Transfer of Plates (Click here for Canada)

United States

Alabama

When motor vehicle is sold or otherwise disposed of, license plate must be removed and may be transferred to a newly acquired vehicle of same class if transfer fees and other regular fees and taxes due on vehicle are paid.

Alaska

License plates remain with the car upon transfer, unless they are specialty plates.

Arizona

The owner of a vehicle shall retain the vehicle’s license plates when the owner transfers the vehicle to another person.

ADOT may assign the plates to a new vehicle of the owner if the new vehicle is of the same type and the owner pays the appropriate transfer fees.

If the vehicle is not of the same type, the owner must surrender the plates to the department or submit an affidavit of license plate destruction.

An owner who transfers, submits, or destroys plates is entitled to a credit for the unexpired portion of the fees and taxes paid.

Arkansas

An owner may transfer plates from 1 vehicle to another for a fee of $10.

California

Transfer of specialized plates to another vehicle is permitted provided proper transfer fees are included.

Regular plates remain with vehicle upon transfer or sale.

Colorado

If vehicle is bought or sold there is no transfer of plates between the 2 different owners.

Tags may be transferred between vehicles of the same owner, after paying a $1 transfer fee and submitting the appropriate paperwork.

Connecticut

All plates remain the property of the state and shall be returned to the commissioner’s office within 10 days of the sale of the vehicle.

Delaware

The license plate remains with the car upon transfer of title if new owner is a Delaware resident. If vehicle is sold to a new owner outside the state of Delaware, the plate must be returned to the DMV.

District of Columbia

A transferor must remove the license plates from the vehicle at the time of transfer, and has 5 days to return them to the DMV.

A registrant who wishes to transfer license plates from 1 vehicle to another must apply for a transfer within 5 days of acquiring the new vehicle.

License plates may not be transferred from 1 owner to another.

Personalized plates may be transferred for a fee, but only to a surviving spouse, from a joint ownership of a vehicle to a sole ownership, and from a sole ownership to a joint ownership.

Florida

The registration license plate and certificate of registration shall be issued to, and remain in the name of, the owner of the vehicle registered and may be transferred by the owner from the vehicle for which the registration license plate was issued to any vehicle which the owner may acquire within the same classification.

Upon a sale, trade, transfer, or other disposition of a motor vehicle, the owner shall remove the registration license plate and either return it to the FLHSMV or transfer it to a replacement motor vehicle.

Georgia

If a person ceases to own the vehicle for which an annual or 5-year license plate and revalidation decals were issued, the owner may apply to have the plates assigned to a new vehicle of the same class as the original vehicle.

The transferee of a motor vehicle may not use the license plate and renewal decal assigned to that vehicle unless the transferor also assigns the plate and decal to the transferee.

When the registered owner of a jointly owned vehicle is deceased, the license plate issued for the vehicle may be transferred to the surviving owner’s name, provided that the surviving owner acquires a new certificate of title.

The local tag agent can transfer or assign renewal decals and license plates for all license plates which they maintain in inventory. All other transfers must be mailed directly to the IAU of the DOR.

All tags and renewal decals are transferable to a new owner except dealer tags, amateur radio operator tags, handicapped veteran tags, National Guard tags, disabled veterans tags, citizens’ band radio tags, special prestige tags, foreign consuls’ tags, commanders of patriotic organizations tags, legislative tags, and other special tags.

Hawaii

An owner of a vehicle may request, and the director has discretion to permit, the transfer of license plates from an old vehicle to a new vehicle acquired by the owner.

Idaho

License plates remain the property of the original owner and may be placed on another vehicle upon registration of that vehicle. They do not remain with the vehicle, with the exception of the restricted vehicle plate for off road vehicles and certain trailer plates.

Illinois

Registration expires on transfer by owner and no refunds on registration fees are allowed.

The transferor must remove plates and stickers and either forward them to the Secretary of State or have them assigned to another vehicle upon payment of fees.

