51) must be voided because the sale was not consummated and the buyer did not take delivery:
    1. Mark all parts of the REG 51 “Void”
    2. Complete a Statement of Facts (REG 256) stating the circumstances and that the vehicle did not leave your possession and was not operated on the Temporary I.D. part of the REG 51.
    3. Retain all copies of the REG 51 and REG 256 in case of a later audit.

Used Vehicle Rollbacks

  1. A rollback is when the buyer returns the car before the transfer documents have been submitted to the DMV. The REG 51 cannot be voided because the buyer has already operated the vehicle on the road causing fees to become due to DMV.
  2. All fees must be submitted to the DMV within 30 days of the date of sale shown on the REG 51 to avoid Administrative Service Fees. The DMV fees may be posted in the dealer’s name or first buyer’s name.
  3. If you are in a rollback situation, you must submit the following documents to the DMV:
    1. Title endorsed by both the first and second buyers.
    2. A Statement to Record Ownership (REG 101) completed to clarify the current owner information. To obtain a REG 101 go to:
    3. A Lien Satisfied (REG 166) form, if applicable. To obtain a REG 166, go to: . 
    4. A Statement of Facts (REG 156, Section G) containing all of the following:
      1. Name of buyer and date returned
      2. Reason vehicle returned
      3. If vehicle was voluntarily returned
      4. How vehicle was sold (conditional sales contract, etc.)
      5. If a trade-in was returned to the buyer
      6. If down payment was returned and whether it was a cash down payment or cash in addition to a trade-in.
        To obtain a REG 256 go to:
    5. A bill of sale from the first buyer to the dealer.
    6. Two Used Vehicle Reports of Sale (REG 51), one to the first buyer and one to the second buyer .
    7. Odometer disclosure, if applicable, for each buyer.
    8. No new smog certificate is needed if the car was not yet registered to the first buyer. If the car was registered, then a new smog certificate must be obtained.
    9. Two transfer fees, and any other fees due.
  4. You must use a Vehicle/Vessel Transfer Form (REG 262) to disclose the mileage on a rollback or unwind. If an acknowledgement of the odometer mileage cannot be obtained from the first retail customer on an unwind, complete a Statement of Facts (REG 256) explaining the circumstances and submit it with the application.
  5. Note: A lien satisfied is not required if financing was not approved for the first sale, or the lien holder for the second buyer is the same as the first buyer.

Electronic Lien and Title (“ELT”)

  1. ELT program lienholders are assigned specific name and address abbreviations which must be entered on the application exactly as shown on the latest, quarterly, ELT listing issued by the DMV.

Customer Demands Title

  1. When a buyer demands title for a vehicle purchased free of liens:
    1. Complete the REG 51.
    2. Enter the Report of Sale number on the back of the title.
    3. Give the buyer the title, any supporting documents, and smog certificate, if appropriate.
    4. The buyer must complete a Statement of Facts (REG 256) stating the reason for demanding the title, and confirming receipt of the title and transfer documents.
      1. Example: “I demanded and receive the Title for the vehicle because the vehicle will be altered before being registered, or I want to do the transfer myself.”
    5. If the vehicle is currently registered, place the operating copy of the REG 51 in the vehicle as usual. Send in the application copy of the REG 51, along with the REG 256, to the DMV.
    6. If the vehicle is not currently registered, the vehicle must be transported (on a truck) or moved on a One Trip Permit. Write “moved on Trip Permit #____” or “delivered on dealer plates” on the operating copy of the REG 51.
    7. Note: Dealers may use dealer plates to deliver the vehicle if the sale is consummated after delivery of the vehicle. Section 2.060, DMV Dealer Handbook, June, 2001.
    8. Mail the application copy and the operating copy with the buyer’s REG 256 to DMV at the address shown on the REG 51.

Multiple Transfers

  1. A multiple transfer involves at least one unrecorded ownership change for which a transfer fee is currently due. In addition to the basic transfer requirements:
    1. The printed names of all buyers must appear on the Title, but only the current owner’s signature is mandatory.
    2. You must submit any bills of sale needed to show a complete chain of ownership from the first buyer to the current buyer.
    3. You must submit a Statement to Record Ownership (REG 101) clarifying the true owners names and addresses. . To obtain a REG 101, click here:
    4. A transfer fee is due for each buyer. Only the last transfer is subject to a late transfer penalty.

