Licensure Frequently Asked Questions

Business Licenses

License Requirements

Do I need to be registered with the Bureau of Automotive Repair?

Businesses or individuals that receive compensation for repairing, altering, or diagnosing malfunctions of motor vehicles must be registered as an Automotive Repair Dealer (ARD) with BAR. Refer to Business and Professions Code sections 9880.1 and 9880.2 for more information.

How do I apply for an automotive repair dealer registration?

To apply for an ARD registration, submit a completed ARD application and the applicable fee.

Businesses wishing to apply for a Smog Check, lamp, and/or brake station license(s) must also apply for an ARD registration.

How do I apply for a station license?

To apply for initial licensure of a Smog Check, lamp, and/or brake station, an existing ARD or ARD applicant must submit the appropriate station application(s) and fee(s).

Licenses will be issued only after a BAR representative performs an onsite inspection of the station to confirm that the applicant meets the qualifications prescribed by regulations. To prepare for the onsite inspection, refer to the appropriate station requirements checklist.

What type of station(s) may be added to an existing or new ARD registration?

  • Smog Check station
  • Lamp station
  • Brake station

What are the fees for licensure?

License Type Application Fee
Automotive Repair Dealer $200.00
Smog Check Station $100.00
Brake and/or Lamp Station $10.00

How do I appeal the denial of my application for registration/licensure?

You have the right to appeal the license denial and to have an administrative hearing under the provisions of Section 485 (b) of the Business and Professions Code. You must submit the appeal in writing to BAR within 60 days from the date of the notice of denial. If you do not submit an appeal in writing to BAR, you will automatically waive your right to a hearing, and your application will be deemed denied.

Should you appeal and the denial is upheld, the earliest date to reapply is one year from the date of service of the notice of denial.

License Renewal

How often must I renew my registration and/or license?

ARDs and Smog Check, brake, and lamp stations must renew their registrations and/or licenses annually. BAR will mail a courtesy renewal notice 90 days prior to the expiration date. Shop owners are responsible for renewing their registration/license before expiration to avoid delinquent fees and having their analyzer(s) locked out.

What if I don't receive a renewal notice?

If you do not receive a courtesy renewal notice in the mail, you are still responsible for renewing each registration/license by the expiration date.

To renew your registration/license online, visit the Online License Renewal page.

If you do not receive your renewal notice and would like to renew your registration/license by mail, you may submit a copy of your registration/license with the applicable renewal fees. Include your registration/license number on the check or money order made payable to the Department of Consumer Affairs and mail to:

Department of Consumer Affairs
Cashiering Unit
P.O. Box 989001
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9001

What if I do not renew my registration and/or license by the expiration date?

If the renewal application and fees are postmarked after the registration/license expiration date(s), a delinquency fee will be charged for each registration and/or license you are renewing. Delinquent renewals will not be processed until all fees are received.

If you own a licensed Smog Check station and your ARD and/or Smog Check station renewal payments are delinquent, your station's analyzer(s) will be locked out and you will not be allowed to inspect, test, diagnose, repair, or issue certificates of compliance.

What are the renewal and delinquency fees?

License Type Renewal Fee Delinquency/Late Fee
Automotive Repair Dealer $200.00 $50.00
Smog Check Station $100.00 $50.00
Brake Station $5.00 $2.50
Lamp Station $5.00 $2.50

Can I overnight my renewal payment?

Yes. Payments may be sent overnight to the following address:

Department of Consumer Affairs
Cashiering Unit
1625 North Market Boulevard, Suite S100
Sacramento, CA 95834

Can I renew my registration and/or license online?

Yes. Online license renewal is available for ARD registrations and station licenses that will expire within the next 90 days or have not been expired for more than one year. Review eligibility requirements and begin the online renewal process.

Can I expedite my renewal?

No. Renewals are processed in the order they are received. The processing time is typically two weeks from the time of receipt. A license remains valid between the date of receipt and its processing, provided it is submitted on or before the expiration date.