When any person who has been issued vanity or personalized license plates sells, trades, or otherwise releases the ownership of the vehicle, he or she shall immediately report the transfer of such plates to an acquired motor vehicle and pay the transfer fee or shall, upon the request of the Secretary, immediately return such plates to the Secretary of State.

Indiana

Unexpired license plates can be transferred when a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, recreational vehicle, or motor home that is currently registered in Indiana is transferred to another person as long as the vehicle from which the license plate is transferred is the same type of vehicle, and the vehicle has not been operated in Indiana for more than 31 days after the date of acquisition of the vehicle. The person that is registering the new vehicle must prove ownership by having either the manufacturer’s certificate of origin, the assigned certificate of title, or a notarized bill of sale.

Iowa

When the owner of a registered vehicle transfers or assigns ownership of the vehicle to another person, the owner must remove the plates from the vehicle. The owner must then either forward the plates to the county treasurer where the vehicle is registered or have the plates assigned to another vehicle within 30 days after transfer, upon payment of the required fees.

Kansas

The transferor of a vehicle may pay a fee to transfer the plate to another vehicle registered to himself.

The owner of a registration plate has 60 days to transfer it from an old to a new vehicle.

Upon transfer of ownership of any vehicle, the right to use any license plate shall expire immediately and the plate shall be removed by the transferor.

Kentucky

When a previously registered motor vehicle changes ownership, the registration plate shall remain on the vehicle.  A registration plate shall not remain on the vehicle but shall be retained by the seller and may be transferred to another vehicle owned or leased by the seller. If the plate transfer occurs in the final month in which the existing registration is still valid, the individual shall be required to renew the registration on the newly acquired vehicle.

Upon the sale or transfer of a vehicle bearing a personalized plate, the owner must remove the plate and return it, along with the certificate of registration, to the county clerk. The personalized plate may be re-issued by the county clerk to a vehicle of the same classification and category owned by the same person.

Louisiana

All regular license plates must be removed and destroyed before the vehicle is transferred to another person. When the license plate has been destroyed, the owner of the vehicle must notify the Department that the license plate has been destroyed and provide the Department with the destroyed license plate number.

The requirements for determining what special license plates can transfer with a car vary depending on the type of special plate.

Michigan

The registration plate may be transferred to another vehicle upon proper application and payment of a transfer fee.

A person cannot transfer the plates to a vehicle without applying for a proper certificate of registration describing the vehicle to which the plates are being transferred.

Upon transfer of title, the registration plates issued for the vehicle must be removed, destroyed, or retained and preserved by the owner for transfer to another vehicle upon application and payment of the required fees.

Minnesota

When a motor vehicle is transferred to another person, the plates stay with the vehicle unless they are personalized (e.g. personalized, critical habitat, veterans, etc.), in which case they stay with the owner.

The license plate must be surrendered to the Department within 10 days of the transfer.

When the Department has suspended a license plate because the transferee has failed to file the title certificate within 30 days, the transferee must pay a $10 fee before the registration is reinstated.

Mississippi

Upon sale or transfer of a vehicle, the seller shall remove and retain the license plate.

Missouri

When the owner of a motor vehicle moves to another state, he or she must return the license plates to the DVSB within 90 days, or upon the expiration of the period of reciprocity granted by the new state of residence.

If the owner of a vehicle ceases to operate a vehicle within the state, the plates must be returned to the DVSB within 90 days.

License plates may be transferred from a motor vehicle which will no longer be operated in the state to a newly purchased motor vehicle.

Upon the transfer of ownership of a vehicle, the license plates must be removed and the right to use the plates expires. However, the original owner may register another motor vehicle of the same category under the same number, provided the appropriate fee is paid.

If the transferor of a vehicle cannot register another vehicle under the same number because the vehicle is of a different category, the owner may surrender the plates and receive credit for any unused portion of the original registration fee.

Maine

License plates expire when the owner of a vehicle transfers the vehicle title.

The registrant may request that plates and the registration number be assigned to another vehicle in that registrant’s name.

Maryland

Registration plates expire upon transfer of ownership unless the former owner gives written permission to the transferee to use the plates. In such a case, the transferee may use the plates for 10 days prior to returning them to the MVA.

