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. Effective July 1, 2010, IRP transactions will no longer be processed at DMV Field Offices and will be handled exclusively by the IRP Section at DMV Headquarters. More information.
POWER UNITS - TRIP PERMITS
Power units with valid out-of-state registration may be registered with a consecutive 4-day trip permit for a fee of $45 per CVC Section 9260. Additional permits may be purchased for continuous operation longer than 4 days. For more information, see Section 12.005 on Page 2 of the IRP Handbook, Chapter 12.
Trip permits may be purchased from the following 4 sources. (Additional fees may apply for the private permit services and truck stops.)
1 - PRIVATE PERMIT SERVICES. See this page for a list of permit services that issue trip permits and transportation permits: Transportation Permit Services List.
2 - TRUCK STOPS. Some truck stops may issue 4-day 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.
3 - IN BULK. Trip permits may be purchased in bulk from DMV by mail. For puchasing information, see: IRP Handbook, Chapter 12.
4 - AT A DMV OFFICE. Trip permits may be purchased at a DMV field office in person, once you are in California. (However, you must already have a trip permit to enter the state.) List of DMV offices.
POWER UNITS - 90-DAY TEMPORARY. Power Units may also be registered with a 90-day temporary registration. The operator must declare the purchase price and the operating weight which will determine the fee. The operator will be cited if the price was understated or the weight is exceeded. The 90-day permit may be obtained only at a DMV field office. Before entering the state, you must obtain a 4-day trip permit (see the topic "Power Units -- Trip Permits" above). For more information on 90-day registration, see Section 12.010 on Page 3 of the IRP Handbook, Chapter 12.
Trailers no longer need trip permits. Trailers require a Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) for a fee of $20, or valid registration in another jurisdiction. For more information on PTI requirements, see this DMV PTI website.
UNIFIED CARRIER REGISTRATION (UCR)
[Formerly "Single-State Registration System (SSRS)"]
On January 1, 2007, the Single State Registration System was repealed and replaced with Unified Carrier Registration (UCR). UCR requires individuals and companies that operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate or international commerce register their business with California and pay an annual fee based on the size of their fleet. Motor private carriers, freight forwarders, brokers, and leasing companies are also subject to UCR.
For more information on UCR, or to pay UCR fees online, visit the DMV Motor Carrier Services (MCS) Permits website, or call:
Motor Carrier Permit (MCP) Operations at (916) 657-8153.
For more details about vehicle registration, please see the California Department of Motor Vehicles websites:
NEW CONTACT INFORMATION for DMV's IRP UNIT
(NOTE: TRIP PERMITS ARE NOT AVAILABLE AT DMV'S IRP UNIT. TO OBTAIN TRIP PERMITS, SEE THE TOPIC "POWER UNITS -- TRIP PERMITS" ABOVE.)
Call IRP Operations at (916) 657-7971 for recorded information during normal business hours, or email DMV at IRP_Customer_Response@dmv.ca.gov.
Legal Truck Access Links
- Legal Truck Access HOMEPAGE | Office of CVO
- Chain Requirements
- Getting to Eureka
- Toll Operations
- Truck Lane Use
- Truck-Only Lanes
- Truck Stops (CA, AZ, NV, OR)
- Weigh Stations