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Moving to San Diego? Here’s What You Need to Know

Need-to-know admin stuff, from when to update your driver’s license to where to register to vote



Update Your Driver’s License

Update Your Driver’s License

What: If you’re moving to San Diego from out of state, you need to apply for a California driver’s license.
When: Within 10 days of moving
Where: Your local DMV office (skip the long lines by scheduling an appointment online)
More Info

 
Get a Smog Check

Get a Smog Check

What: Before you’re able to transfer your out-of-state vehicle registration, your car (if the model year is 1976 or newer) needs to pass a smog check.
When: Within 20 days of moving, then every two years
Where: DMV.org (not a DMV affiliate) has a list of smog test, emission check, and inspection sites in San Diego
More Info

 

Register Your Car

Register Your Car

What: If you’re moving to San Diego from another state or country and bringing a vehicle, you need to transfer the title to California.
When: Within 20 days of moving
Where: Your local DMV office
More Info

 

Register to Vote

Register to Vote

What: When moving to a new state, becoming a registered voter will make sure you have a say when it comes to any new state legislation, as well as in national elections.
When: By 11:59:59 p.m. on the 15th day before Election Day
Where: Online, by mail, or at the DMV
More Info

 

Get a Dog License

Get a Dog License

What: By California state law, all dogs older than five months must be licensed. To license your dog, you’ll need proof that it has a current rabies vaccination.
When: Within 30 days of moving
Where: At your local County Animal Services shelter or online   
More Info

 

Use Public Transportation

Use Public Transportation

What: The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System operates buses and trolleys in south, east, and central San Diego, while the North County Transit District covers North County.
Where: You can find your closest stop on the MTS and NCTD websites.
More Info

 

Get a Library Card

Get a Library Card

What: The City of San Diego Public Library has 35 branches across the city, with a collection of 5.3 million books! Library cards are free, and you can apply for a temporary card online.
When: Bring a printout of your temporary library card number, plus a picture ID and proof of address, to any Public Library location within 30 days to apply for a permanent card.
More Info

 

Report a Non-Emergency

Report a Non-Emergency

What: The San Diego Police Department has a 24-hour hotline for nonemergency calls and general information.
Where: Call 619-531-2000 or file an online police report
More Info

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San Diego Newcomer's Guide:

Moving to San Diego? Here’s What You Need to Know

Need-to-know admin stuff, from when to update your driver’s license to where to register to vote

A Quick and Easy Guide to 17 San Diego Neighborhoods

San Diego’s most buzzy neighborhoods, from beach communities to urban enclaves, listed north to south

12 of San Diego’s Best Beaches

With miles of perfect beaches to choose from, here’s a quick guide to help you narrow down which one is right for you

How to Find a Good School in San Diego

It’s easier said than done, but here’s some helpful info to get you started

San Diego Commutes to Avoid

Knowing which direction traffic is going and locating the choke points can help you decide where to live and work

The Native’s Guide to Pronouncing and Abbreviating San Diego Place Names

How to speak, name-drop, and navigate your way through San Diego

The Local's Guide to Crossing the Border

Heading south for the day? Here's how to minimize your border wait on the way back

The Sports Lover’s Guide to San Diego

Chargers who? We might not have a pro football team anymore, but you can still be a sports fan in San Diego

The College Student’s Guide to San Diego

Where to use student discounts, how to get around, where to study, and more
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More in the Newcomer's Guide:

Your 2017 Guide to San Diego's Best Craft Beer

The best new breweries, a staff taste-test, the beer pros' go-to drinks, and the stories behind beer can designs

89 Things to Do With Your Kids in San Diego

Camps, classes, and activities for San Diego’s youngest—and perhaps busiest—residents

103 Dishes to Eat in San Diego before You Die

Here's Made, our little black book of San Diego's best food

The Dog Lover's Guide to San Diego

Here are 52 ways to experience San Diego with your four-legged friend

The Ultimate San Diego Wine Guide

Move over, beer, there's a new craft in town

Secret San Diego

Here are some of the city’s most hush-hush spots, from hidden ocean caves to off-menu, must-try bites

San Diego's Top 50 Trails

From hiking the foothills to biking the beach, this is a city made for exploring outdoors. Here’s our latest, greatest checklist of trails we love—some in your own backyard
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