Apply for a Business License
Important! Vehicle safety systems licenses will replace brake and lamp licenses soon pursuant to AB 471 (Low, Chapter 372, Statutes of 2021). Join our email list to receive important implementation announcements in your inbox.
A business must be registered by BAR as an automotive repair dealer (ARD) to repair and/or diagnose malfunctions of motor vehicles for compensation. An ARD holds a registration and can hold separate station licenses for the Smog Check Program and brake and lamp inspection programs. A licensed Smog Check station also may apply for a STAR program certification.
|Automotive Repair Dealer||A business registered by BAR who, for compensation, repairs and/or diagnoses malfunctions of motor vehicles.|
|Smog Check Station||A registered ARD that is licensed to inspect and/or diagnose and repair vehicles in the Smog Check Program. There are three Smog Check station types, including test-and-repair, test-only, and repair-only.|
|STAR Station||A licensed Smog Check test-and-repair station or test-only station that meets performance standards established in regulation to inspect all vehicles, including of state’s highest polluters (directed vehicles), in the Smog Check Program. A STAR station that is a licensed Smog Check test-and-repair station also may provide Consumer Assistance Program repair assistance services.|
|Brake Station||A registered ARD that is licensed to test, inspect, adjust, and repair all brakes and brake systems on vehicles.|
|Lamp Station||A registered ARD that is licensed to test, inspect, adjust, and repair all lamps and related electrical systems on vehicles.|
Resources for Members of the United States Armed Forces and Their Families
Application and licensure resources are available to members of the United States Armed Forces and their spouses or domestic partners. To learn more, visit Resources for Members of the United States Armed Forces and Their Families.
Expedited Licensure Process for Refugees, Asylees, and Holders of SIVs
Refugees, asylees, and holders of special immigrant visas (SIV) may seek an expedited licensure process as required by Business and Professions Code section 135.4. Learn more
Potential License Denial
BAR is committed to reducing barriers to licensure and ensuring qualified applicants are granted a license. An applicant may be denied a license in certain circumstances as required by California law. However, circumstances such as a criminal conviction or prior formal discipline do not automatically preclude an applicant from licensure with BAR. BAR evaluates each applicant on a case-by-case basis and considers criteria to determine if the license should be granted.
For more information, visit Criminal Convictions, Formal Discipline, and Potential License Denial.
- Signs and Mobile Repairs
- Laws and Regulations
- Write It Right
- Accepted Trade Standards
- Ignition Interlock Device Services
- Smog Check Manual
How to Apply
Do I need to be registered with BAR?
Businesses or individuals that receive compensation for repairing, altering, or diagnosing malfunctions of motor vehicles must be registered as an automotive repair dealer with BAR.
An automotive repair dealer registration is not required for the following:
A business that services only vehicles other than passenger vehicles.
A fleet owner that repairs only fleet vehicles.
A machine shop that meets all of the following:
- The primary business is the wholesale supply of new or rebuilt automotive parts.
- The business solely engages in the remanufacturing of individual automotive parts without compensation for warranty adjustments.
- The business does not engage in repairing or diagnosing malfunctions of motor vehicles or motorcycles.
How do I apply for an automotive repair dealer registration?
To apply for an automotive repair dealer registration, submit a completed automotive repair dealer application and the applicable fee.
Note: Businesses applying for a station license(s) must also apply for an automotive repair dealer registration.
What type of station license(s) may be added to an existing or new automotive repair dealer registration?
- Smog Check station license
- Lamp station license
- Brake station license
How do I apply for a station license?
To apply for a station license, an existing automotive repair dealer or automotive repair dealer applicant must submit the appropriate station application(s) and fee(s).
What happens after I submit my application?
BAR will review the application to verify all required information is complete and the fee is paid.
If the application is complete, BAR will notify you within 14 days of receipt of the application that it is approved and, if applicable, schedule an onsite station inspection. During the inspection, BAR will verify the station has the required equipment, tools, signs, manuals, licensed technician(s), and approved work area. For information on Smog Check station requirements, see the Smog Check Manual. A station license cannot be issued until the station passes the inspection.
If the application is deficient or denied, BAR will notify you within 14 days of receipt the application. BAR cannot process a deficient application until all required information and fees are provided.
After the application has been approved and the license issued, you can conveniently print your license online.
Limited Liability Companies
Who do I contact to obtain the permits required on the automotive repair dealer application?
To obtain a permit, contact the appropriate agency below:
|Domestic or Foreign LLC Number||California Secretary of State
|Seller Permit Number||California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
|Federal Employer Identification Number||Internal Revenue Service
|Local Jurisdiction Requirements/Permits/Licenses||California Environmental Protection Agency/CalGOLD
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 automotive repair dealer 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, licensees must notify BAR within 14 days of adding or deleting a member.
- If your LLC operating agreement permits a change of members, see Change of Business Name, Address, or Corporate Officers or Directors.
- If your LLC operating agreement does not permit a change of members, you must submit a new automotive repair dealer application and station application(s), if applicable, with the applicable fee(s). For more information, see Change of Ownership.