Individual registering a vehicle with a California Registration Service License

How to get a California Registration Service License

This California registration service license guide is for informational purposes only. does not regulate or manage licensing for registration servicers in California. Contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles for the state's latest official registration service license requirements. 

The California Department of Motor Vehicles requires an active registration service license for anyone who processes public applications for vehicle registrations, ownership transfers, registration renewals, sales liens, or dismantler licenses. You don't need a license if you perform services for vehicles intended for personal or business use or if you solicit/sell non-resident permits for motor vehicle operations within California. 

Complete the following steps to apply for your California registration service license. 

How to get a California Registration Service License

How do I get a registration service license in California?

Step 1: Gather all documents required for your California registration service license application. 

Before applying, you must complete all forms required for your California registration service license application submission. 

Step 2: Get your fingerprints electronically documented with Live Scan. 

You must get your fingerprints processed at your local Live Scan Location where you'll bring your Request for Live Scan Service Applicant Submission form. Once your fingerprints are documented, the Live Scan center will electronically send your results to the California Department of Justice, where your information will be kept. You won't need to submit a fingerprinting form with your application. 

Step 3: Take pictures of your business location. 

You must provide photos of your business sign, office, and physical location that meet the following requirements.

  • Office photos must include a full photo from the office entrance and back of the office that include both side walls. 
  • Sign photos must clearly display the name of your registration service business on the sign. Photos must show your business address affixed to the building exterior visible from at least 50 feet. If your business address isn't visible from that distance, it must be featured on the sign itself. If your sign isn't visible, submit a photo taken from the nearest public entrance. If your business sign can't be posted on the exterior of your building, you can also submit a photo of another posted sign that shows customers where your office is or of a sign near the office entrance door. 
  • Location photos must clearly show the indicated place of designated registration activity. 

Attach these photos to a piece of paper and date, label, and sign them appropriately.

Step 4: Purchase your California registration service surety bond. 

Occupational Licensing and Business Regulations Section 11401 requires registration service license applicants file a $25,000 surety bond with their application. By filing this bond you agree not to cause any loss to the public or state when providing registration service.

You can apply for your California registration service bond online 24/7 with annual premiums starting at $250. Once your order has been processed, your official California registration service surety bond will be emailed to you.

Step 5: Get your business inspected by the Occupational Licensing Branch. 

Once you've completed your application and gathered the required supporting documentation, call your local Occupational Licensing Inspections office to schedule an application submission appointment. You must pay a $150 application fee, $1 family support fee, and $70 fee for each business branch location.

After the Occupational Licensing Inspections office processes your application and fees, you'll receive an email instructing you to create your online DMV account and set up a building inspection appointment. The Occupational Licensing inspector will inspect your main business office, all books and records, your business sign, and make sure your business is located in an area approved to provide registration services. Once you've passed your business inspection, your official California registration service license will be issued.

How do I renew my California registration service license? 

Your registration service license will have an expiration date listed on the top right corner of the document. To renew your California registration service license, fill out a renewal application and mail it to the California Department of Motor Vehicles Occupational Licensing Branch with the required fees. 

Licensing Operations Division
Occupational Licensing Branch
P.O Box 932342
MS L224

Sacramento, CA 94232-3420

You must pay a $15 renewal fee, $1 family support program fee, and $15 fee for each branch location. 

How do I modify my California registration service license? 

Depending on the kind of license modification you need, submit one of the following forms to your local DMV. The California DMV charges a $70 name change fee and $70 address change fee. 

Last Updated: March 13, 2024

Call 1 (800) 308-4358 to talk with a Surety Expert