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CHP: California residents with out-of-state license plates must pay

Having trouble registering your vehicle in the state of California or obtaining a driver license? You're not alone.

The California Highway Patrol is asking local drivers to report people they know are living in the state but driving with an out-of-state license.

It even has a website called Cheaters: Out-of-State (Out of State Registration Violaters).

The CHP says the state of California, "loses millions of dollars a year in revenue from California residents who unlawfully register their vehicles in other states or countries."

Somebody moving to California from out-of-state has 10 days after establishing residency to get a California driver license and 20 days to register his or her vehicle.

That can be complicated when booking an appointment at the DMV, which is a requirement for getting a driver license. Appointments at some DMV locations are backed up for several weeks.

The DMV has plenty of information on its website, about what documentation is needed for obtaining a license and registration.

Still, some people find the process can be challenging, especially if they work during the hours the office is open.

In full disclosure, this reporter is a newcomer to California.

My partner Frank Bisek and I just moved to Sacramento from Knoxville, Tenn.

Frank tried getting his driver license.

"I'm not doing a commerical license. I just want to get my motorcycle license and my regular license and that's it, so that way I can ID myself as a California resident," he recounted on Wednesday.

But he ran into a problem at the DMV. He brought two proofs of residency and his social security card, but learned he also needs his birth certificate.

"I instantly got a new appointment because it's like three or four weeks," he said.

That happened, and then I noticed the CHP's Cheaters website, so I talked with DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez to learn just what a newcomer has to do to obey the law.

"If you're moving to California and you're becoming a resident, you are required to register your vehicle at the California DMV within 20 days of moving," she said. "You will need your title, your out-of-state registration and possibly a smog check, which you would get at any of the smog stations that you might see in California."

That's for registration. For a driver license, the turn-around is even tighter.

"You need to apply for a driver license within 10 days of establishing residency. You will need to make an appointment to come into a field office if it's your first time," she said.

But appointments are often booked several weeks out. How's a person to comply?

"It's going to show you availabilities at other nearby offices, so you may have to maybe drive over to Davis or go down to South Sacramento," she said, suggesting a person could also walk into an office in the morning and ask for any same-day appointment availabilties.

A driver license requires an application, legal presence document like a birth certificate or passport, proofs of residency, Social Security card, application fee and taking a knowledge test. The list of requirements is HERE.

An AB 60 Driver License is available for California residents who are undocumented immigrants. Information on that is HERE.

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