California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 4000 specifies that no vehicle shall be driven, moved, towed or left standing upon any California highway without having some form of California registration. The State agency responsible for vehicle registration is the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The following is a brief summary of California registration requirements for interstate operators. These requirements apply to both legal vehicles, and "extralegal" vehicles that require oversize or overweight permits.
The Commercial Vehicle Registration Act of 2001 changed the way commercial vehicles and trailers are registered in California. California registration must be obtained before entering the state. Commercial vehicles may be registered for operation in California by the following methods.
Power Units - International Registration Plan (IRP)
Power Units may be registered in the International Registration Plan (IRP) with a California apportionment. The operator must declare the operating weight which will determine the weight fee. The operator will be cited if the declared weight is exceeded.
Power Units - Trip Permits
Power units with valid out-of-state registration may be registered with a trip permit for a fee of $45 per CVC Section 9260.
Trip permits may be purchased from the following 3 sources. (Additional fees may apply for permits obtained from private permit services and truck stops.)
- Private Permit Services. See this page for a list of permit services that issue trip permits and transportation permits: Private Permit Services List (PDF) .
- Truck Stops. Some truck stops may issue trip permits. Call ahead to make sure they have them. A list of truck stops is at this link: Truck Stops. Scroll down to the trucks stops in the states outside California, as the permit will be needed before entering California.
- DMV Office. For more information please contact the DMV IRP Unit (916) 657-7783. List of DMV offices.
For more details about vehicle registration, please see the California Department of Motor Vehicles websites:
Legal Truck Access
- Legal Truck Access Homepage
- 45' Buses & Motorhomes
- Getting to Eureka
- Truck Lane Use
- Weigh Stations
- Chain Requirements
- Encroachment Permits
- Exit Number Signs
- Toll Operations
- Truck-Only Lanes
- Truck Stops (CA, AZ, NV, OR)
- Transportation Permits
- Permit Services List (PDF)
- Permits Contact List
- Road Conditions