Motorcycle Registration in California

The steps to register a motorcycle in California are similar as those for any other vehicle type. We'll help you get your bike street-legal in the Golden State with our guide below.

Looking for renewal information? Skip over to our page on CA Registration Renewals for details!

New to California

If you're a new California resident, you have 20 days to register your motorcycle with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Once you've arrived in the state, find your nearest CA DMV office, then be prepared to bring the following items with you:

  • A completed Application for Title or Registration (Form REG 343).
  • Proof of CA motorcycle insurance.
  • Your out-of-state title and registration.
  • A Verification of Vehicle (Form REG 31).
    • A DMV employee can inspect your vehicle for free. You can also have an inspection station or law enforcement officer complete it ahead of time—note that you may be charged a fee.
  • Payment for the $74 registration fee, plus any other applicable taxes and fees (see below).

Registering Your CA Motorcycle

The process for registering your new motorcycle in California will differ slightly based on how you purchased your bike: from a dealership, or from a private seller.

There are other steps to follow if the title is being transferred between family members, or otherwise given as a gift. Check out our guide to CA title transfers for details of these scenarios.

Dealership Purchases

If you purchase a new motorcycle at a dealership, your dealer typically takes care of the registration as part of your transaction. You should be issued a temporary registration certificate while your permanent registration is processed, and a new certificate should arrive in the mail.

You may or may not be issued temporary or permanent license plates; check with your dealer to determine if you'll need to obtain new license plates in person at your local DMV office.

Private Motorcycle Sales

After buying a new motorcycle from a private seller, you'll need to title and register it in your name within 10 days of purchase.

Make an appointment with your local California Department of Motor Vehicles office and bring the following with you:

  • The signed-over motorcycle title.
  • An odometer disclosure for motorcycles under 20 years old. This can be submitted on:
    • The motorcycle title; OR
    • A completed Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment form (Form REG 262, available by mail or at a local DMV), if there isn't space on the title.
  • Payment for the $74 base registration fee, plus all other applicable taxes and fees.
    • You are required to pay all transfer fees within 30 days of the purchase date.

It's also always a good idea to complete a bill of sale with the seller to ensure you both have a record of the transaction.

CA Registration Exemptions

If you live and drive in California, but are not a California resident—such as members of the military—you may be exempt from registering your motorcycle. You're still required to maintain current registration in your official state of residence.

Visit the CA DMV's guide to nonresident military vehicle exemptions for details.

Motorcycle Registration Fees in CA

Fees due for registering your motorcycle in California will vary based upon various factors, including your motorcycle's:

  • Value.
  • Date purchased.
  • County or city of residence/operation.

The base fees that the Department of Motor Vehicles charges include:

  • Registration fee: $74.
  • California Highway Patrol (CHP) fee: $32.
  • Vehicle license fee: 0.65% of your motorcycle's value.
  • County/district fees: Between $1 and $19 each; vary by location.
  • Use tax: Between 7.5% to 10.25%; varies by county.
    • Applicable if you've purchased your vehicle from a private seller.

For a more accurate estimate of the fees you have to pay, you can use the CA DMV's registration fee calculator.


REG 227
Application For Duplicate or Paperless Title
Complete this form to request a duplicate CA title OR paperless title, which you can use while transferring ownership of a vehicle.
REG 343
Application for Title or Registration
Use this form to apply for a title and register your vehicle when you buy a vehicle or move to the state.
REG 262
Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form
Combination form for odometer disclosure, bill of sale, and power of attorney. Not available online. You must contact the California DMV for a copy.
DMV.ORG BBB Business Review