California DMV

Find California DMV, BMV, bureau of motor vehicles, motor vehicle department, driver services, and title & tag agency. DMVs provide information on vehicle registration, driver licenses, and driver insurance, road driving tests, and driving permit exams.


About DMVs

What is a DMV?

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is a state agency that is responsible for licensing drivers, collecting fuel taxes, administering vehicle titling and registration, and enforcing vehicle safety and emissions requirements. The DMV is typically one division in a larger department, such as the Department of Public Safety, the Transportation Department, or the Department of Revenue. In addition to core DMV programs and services, the DMV in some states offers a variety of other services. Many DMVs issue special parking permits for the disabled and IDs for non-drivers that can be used as valid photo identification. In some states, the DMV will also accept voter registration forms.

Some Departments of Motor Vehicles work closely with revenue departments at either the local, county, or state level. If an individual owes local taxes to the revenue department, the DMV can prevent the registration of a new vehicle or impose other restrictions until the taxes are paid.

In states that border Canada or Mexico, the DMV may play a role, along with other departments, in monitoring commercial vehicles that operate across the border.

Some states use the DMV to track individual traffic violations. It is common for the DMV to have a points system whereby traffic violations result in points imposed on the driver's license. The number of points depends on the severity of the violations. The accumulation of points on the license may lead to temporary or permanent loss of the license and can adversely affect automobile insurance costs.

The Department of Motor Vehicles educates the public on laws regarding the driving age, temporary permits, and restrictions on new drivers, especially teen drivers. DMVs also provide information about commercial driver's licenses and related training, motorcycle safety classes, and insurance requirements.

Most states now offer online services for residents to register or renew registrations and licenses. Online services provide access to information regarding testing requirements, applications for licenses, registration renewal dates, emissions testing requirements, and emissions test locations.