Listed below are the most frequently asked questions. This list is not all inclusive nor is it intended to be.
If you have any questions, please contact your local DMV Inspector or call (916) 229-3126.
Where can I obtain application forms?
All application forms and further licensing information can be downloaded from the
Apply For An Original page.
Who do I contact to get a dealer’s license?
You may obtain the necessary information and application to apply for a dealer’s license from any DMV Inspector in your area,
or see Vehicle Dealer’s License Forms page.
Applications for a used vehicle dealer’s license, or wholesale only dealers license,
will not be accepted by the DMV Inspectors without proof of completion of the Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program
and proof of successfully passing the dealer examination or proof of being licensed as a vehicle dealer within the past 36 months.
For testing appointments and information regarding a dealers license, please call one of the DMV Inspectors in your area.
Where do I file my application?
Application packages for vehicle dealers are submitted to your local DMV Inspector.
Where do I call if I have questions?
If you have general licensing questions you may call (916) 229-3126.
What is an abbreviated application?
An abbreviated application allows applicants, with conviction(s), to discover if a license will be issued or reissued
without incurring the possible unnecessary expenses of obtaining a bond,
establishing a place of business and/or attending a dealer education program.
See Abbreviated Applications page.
What is the New Motor Vehicle Board Function?
The New Motor Vehicle Board (NMVB) operates in a quasi-judicial capacity to resolve disputes (protests)
between franchised new vehicle dealers (vehicle, motorcycle, ATV, and recreational vehicle) and manufacturers.
These disputes typically concern franchise terminations or modifications,
establishments or relocations of a same line-make franchise within the dealer’s relevant market area (10 air miles),
and reimbursement for warranty or franchisor incentive program payments.
The NMVB also hears and considers appeals presented by a new vehicle dealer or manufacturer
after any final decision of the Director of the department that adversely affects the occupational license of the appellant,
such as the suspension or revocation of the license. Vehicle Code sections 507, 3050-3079.
Lastly, there is a Consumer Mediation Services Program that attempts through informal mediation
to resolve disputes between consumers and new vehicle dealers and manufacturers.
Who is the New Motor Vehicle Board?
The New Motor Vehicle Board consists of nine members. Four of the appointed members are new motor vehicle dealers,
engaged in business for a period of not less than five years preceding their appointment.
The remaining five appointed members are public members not affiliated with any licensed dealer.
How long will it take for the department to process my application?
The average time for processing an application may be up to 120 days
to allow the department time for background check and processing of the license.
Does the department issue temporary permits?
Pending the satisfaction of the department that the applicant has met the requirements for the license,
the department may issue a temporary permit for a period not to exceed 120 days while it completes its investigation
and determination of all facts relative to the qualifications of the applicant for the license. CVC Section 11719
What is the license renewal period?
The vehicle dealer license is renewed annually for the first year after receiving the original license;
and then biannually based on the month the original license was issued.
Renewals should be made before the expiration of the license.
If you do not renew your license before it expires, you may renew your license within thirty (30) days
following the expiration date by paying the renewal fee and a penalty equal to 100 percent of the original application fee.
Renewals will not be accepted for licenses that have been expired for more than 30 days. CVC Section 11717(d).
How do I renew my license?
About 90 days before the expiration of your license you should receive a courtesy notice for renewal.
After you complete the courtesy notice, you will need to mail your renewal form and fees to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 932342 MS L224
Sacramento, CA 94232-3420
If you do not receive a courtesy notice please call (916) 229-3126
or you may download the renewal form from the Renew Your License page.
How do I get additional plates, replacement plates, stickers only, or a duplicate registration card?
You will need to fill out form OL 22 for additional plates,
replacement plates, stickers only, or a duplicate registration card.
What happens to my supplies if I cease doing business?
When licensed dealers cease doing business, or a bond,
cancelled by the Surety Company is not reinstated by the cancellation date,
the dealers shall immediately surrender the business license, special plates, registration cards,
and all report of sale books to the DMV Inspector Office.
What happens if there is a change in ownership?
When a licensed dealer has an ownership change,
all supplies must be surrendered to the Department of Motor Vehicles
and the submission of an original application for license is required.
A new application will require the submission of new fees and a new bond.
How do I make a change to my existing license?
When a licensed dealer changes location, adds a branch office, changes the firm name,
or makes a change in the corporate structure,
the licensee must immediately notify the DMV Inspector,
and submit the appropriate forms and fees for the change.
Licensed dealer changes matrix
|Type of Change
||OL 15, OL 29, Copy of Corporate Minutes or Statement of Officers stamped by the Secretary of States Office, and Fingerprint Live Scan receipt
||OL 21, OL 124, Certificate of Appointment, Corporate Minutes, Bond Rider
||OL 21, OL 124, OL 902, copy of lease or rental agreement
|Add a branch
||OL 21, OL 124, OL 902, copy of lease or rental agreement
||$70$225 for New Motor Vehicle Board (if applicable)
Note: OL124 is needed only if new cars, new motorcycles, new ATV’s, new recreational trailers, or new motor homes are being sold.
