Yesterday I finally got my California license plates after four trips to the DMV! I never thought it was going to be so difficult and I’m sure my experience might differ from someone else, but here are some things that might help you speed things along.
I brought my car from Florida (where smog checks aren’t required) so I had no clue that my car needed to pass a smog test in order to get my California tags and registration. I saw car repair shops all over LA that said smog test, but I never even bothered to check if I needed one. FIRST FAIL.
I arrived with an appointment ( you can get one here: DMV Appointments) to take my written test for my driver’s license and get my tags and registration and was helped by the front desk person who looked through my paperwork and gave me a number. She never checked for my smog paperwork so after I took the written test, I sat there for another hour or two before I was told I needed one by another person.
After I left the DMV, I stopped by an auto repair shop to get my smog certification and return to get everything finalized. Well, what’d ya know? My car failed! The diagnosis would’ve taken a full day which I didn’t have. So, I was back to the DMV to get a temporary permit without an appointment. I was there forever!
I went to get the diagnosis which revealed a $600 repair and after driving it for a week, had to get a second smog test for another $50. Finally, the car was ready…
Two weeks later, I walked in to the DMV early in the morning for a 3rd time and went
straight to the appointment line. I was in and out in less than 30 minutes! It’s nice to be ‘official’ in Los Angeles 😉
*Get your smog certification
*Make an appointment (preferably not at the end of the month or on a Mon or Fri)
*Bring all your paperwork!
*Study for the written DL test (you have 3 chances to pass)
*Prepare to wait
I hope that answers a few questions. I know a few people that drive around with out of state tags, but if you’re planning on staying here for the long haul AND you don’t want a huge ticket if you get caught, then why not? Hope your DMV story is less expensive than mine!!!