Can I renew my registration and/or license(s) if I have changes to my business?

A change involving a name, address, or phone number can be documented on your renewal notice, check or money order, or by submitting a completed Change of Name/Address/Corporate Officers form. Please note that a registrant or licensee must notify BAR within 14 days of a business name or address change.

A change to a sole ownership, partnership, or corporation (other than a corporate officer change) requires a new application and payment of applicable fees.

If I do not renew my ARD registration and Smog Check station license on time, will my station's STAR certification be affected?

Yes. Your STAR certification will be removed from your analyzer(s) and your station will be locked out from performing inspections until both the ARD registration and Smog Check station license are current.

Business Changes

How do I change my business name, address, and/or corporate officers?

Licensees must notify BAR within 14 days of any change in business name, address, and/or corporate officers. The notification must be provided in writing or by submitting a Change of Name/Address/Corporate Officers form.

Please note, an onsite inspection of any new location is required before a station may perform any inspections.

Can I change my Smog Check station type?

Yes. To change the designation of your Smog Check station (i.e., from test-and-repair to test-only or vice-versa), submit a new Smog Check station application, the applicable fee, and a new Cal-VIS Enrollment Package. You must specify the requested effective date of the change on the application.

Upon receipt of the application and fees, a BAR representative will contact your station to schedule a required onsite inspection. The new license will be issued only after the station passes the onsite inspection. Be advised that your station may experience some downtime during this process.

If I have a current Smog Check test-only station can I open a Smog Check test-and-repair station?

Yes. However, a Smog Check test-only station and Smog Check test-and-repair station under common ownership (either partial or whole) may not be located adjacent to one another or in the same business park, strip mall, or industrial complex.

Limited Liability Companies

How do I obtain the required permits to complete the ARD LLC application?

Permit and agency information is listed below:

Permit Agency
Domestic or Foreign LLC Number California Secretary of State
(916) 653-6814
www.sos.ca.gov
Seller Permit Number California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
(800) 400-7115
www.cdtfa.ca.gov
Federal Employer Identification Number Internal Revenue Service
(800) 829-3676
www.irs.gov
Local Jurisdiction Requirements/Permits/Licenses California Environmental Protection Agency/CalGOLD
(916) 323-2514
www.calgold.ca.gov

Is an operating agreement required for registration?

Yes, an operating agreement is required. Please seek legal counsel for information concerning operating agreements.

What is a member?

A member is a person or entity that owns a percentage of interest in an LLC. Members are similar to shareholders in a corporation. A member can be an individual, a partnership, a corporation, a trust, or a limited liability company.

Do all members need to sign the ARD LLC application?

Yes. All members are required to sign the application.

Do I need to list all persons that are members of the LLC on the application?

Yes, all members of the LLC must be listed on the application. When appropriate, the following representatives must also be listed on the application:

  • Partnership - list all partners
  • Corporation - list the president, secretary, and treasurer
  • Trust - list every trustee

Do I need to notify BAR of any member changes?

Yes, if you are already registered as an LLC, own a licensed station, and are adding or deleting a member, you must submit a new ARD LLC application and applicable fee.

Individual Licenses

License Requirements

What type of Smog Check license(s) do I need?

A Smog Check inspector license is required to inspect and certify vehicle emissions control systems. A Smog Check repair technician license is required to diagnose, adjust, and repair vehicle emissions control systems. If you will be inspecting and repairing vehicles, both licenses are required.

How do I apply for a Smog Check inspector and/or Smog Check repair technician license?

To apply for a Smog Check inspector and/or Smog Check repair technician license, you must meet either the certification or education/experience prerequisites indicated on the application. Applicants meeting all requirements must submit a completed application and the applicable fee.