Are there any signs I must post?
Yes. Along with the “Established Place of Business” Sign,
you will need the following posted on the premises:
“…in a space conspicuous to the public in each and every location,
the license issued by the department to the dealer and to each salesman employed by that dealer” CVC section 11709(a)
Every dealer who displays or offers one or more used vehicles for sale at retail shall post a notice
not less than 8 inches high and 10 inches wide, in a place conspicuous to the public, which states the following:
“The prospective purchaser of a vehicle may,
at his or her own expense and with the approval of the dealer,
have the vehicle inspected by an independent third party either on or off these premises.” CVC section 11709
Additionally, every dealer shall conspicuously display a notice not less than eight inches high and 10 inches wide,
in each sales office and sales cubicle of a dealer’s established place of business
where written terms of specific sale or lease transactions are discussed with prospective purchasers or lessees,
and in each room of a dealer’s established place of business where sale and lease contracts are regularly executed,
which states the following:
“There Is No Cooling-Off Period Unless You Obtain A Contract Cancellation Option.”
California law does not provide for a “Cooling-off” or cancellation period for vehicle lease or purchase contracts.
Therefore, you cannot later cancel such a contract simply because you change your mind,
decide the vehicle cost too much, or wish you had acquired a different vehicle.
After you sign a motor vehicle purchase or lease contract,
it may only be canceled with the agreement of the seller or lessor for legal cause, such as fraud.
However, California law does require a seller to offer a 2 day contract cancellation option
on used vehicles with a purchase price of less than $40,000,
subject to certain statutory conditions.
This contract cancellation option requirement does not apply to the sale of a motorcycle or an off-highway motor vehicle
subject to identification under California law.
See the vehicle contract cancellation option agreement for details. CVC section 11709
For what purpose may special plates be used?
Refer to California Code of Regulations, Title 13 Motor Vehicles Division 1, Chapter 1, Article 3.3.
How do I report a possible unlicensed dealer?
Whenever a licensed dealer has grounds to suspect that a person or persons are engaging in the buying and selling of vehicles as outlined in CVC Section 285 ,
without having first obtained a license from the Department of Motor Vehicles,
the dealer or their authorized representative should file a written complaint
with the local Department of Motor Vehicles Investigative Service Office.
Who do I call for registration questions?
If you have a question relating to registration processing please call the Registration Unit at 1 (800) 777-0133.
You may also contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles Field Office , Registration Section.
Are there exclusions for a dealer license?
Yes. The exclusions for a vehicle dealer license are listed in CVC Section 286.
What is the Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program?
The California Vehicle Code requires certain applicants to successfully complete a
Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program.
The purpose is to ensure that applicants for used vehicle dealer licenses are aware of the laws and regulations
governing the operation of a used vehicle dealership in California.
What is a Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program Provider?
A Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program Provider
is a private vendor who has been authorized by the DMV
to instruct potential applicants for a used vehicle dealer license
on laws and regulations governing the operation of a used vehicle dealership in California.
Who is required to successfully complete a Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program course?
The following applicants must comply with the education and testing requirements:
- Sole owner
- All partners who manage the business
- A corporate officer who manages the business
- Limited liability company managing partners
Who is NOT required to successfully complete a Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program Provider course?
- An applicant for a new vehicle dealer’s license or any employee of that dealer.
- A person who holds a valid license as an automobile dismantler, an employee of that dismantler,
- or an applicant for an automobile dismantler’s license.
- An applicant for a motorcycle only dealer’s license or any employee of that dealer.
- An applicant for a trailer only dealer’s license or any employee of that dealer.
- An applicant for an all-terrain only dealer’s license or any employee of that dealer.
What will it cost me to attend a Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program course?
Each provider sets its own cost.
Contact the Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program Providers listed for the exact amount.
Where can I find a Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program Provider Course?
The DMV has approved the Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program Providers listed.
You may contact the program provider for information on courses in your area.
Other program providers may be approved in the future.
Where do I go after I successfully complete the Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program course?
After successfully completing the course you will be issued a completion certificate.
You must schedule an appointment with a DMV Inspector in your area to take the test.
The test consists of 40 questions and must be passed with at least 70% accuracy.
You must present your completion certificate, issued by the Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program Provider
and your current California Driver’s License or California Identification Card to take the test.
Is there a charge to take the test?
Yes, you will be charged $16 to take the test.
If you do not pass, you may retake the test after a seven (7) day waiting period.
You will be charged $16 each time the test is taken.
What if I cannot pass the test?
If, after three attempts, you cannot pass the test, you will be referred to the Used Vehicle Dealer Education Program Provider
listed on your completion certificate to determine if additional training is needed.
What is Live Scan and who is affected by it?
Select this link: Live Scan Fingerprinting Information Sheet.