Newcomers

Residency
There is no formalized residency procedure, only physical presence in California with the intent of making it your home.

Colleges, universities and other institutions have their own residency requirements and procedures.

California State Franchise Tax Board
5353 Mission Center Rd.
San Diego, Ca
800-852-5711

Office of Internal Revenue Service
Tax information and assistance
800-829-1040

Voter Registration Information — Who May Register
Any U.S. citizen who will be 18 years of age or older prior to the regular general election can register to vote.

You must have been a resident of the state for 50 days preceding the election. The only exception to the residency requirement is if you are only voting for President. The cut-off point for voter registration is 29 days before an election. The State of California has a policy of permanent registration, unless you change your name or party, or unless you move.

Where to Register
Pick up a postcard at the County Clerk’s office, any fire station, post office or the County Registrar of Voters and return it to the Registrar of Voters.

Re-registration
This is necessary only if change you name, address or party preference.

Drivers License 
California law requires that a motorist obtain a driver’s license within 10 days from the date residency is established. The license costs $12 and is valid for 4 birthdays. You must take a written test but you can omit the driving (behind the wheel) test if you surrender an out-of-state license.

Call the Department of Motor Vehicles to set an appointment for your drivers license examination -1-800-777-0133.  You may also use this phone number for general questions and information. 

Motor Vehicle Registration
California law states you must register any out-of-state vehicle within 20 days of permanent residency. Personal property tax is included in your registration fees. The basic fee is based upon 2% of market value and is required annually.

Smog Control
California has a very strict city SMOG CONTROL ordinance. Smog certificates state that your car’s pollution control device is working properly. The certificate must be presented to the Department of Motor Vehicles at the time of registration. Vehicles manufactured between 1965 and 1979 generally require the installation of a smog device.

The smog certificates are obtained from State-approved garages or gas stations. The car will be examined for compliance, and if necessary, a smog device will be installed.

Non-Resident Smog Impact Fee
A person registering a vehicle which was last registered outside of California will be required to pay a $300 Non-Resident Vehicle Smog Impact Fee if that vehicle is not labeled as California-certified.

Insurance
To comply with California’s Compulsory Financial Responsibility Law, your automobile insurance must provide at least the following coverage:

For injury to or death of any one person in any accident: $15,000,
For injury to or death of more than one person in any one accident: $30,000,
For property damage caused by any one accident: $5,000.

With court settlements often exceeding the above it is wise to consider a larger amount of liability insurance.

Car Seat Law
Parents must provide federally-approved car seats for children up to 4 years of age or 40 pounds. All cars carrying children in this age group must provide seatbelts. Failure to comply with this law could result in a citation. For further information, call 800-CAR-SEAT.

Seat Belt Law
As of January 1, 1996 it is unlawful for a passenger or driver in a moving vehicle not to have his/hers seatbelt properly fastened. This law includes passengers in the rear seat as well as the front. The fine for not observing this law is $50.00.

Public School Requirements
Enrollment and transfer requirements for all public school students in California are: Birth certificate, Last report card and transcripts from previous school, Proof of immunization for DPT, Polio, Rubella and Measles. 

A child must be 5 years of age on or before December 1 to be eligible for kindergarten. Full-time attendance is required for all students between ages 6 and 16, unless specially exempted, and attendance at continuation classes is required for those between 16 and 18 years old.

In California, a Unified District includes both Elementary and High school levels; an Elementary District includes kindergarten and grades one through six or eight; a High School District includes grades nine and above, and may include grades seven and above; a Union High School District includes two or more elementary school districts.

Lottery
The California Lottery was started in 1985. Fifty percent of Lottery revenue is paid back in prize money with 34% of the sales revenue going directly to California public education (excluding teachers salaries). Lottery tickets can be purchased at many retail, liquor, department stores, etc. You must be 18 years or older to play.

In conjunction with the Lottery is “Super Lotto.” Since its start in 1985, the Lottery annually has averaged approximately 38 percent contribution to the state’s K-12 and higher education institutions. California Lottery Headquarters, P.O. Box 3028 Sacramento, Ca 95812-3028; 916-322-7415 or 858-492-1700.

 

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