The former owner of a vehicle may transfer the registration plates from the sold vehicle to his new vehicle of the same class.

Massachusetts

The owner of a motor vehicle who transfers the ownership or who terminates the registration shall remove from the vehicle any visible evidence furnished to him by the RMV.

Montana

The registration of a motor vehicle expires upon transfer, and it is the duty of the transferor immediately to remove the license plates from the vehicle.

Number plates issued to a passenger vehicle, truck, trailer, motorcycle, or quadricycle may be transferred only to a replacement passenger vehicle, truck, trailer, motorcycle, or quadricycle.

The application for transfer of the license plates from the motor vehicle for which the plates were originally issued to a motor vehicle acquired by the same owner must be made within 20 days of acquiring the new vehicle. License plates may be transferred without transferring ownership of the first vehicle, but upon transfer of the plates, the registration of the first vehicle expires, and the certificate of registration for the first vehicle must be surrendered to the county treasurer with the application for transfer.

Nebraska

The owner of a vehicle bearing personalized message license plates may make an application to the county treasurer to have such plates transferred to a motor vehicle other than the vehicle for which such plates were originally purchased if such vehicle is owned by the owner of the plates.

Nevada

The holder of the original registration may transfer license plates to a new vehicle, provided that the vehicle is eligible for that class of license plates and the vehicle registration has been transferred to the new vehicle.

New Hampshire

The new owner of a vehicle may be issued the same registration number as previously given to the vehicle if the owner applies to the DMV or municipal agent for registration and submits a written statement indicating the release of the plates to the new owner regardless of the plate type.

The owner of a vehicle may transfer the registration number between vehicles if the owner registers the new vehicle and is the primary owner on the registration.

New Jersey

License plates may be transferred to another vehicle owned by the same person.

New Mexico

The owner must remove the registration plate from the vehicle within 30 days from the date of the transfer and forward the registration plates to the MVD to be destroyed, or the owner may apply to have the plate and registration number assigned to another vehicle upon payment of all applicable fees. All foreign plates must be delivered to the MVD.

New York

When a vehicle is sold, the owner must remove the license plates from the vehicle.

The owner, however, may register another vehicle and use the plates previously issued to him for another vehicle, after registering the new vehicle and paying the applicable transfer of tags fee.

Special number plates assigned to a vehicle may, in the discretion of the DMV be transferred to any person 1 year after the expiration date of the registration, or to any person within 1 year after the expiration date of the registration with the permission of the prior registrant or his estate.

Disabled license plates available upon application to the DMV. Doctor’s statement attesting to disability must accompany application.

North Carolina

License plates shall be retained by the owner following the transfer of a vehicle. They may be assigned to another vehicle in the same vehicle class belonging to the owner, upon proper application to the DMV and payment of a transfer fee and any additional fees that may be due because the new vehicle has a greater registration fee. Owner may use the plates on the other vehicle for no more than 20 days while in the process of completing the transfer.

The vehicle for which the plate is being transferred to must have a current inspection before the plate can be transferred.

If the new vehicle is of a different vehicle class, the owner shall return the plates to the DMV.

North Dakota

License plates must be retained by the owner and may be transferred to a replacement motor vehicle.

Ohio

Upon the transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle, the registration of the motor vehicle expires and the original owner immediately shall remove the license plates from the motor vehicle, except that if the original owner or surviving spouse of the owner of a motor vehicle that has been transferred makes application for the registration of another motor vehicle at any time during the remainder of the registration period for which the transferred motor vehicle was registered, the owner may file an application for transfer of the registration and, where applicable, the license plates. This application must be made within 30 days of the transfer.

Oklahoma

The holder of a license plate may transfer that plate to a new vehicle.

The vehicle owner, after transferring the plate from 1 vehicle to the next, must also obtain a replacement plate for the 1st vehicle by payment of an additional fee. If the new vehicle was previously registered, the owner shall return the plate from the new vehicle and place the replacement plate on the old vehicle.

A registration listing the tag as being transferred will be issued, along with a new decal showing the expiration of the registration, following the payment of all required fees.