After BAR has reviewed your application and determined your eligibility, the examination administration contractor will mail you a notice with instructions for scheduling your Smog Check examination(s). Once you pass your examination(s), your wall and badge license will be mailed to you with details on how to activate your license(s).

For more information, see the following licensure requirements flowcharts:

How do I apply for a brake and/or lamp adjuster license?

To apply for a brake and/or lamp adjuster license, complete and submit the appropriate application(s) and the applicable fee(s). After BAR has reviewed your application(s) and determined your eligibility, the examination administration contractor will mail you a notice with instructions for scheduling your brake/lamp examination(s).

What are the fees for initial licensure?

License Type Application Fee
Smog Check Inspector $20.00
Smog Check Repair Technician $20.00
Brake Adjuster $10.00
Lamp Adjuster $10.00

How do I inform BAR of a change of address and/or name?

Licensees must notify BAR within 14 days of any change in address and/or name. notification must be provided in writing or by submitting a Change of Name/Address/Corporate Officers form.

How do I appeal the denial of my application for licensure?

You have the right to appeal the license denial and to have an administrative hearing under the provisions of Section 485(b) of the Business and Professions Code. You must submit the appeal in writing to BAR within 60 days from the date of the notice of denial. If you do not submit an appeal in writing to BAR, you will automatically waive your right to a hearing, and your application will be deemed denied.

Should you appeal and the denial is upheld, the earliest date to reapply is one year from the date of service of the notice of denial.

License Renewal

How often must I renew my license?

Smog Check inspectors and Smog Check repair technicians must renew their license every two years. Courtesy renewal notices are mailed out 120 days prior to the license expiration date. Separate renewal notices are sent to licensees who hold both the Smog Check inspector and Smog Check repair technician license.

Smog Check inspector and Smog Check repair technician licensees must meet specific requirements to renew their license. For more information, visit our Training page.

Brake and lamp adjuster licenses expire every four years. Licensed adjusters do not renew their license, but rather resubmit an initial application and fees to retake the examination prior to their license expiration date.

What if I don't receive a renewal notice?

If you do not receive a courtesy renewal notice in the mail, you are still responsible for renewing each license by the expiration date. To renew your license online, visit the Online License Renewal page.

If you do not receive your renewal notice and would like to renew your license by mail, you may submit a copy of your license with the applicable renewal fees. Include your registration/license number on the check or money order made payable to the Department of Consumer Affairs and mail to:

Department of Consumer Affairs
Cashiering Unit
P.O. Box 989001
West Sacramento, CA 95798-9001

What if I do not renew my license by the expiration date?

If the renewal application and fees are postmarked after the license expiration date(s), a delinquency fee will be charged for each license you are renewing. Delinquent renewals will not be processed until all fees are received.

Upon expiration of a Smog Check inspector and/or Smog Check repair technician license, licensees must immediately cease inspecting, testing, or repairing vehicles, as applicable. Smog Check inspectors and/or Smog Check repair technicians who do not submit their renewals within one year of the expiration date will be required to submit a new application and fees, take required courses, and retake the examination.

What are the renewal and delinquency fees?

License Type Renewal Fee Delinquency/Late Fee
Smog Check Inspector $20.00 None
Smog Check Repair Technician $20.00 None
Brake Adjuster $5.00 $2.50
Lamp Adjuster $5.00 $2.50

Can I overnight my renewal payment?

Yes. Payments may be sent overnight to the following address:

Department of Consumer Affairs
Cashiering Unit
1625 North Market Boulevard, Suite S100
Sacramento, CA 95834

Can I renew my license online?

Yes. Online license renewal is available for Smog Check inspector and Smog Check repair technician licenses that will expire within the next 150 days or have not been expired for more than one year. Review eligibility requirements and begin the online renewal process.

Can I expedite my renewal?

No. Renewals are processed in the order they are received. The processing time is typically two weeks from the time of receipt. A license remains valid between the date of receipt and its processing, provided it is submitted on or before the expiration date.