Duplicate Title Application

  1. If the Title is lost, stolen, destroyed, or mutilated, the seller may convey the vehicle on an application for Duplicate Title, REG 227. To obtain a REG 227, click here:
  2. The legal owner/lienholder’s signature releasing the vehicle on an Application for Duplicate Title (REG 227), or on a lien satisfied form, must be notarized. This includes a REG 227 used for an electronic lienholder (ELT) transfer.
  3. The fee to obtain a duplicate title (certificate of ownership) is $15.00. [V.C. 9265]

Transfer of California Registration Only (Goldenrod Registration)

  1. When the California registration card states: “This vehicle not transferable”, the outstanding title (either an out of state title, or previous California title) must be submitted before a California Certificate of Title can be issued. You must submit an Application for Registration or Title (REG 343/31) form with your Title and transfer documents to the DMV. To obtain a REG 343, click here: .
    1. Note: A bill of sale from the owner on the Title is acceptable in lieu of the owner’s release on the Title itself. Also, a lien satisfied is acceptable in lieu of the legal owner/lienholder releasing on the Title.

Transfer Only

  1. This type of application is done for a vehicle with a Planned Non-Operation (REG 102) form on file. In addition to the usual transfer documents, you must submit the following to the DMV:
    1. Section C of the REG 262 completed and signed by the buyer.
    2. You must also submit a Certificate of Planned Non-Operation completed by the buyer.
    3. The original and operating copy of the Used Vehicle Report of Sale (REG 51). You must also indicate on this form how the vehicle was moved without incurring fees, such as using a One Trip Permit (print the Permit number on the form), or “delivered on dealer plates.”

Bonded Transfers

  1. Use this procedure when a transfer cannot be completed due to a lack of the required evidence of ownership. A bond is required for vehicles valued at $5,000 or more. A Statement of Facts, REG 256) is sufficient for vehicles valued at $4,999 or less. The REG 256 must state all attempts made to obtain the Title documents. A returned, unopened certified letter to the owner of record is required. A bond will not avoid any liens still on the vehicle.

Non Resident Vehicle Transfers

  1. A non-resident vehicle is one thatwas last registered outside of California. To transfer this type of vehicle, you submit the following:
    1. Complete an Application for Title or Registration (REG 343/31) To obtain a REG 343, click here: .
    2. A vehicle verification
    3. Any bills of sale needed to show a complete chain of ownership
    4. The other usual transfer documents used for standard California transfers
      1. Note: A bill of sale is acceptable in lieu of the seller’s signature on the title.
      2. Note: The Used Vehicle Report of Sale (REG 51) cannot be voided if the buyer returns the vehicle after operating it – even if you have not yet submitted the transfer documents.

Vehicles with Unavailable Records

  1. Vehicles not registered within the four year file record of the DMV, and which no longer appear on the DVM’s database, or referred to as “Unavailable Records”. This refers only to in state vehicles, and not for vehicles located outside California. These vehicles are registered as follows:
    1. If no Title, or only a copy of the old registration card is available, then submit the following:
      1. Photocopy of the reg. card
      2. Completed Application for Title or Registration (REG 343/31) ). To obtain a REG 343 click here: .
      3. Vehicle Verification
      4. Statement of Facts, REG 256, Part J)
      5. The other, standard, California transfer documents.
      6. Car collectors may be able to retain the old license plates originally assigned to vehicle if they submit a photo copy of the old registration for the vehicle with the plate number on it
    2. If there is a Title and/or an original registration card:
      1. Submit the Title, or an Application for Duplicate Title (REG 227) and the original registration card
      2. Vehicle Verification
      3. All necessary bills of sale to show a complete chain of Ownership
      4. The other, standard, California transfer documents

Waiver of Fees and/or Penalties (VC 9562)

  1. Penalties only may be waived upon payment of the registration fees due with the DMV determines that the penalties accrued prior to the transferee’s (including a dealer) purchase date and the transferee was not aware that the fees were unpaid and due. The license plate assigned to the vehicle must display a valid year sticker issued by the DMV that matches the year for which the transferee is requesting a waiver of fees and penalties. See VC section 9562c. A Statement of facts (REG 262) stating the sticker number on the license plate and that the transferee was not aware the fees were unpaid and due must be submitted.