Oregon

In some circumstances, plates may be transferred to another vehicle upon completion of an application for transfer of plates and payment of the appropriate fee.

Pennsylvania

Registration and license plates can be transferred to another vehicle owned or leased by the registrant, or to a vehicle owned or leased by the spouse, parent, or child of the registrant.

If the transfer is within the same vehicle type, the transferee can keep the previously issued registration and license plate, unless lost, stolen, or destroyed.

If the transfer is not within the same vehicle type, the transferee must return the license plate to the Department.

In order to transfer the license plate, the transferee must apply for a temporary vehicle registration card and a transfer of registration.

Rhode Island

Plates, along with registration, may be transferred to a new vehicle as long as the name on the registration remains the same.  After the transfer is done, the number of days the plates can be used prior to registration is as follows:

  • In-State Dealer: 20 calendar days from date on bill of sale
  • Out-of-State Dealer: 72 hours from date on bill of sale
  • Private Party: 48 hours from date on bill of sale

If plates are not transferred to another vheicle after selling a vehicle the plates must be forwarded to the Division.

 

South Carolina

Whenever the owner of a registered and licensed vehicle transfers his or her ownership, he or she must immediately notify the Department in writing, giving the name and address of the new owner and the date of transfer. The license plate issued for the vehicle must remain with the prior owner. Within 30 days of the transfer, the prior owner must either apply to transfer the plates to another vehicle or return the plates to the Department. In either event, the registration card must be concurrently returned to the Department.

The Department, upon application and payment of a fee, must transfer the license plate previously assigned to an owner or lessee for 1 vehicle to another vehicle of the same general type owned or leased by the same person.

If the transferred plate is within three months of expiring, the plate should be renewed before transferring.

South Dakota

Upon sale or transfer of a vehicle the plates shall remain with the owner and may be transferred to another like vehicle, upon approval by the Department.

Tennessee

Whenever the owner of a vehicle transfers the vehicle, the registration expires and the plates must be removed from the vehicle.

The transferor of a vehicle may apply for reassignment of the plates to another vehicle owned by the transferor.

If the transferor of a vehicle applies for registration reassignment to a new vehicle of a different weight or classification which requires payment of a higher fee, the applicant must surrender both the certificate of registration and the plate or plates to the county clerk.

Texas

License plates may not be transferred to another owner.

Utah

If the owner of a registered vehicle transfers his title or interest to the vehicle, the vehicle registration expires. The owner shall remove the license plates from the transferred vehicle. Within 20 days from the date of transfer the owner shall forward the plates to the DMV to be destroyed or may have the plates and the registration number assigned to another vehicle.

Vermont

Upon the transfer of ownership of a vehicle, the registration number plates may be attached to another vehicle that is being leased or purchased by the registrant for a period greater than 30 days.

Upon the termination of a lease of a vehicle, the registration number plates may be attached to another vehicle that is owned, being leased, or being purchased by the lessee. Full registration fees are due.

Virginia

An owner who sells or transfers a registered motor vehicle may have the license plates and the registration number transferred to another vehicle titled in the owner’s name.

An application for transfer of plates must be made to the DMV accompanied by a fee or, if the other vehicle requires a greater registration fee than that for which the license plates were assigned, on the payment of a fee plus the amount of the difference in registration fees between the 2 vehicles.

Washington

The owner of a vehicle licensed with standard issue license plates has the option of retaining the vehicle license plates and using them on a replacement vehicle and paying a $10 license plate transfer fee. Retained license plates must be transferred to a vehicle requiring the same type of plate.

When any person who has been issued personalized license plates sells, trades, or otherwise releases ownership of the vehicle upon which the personalized license plates have been displayed, he or she must immediately report the transfer of the plates to a new vehicle or camper eligible for the plates, or he or she must surrender such plates to the DOL and release his or her rights to the letters or numbers displayed on the plates.

A person may not purchase a vehicle bearing foreign license plates without removing and destroying the plates unless the out-of-state vehicle is sold to a Washington resident by a resident of a jurisdiction where the license plates follow the owner. The buyer may also return the plates to the jurisdiction of issuance.

