Lease Transfer(Out of State) When to get plates

Hi Hackrs,

What -> BMW lease transfer
Location -> Oregon to California

Question -> BMWFS will send me documents to get the registration transferred under my name, my question is whether I can go collect the car with the original plates from Oregon and drive to the DMV in CA to get it done ? How would this typically work?


It works like this. You pick up the car with the original tags, drive to California, get your new CA tags first thing when you get there, then mail the OR tags back to the original owner.

That assumes you can’t take the paperwork to the CA DMW and somehow get your tags before you pickup the car.

That assume the original lessee would let you drive away with his/her plates… which they probably won’t.

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True, although I guess I’ve just been lucky over the years in that I’ve never had any issues with anyone mailing the original tags back (as both a buyer and a seller).

From the seller’s point of view, with an approved transfer ready to go, if my options are A) let the buyer drive the car home with my tags then hopefully mail them back, or B) cancel the whole transaction and start over from scratch looking for a new buyer, I would choose option A 10 times out of 10. But thats just me :slightly_smiling_face:

That’s how it works in all the states I’ve lived in… can someone from CA chime in

Ca requires out of state cars to be smogged. So requires more work if not within CA.

Not only smogged, but it also needs a physical “verification” before being allowed to be registered in CA.

Yup there you go. Transferring my 7 to CA now so going through this.

CA allows you to get a Temporary Operating Permit

As others mentioned, you can’t complete the CA registration without a VIN scan and a Smog check, which both require you and the vehicle to physically be in CA.


Do they issue tags that are contingent on getting the inspection done within a certain timeframe?

Or the inspection has to be done first? If the latter how would one drive to the inspection station?

From @jeisensc‘s post above, I guess you can get a temporary operating permit (TOP). Personally, I just drove unregistered to my nearest DMV in the past, but that was before CA started issuing paper tags.

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