Title Errors and Corrections

  1. The Title and/or Registration Card must be submitted to DMV to correct most errors. Vehicle verification is required to substantiate the error.
    1. Exceptions: The title and verification are not required to correct:
      1. The license plate or sticker number
      2. The motive power
      3. The address of the registered or legal owner
  2. You must file a Statement of Error or Erasure (REG 101) if any error erasure, line out, or whiteout appears on the Title. To obtain a REG 101 click here:
  3. The REG 101 must be completed by the person who made the error.
  4. Note: An error statement cannot be used for odometer errors, or odometer acknowledgement errors.
  5. Odometer disclosures:
    1. When the error is made in the odometer disclosure section of a title, the Vehicle/Vessel Transfer Form (REG 262) must be used for the odometer disclosure and a Statement of Fact (REG 256) explaining the reason for the separate disclosure form must be submitted with the application.

Temporary Operating Permit, The 2001 Law

  1. A 30 day Temporary Operating Permit (REG 43) may be issued on a one time basis on an incomplete registration application if:
    1. The registration involves a non-resident vehicle,
    2. When the vehicle must be inspected and assigned a VIN
    3. All the registration fees have been paid, and the motorist is having difficulty obtaining a smog certificate. The motorist must present the DMV:
      1. A Bureau of Automotive Repair inspection appointment card,
      2. Documented proof of need smog parts on order for the owner,
      3. Proof of failed smog inspection results, such as a vehicle inspection record
    4. If a vehicle is impounded after the registration fees have been paid
    5. When a DMV manager or designee determines it is appropriate (Source: Section 25.010 of the June, 2001 Dealer Handbook)
  2. You can obtain a One Trip Permit (REG 43) from any DMV office.

Temporary Operating Permit, The 2009 Law Changes

  1. Effective January 1, 2009, new legislation restricts the issuance of Temporary Operating Permits (TOP) when a biennial smog certification is required. These restrictions apply to any TOP issued for the purpose of obtaining a biennial smog certification on or after January 1, 2009, regardless of the registration expiration date. The following changes only apply to TOP issuance for biennial smog certification:
      1. Vehicle owner must present the failed smog test report as evidence that the vehicle failed a biennial smog certification when requesting a TOP.
      2. A $50 fee is collected when issuing a TOP for the purpose of obtaining a biennial smog certification.
      3. The TOP may be valid only for 60 days from the expiration date of the registration of the vehicle, or 60 days from the date that the vehicle is removed from Planned Non-Operation (PNO).
      4. Example: A vehicle registration expired or was removed from PNO status on 01/15/2009. The owner presents evidence the vehicle failed smog certification on 02/10/2009. A TOP may be issued and valid until 03/15/2009.
      5. Only one biennial smog TOP per vehicle within a two year period.

    TOP Fee Waiver

    The $50 TOP fee can only be waived if the registered owner presents a Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) letter from the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) indicating the owner qualifies for repair assistance as a low-income applicant. Customers cannot be given a refund if the letter is shown after the $50 fee is assessed and a TOP issued. CAP low-income eligibility qualifications are based on guidelines established by the BAR. Qualifying customers must present a CAP low-income approval letter to be eligible for the TOP fee waiver Background

    Unless otherwise exempt, vehicles registered in areas subject to the biennial smog certification program are required to submit evidence of a smog certification every other renewal period. New legislation requires DMV to collect a $50 fee on vehicles that fail the biennial smog certification if the registered owner requests a TOP. After deducting the Department of Motor Vehicle’s administrative costs, the TOP fees collected are deposited into the High Polluter Repair or Removal Account, in the Vehicle Inspection and Repair Fund.

Application Transporter Permit

  1. A No Fee Special Moving Permit (REG 172) may be used to move an unregistered vehicle from a vessel, a railroad depot, or from a warehouse to a warehouse or salesroom.

Application DMV Forms

  1. DMV Registration and Miscellaneous Forms Available On-line
    1. For registration related forms, go to:
    2. For other general DMV forms, go to: Local
  2. DMV offices will also provide a maximum of 25 copies of a particular form if it does not deplete their supply. You can order bulk forms from the DMV at:Department of Motor Vehicles
    Forms and Accountable Items Section, M/S G202
    PO Box 932382
    Sacramento, CA 94232-3820
  3. In emergencies, you may also call (916) 657-7836 to obtain a quick supply of forms.

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