West Virginia

If the owner of a vehicle has made an application within 60 days from the date of purchase of a vehicle to have the registration plate transferred to another vehicle owned by him or her, then he or she may operate the vehicle for a period of 60 days while application is pending.

Upon the transfer of a vehicle, the original owner must retain the plates and notify the DMV of the transfer and deliver the certificate of registration. The DMV shall issue a new registration certificate that indicates the use for the plates. The owner may then use the plate on another vehicle as indicated by the registration certificate.

The registered owner of a vehicle may surrender its plate to the DMV along with the registration card and receive pro-rated fees for a different vehicle of a different class.

Wisconsin

If a vehicle being transferred is a motorcycle, a motor home, a motor truck, or a dual purpose motor home or dual purpose farm truck with a GVW of not more than 8,000 lbs., the owner must remove the license plate and keep it for use on another vehicle. If the vehicle being transferred is any other type of vehicle, the plate remains with the vehicle.

Wyoming

Unless otherwise provided, upon transfer of ownership of a vehicle the registration of the vehicle expires and the original owner must immediately remove the license plates from the vehicle. Within 30 days (45 days for transfer executed by auctioneer) after acquiring another vehicle, the original owner may apply to transfer the license registration number to the new vehicle. The owner must pay the fees based on the amount that would be due on the new vehicle less any credit for the unused portion of the original registration fees.

If a vehicle held in joint ownership between 2 or more joint owners is transferred to 1 or more of the owners, or by a person to the person’s spouse, child, brother, sister, or parent, the same license plates may be kept on the vehicle. The transferee must file an application and pay the proper fee to the county treasurer.

Upon application and payment of the proper fee, license plates may also be transferred from leased vehicle to a replacement leased vehicle and from a vehicle when sold by the owner to a replacement leased vehicle.

Puerto Rico

Plates issued to individual for vehicle may be used in the future when another vehicle is acquired.


Canada

Alberta

During the registration year for which license plates are issued, the person may apply to the Registrar to use the plates on another vehicle registered in the same person’s name. Persons may display plates on a newly acquired vehicle for up to a maximum of 14 days from the date on the ownership document(s), e.g. bill of sale. After the 14 days, the client must transfer the license plate/registration to the new vehicle or apply for a new license plate/registration.

When the ownership of a registered vehicle passes by act of the owner or by operation of law, the new owner must return the license plates to the Registrar if the previous registered owner does not remove the license plates.

When a vehicle is registered to a lessor and lessee, the license plates should be in the lessee’s possession.

When a dealer takes possession of a motor vehicle to sell it on behalf of the owner, the owner must remove the license plates and retain or cancel them.

British Columbia

License plates remain with the original registrant when a vehicle is sold. The new owner must register the vehicle within 10 days by submitting a transfer form (APV9T) signed by the previous owner along with the previous registration, and pay provincial sales tax and applicable transfer fee. License plates no longer in use may be disposed of, returned to ICBC for recycling and a refund of the unexpired portion of the licensing fee, or attached to a replacement vehicle if the transfer is registered with ICBC within 10 days of the plates being attached to the replacement vehicle.

Manitoba

When the interest of a vehicle passes from the registered owner to another person by an act of the owner or by operation of law, the registration of the vehicle expires immediately and the registered owner shall return the number plate or plates to the registrar. The registrar may retain them or allow the person who was the registered owner to retain them.

The registered owner of a vehicle may within 7 days of the passing of the interest in a vehicle or the expiration of the registration of the vehicle, whichever is shorter, apply to the registrar to use the number plate or plates issued for the vehicle on another vehicle that the person has newly acquired and intends to register.

When the interest of a vehicle passes by reason of death, the registration does not expire until the period specified in the vehicle registration. If an application is made before the vehicle expires, the spouse of the registered owner, if the ownership passes to the spouse or the personal representative of the owner, may obtain a transfer of registration and the appropriate number plate or plates.

New Brunswick

License plates may not be transferred.

Newfoundland and Labrador

When a vehicle is sold or transferred, the license plates are transferred with the car to the new owner.

A valid license plate is in force as long as the Registrar determines that it should be in force.

Northwest Territories

If a person sells or otherwise transfers a motor vehicle, the person named in the certificate of registration for the motor vehicle may transfer the license plate with a validation sticker to another vehicle that he or she owns.

When a person transfers a license plate to another vehicle owned by that person, the person must advise the RLSD of numbers or letters on the license plate attached to the vehicle and obtain a new certificate of registration for the vehicle within 14 days of the transfer.

Nova Scotia

When a vehicle is sold or transferred, the seller must remove the vehicle license plates. The plates may be put on a new vehicle; however, if not placed on a new vehicle, they must be returned to the Department.

Nunavut

Where the ownership of a motor vehicle is transferred, otherwise than on the death of the owner or, if the owner is a corporation, on the dissolution of the corporation, the person named in the certificate of registration for the motor vehicle may transfer the license plate with a validation sticker affixed from the vehicle that is no longer owned by the person to another motor vehicle that he or she owns.

Ontario

Vehicle plates stay with the owner, not with the vehicle. If an owner does not intend to use the plates issued to him or her on a replacement vehicle, the owner must return the plates to a Driver and Vehicle License Issuing Office.

Prince Edward Island

When a vehicle is transferred, the seller must detach and keep the license plate. The plate may be used on another vehicle registered in his or her name. When a person purchases a vehicle, he or she can attach any valid license plate issued to him or her and may operate the vehicle with this plate for a period of up to 7 days pending the registration of the transfer of ownership of the vehicle.

Quebec

Where the right of ownership of a road vehicle is transferred between parties neither of whom is a dealer, the transferor or seller must endorse the registration certificate and return the registration certificate to the SAAQ. The new owner must apply for a new registration.

Where road vehicles are exchanged between parties neither of whom is a dealer, each owner must return to the SAAQ the endorsed registration certificate issued for his or her vehicle and apply for a new registration.

Where the right of ownership of a road vehicle is transferred to a dealer, the transferor must remit the registration certificate of the vehicle to the dealer after endorsing it. If the transferor is not purchasing a new vehicle, then he may keep the plate for further use. If the transferor is purchasing a new vehicle, the transferor can use the license plate and apply for a new registration certificate.

The lessee of a road vehicle leased for a term of 1 year or more must, at the end of the lease, return the registration certificate of the leased vehicle to the SAAQ.

A person who becomes the owner of a road vehicle as a result of a death, a gift, a partition, a winding-up, a bankruptcy, a repossession, the complete transfer of a business, or a judicial sale must return the registration certificate to the SAAQ and must apply for a new registration for the vehicle.

Saskatchewan

A person who intends to transfer license plates, from 1 vehicle to another without changing the name in which the Certificate of Registration is issued, must provide the Department with the applicable documentation (proof of ownership and inspection certificate) and pay the appropriate fee. The applicant will receive an updated Certificate of Registration displaying the new vehicle information and can then physically move the plates from the previous vehicle to the new vehicle.

Yukon

When the ownership of a registered vehicle passes from the registered owner to any other person, whether by an act of the owner or by operation of law, the registered owner of the vehicle must remove the license plates from the vehicle and retain them in his or her possession. If the registered owner fails to remove the license plates, the new owner must remove the plates and return them to the CTS. At any time during the registration year for which license plates are issued, the person to whom they are issued may apply to the CTS to use the plates on another vehicle registered in his or her name, and if the application is made within 14 days after acquiring ownership of the other vehicle, that person may display the plates on the newly acquired vehicle during that 14-day period.

The registered owner of a trailer may transfer a trailer license plate from 1 to another of his or her own trailers upon completion of the forms supplied by the CTS and payment of a transfer fee, but trailer license plates must not be transferred from 1 owner to another.

A trailer license plate or temporary operation permit must be placed at the rear of the trailer, in such a position that the lower edge of the plate or permit is not lower than the rear axle of the trailer.