Can I Use My Old License Plate On My New Car? [ Here’s The Answer ]

It is the most common question in the minds of new car owners, and it might seem bizarre to some as every new car comes with a new license plate.

So what’s the point in using the old one?

However, this isn’t the case every time, to be frank. Let’s understand whether one can use the existing license plate on a new car.

Can I Use My Old License Plate On My New Car?

Yes, you can use your old license plate on your new car. While some people feel otherwise, it’s good to stay with your current number.

There are many advantages of doing the same.

For example, if your old license plate were personalized and expensive, you wouldn’t like to repeat the same for the new plate when you can transfer that plate to the new car.

Also, you must have entered your current license plate number in multiple forms. Hence, it’s not good to go through the same process again for the new plate.

However, note that you must meet two essential conditions to transfer your existing number to the new car.

The first condition is to register both the old car and the new car to your name.

If your current car is on lease or you’re renting out a new car, the license plate transfer isn’t applicable in both these cases.

The second thing to remember here is that the number must be registered to your name and not the car.

If the latter is the case, that license number belongs to the car, and you can’t transfer to another.

In a nutshell, it’s legal to transfer or use your old license plate number on your new car, provided you fulfill the mandatory conditions mentioned above.

If you are eligible, below is a step-by-step procedure for the whole process.

How do I transfer my number plate to another car?

Transferring your existing number plate is much cheaper and convenient than canceling it and registering for a new one by undergoing the same hectic process.

For this, here are the two methods with their respective steps you need to follow.

1: Transfer your number plate via the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office

In this method, follow the following steps.

Gather all the essential information and documents. These include the documents of both the cars.

You will require to submit proof of the active registration of the car you wish to transfer the license plate from and the title certificate of the new car you wish to transfer the number plate too.

However, if the DMV office possesses all this information, you need not carry the above documents at the time of transferring.

Since the above process involves a small fee, make sure to carry some bucks for hassle-free and quick work.

Once you’ve gathered all the documents mentioned above, take them to the DMV office and their officer will transfer the number plate and install it on your new car.

You can also get the number plate installed from outside after successfully transferring it.

2: Transfer your plate through the dealer

If not the DMV office, you can also ask an authorized dealer to transfer the number plate. For this, follow the below steps.

Head to any authorized dealer with all the necessary documentation and your new car. The official will gather the required information and get the number plate transferred.

Both the above methods are super quick, convenient, and cost-effective. You can get your license plate transferred from the old car to the new beast in a single visit.


Does your state allow a transfer?

To know whether your state allows transferring your old license plate to your new car, go through the below list.

Alabama

You can transfer your old license plate to the new vehicle by paying a minimum transfer fee of $1.25.

Alaska

Here, standard license plates are non-transferable. You can, however, opt to transfer specialized or personalized license plates by paying a minimum fee of $5.

Arizona

You can transfer the number plate within 30 days or leave it with the local DMV office, where they’d destroy or discard it.

Arkansas

You can transfer the plate to the new vehicle within 30 days at just $1. However, you will have to pay extra if the new vehicle is from a higher weight category.

California

The standard number plates are non-transferable. However, you can transfer personalized plates.

Colorado

You need to submit certain documents to transfer your old license plate to a new vehicle at just $1.

Connecticut

You need to either return the old plate to the DMV office or transfer it to your new vehicle.

Delaware

If you’re a resident of Delaware, you can acquire the license plate; otherwise, not. You need to bring the title to the Delaware office and pay $35 as a retaining fee.

District of Columbia

You need to either return the old plate to the DOC office or transfer it to your new vehicle.

Florida

If you’re not using the current license plate, you must surrender it to the DMV office, or it will result in the suspension of your driving license. You can also transfer it to your new vehicle.

Georgia

If your new car belongs to the same category as before, you can pay a fee of $5 to transfer the plate to the new car.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, you can’t transfer the number plate if the director of Hawaii DOT has declined your request for the same.

Idaho

You can remove the license plate from the old car and transfer it to the new vehicle from the same weight category.

Illinois

You can transfer the license plate to the new vehicle by submitting a $25 or $150 transfer fee with the title.

Indiana

You can transfer the old number plate to the new car.

Iowa

If not needed, return the number plate to the County Treasurer’s Office or transfer it to the new car.

Kansas

Transfer the old number plate to the new one within 60 days from the date of purchase.

Kentucky

Either return the plate to the County Clerk’s Office or reissue and transfer it to the new vehicle at just $3.

Louisiana

Only the plates of trucks and trailers are transferable.

Maine

You need to remove the plates or transfer them to the new vehicle in the same year when you cancel the old registration.

Maryland

If your address is the same and the new car is of the same class, you can transfer the license plate.

Massachusetts

You can transfer the number plates within seven days of selling the old car.

Michigan

You can transfer the license plates by paying a fee of $8 or submit them to the Michigan Secretary of State if not needed.

Minnesota

You can only transfer custom or personalized plates to the new vehicle within ten days after selling the old vehicle.

Missouri

If the new car is of the same class, you may transfer the license plates or destroy or discard them if not needed.

Montana

You can transfer the number plates within 20 days from the date of purchase of the new car.

Nebraska

You can return the existing number plate for the new registration for the new vehicle.

Nevada

Either submit the number plates to the office or transfer them to the new car within 30 days. For custom plates, the deadline is 60 days.

New Hampshire

Provide your proof of citizenship and ownership details of the new car to transfer the number plate.

New Jersey

You can transfer the number plates or return them if not needed.

New Mexico

You have to submit the number plates within 30 days or submit an application to assign them to the new vehicle.

New York

Either return the new number plate or transfer it to your new vehicle.

North Carolina

Either return the new number plate to the North Carolina DMV or transfer it to your new vehicle of the same class.

North Dakota

Either return the new number plate to the North Dakota Department of Transportation or transfer it to the new vehicle.

Ohio

You can transfer the number plates or return them to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles if not needed.

Oklahoma

You can transfer the license plates to the new vehicle or surrender them to the OTC tag agent.

Oregon

If you don’t need the license plates, return them to the Oregon Department of Transportation or transfer them to the new vehicle.

Pennsylvania

You can transfer the number plates or return them if you don’t need them.

Rhode Island

Either transfer the number plates to the new car or surrender them to the Rhode Island DMV.

South Carolina

Pay a transfer fee of $10 besides additional title fees to transfer the number plates to the new vehicle within 30 days from the date of sale.

South Dakota

You must register the car at the County Treasurer’s Office before the plates expire, as following the expiration of the plates, you can’t transfer them or renew.

Tennessee

You can transfer the number plates to the new car through a minimum fee of $1 or return them if you don’t wish to use them again.

Texas

Either transfer the number plates to the new vehicle for free or surrender them if you don’t need them to the local Texas tax assessor.

Utah

Return the plates to the Utah DMV if not needed or transfer them to the new vehicle.

Vermont

You can either transfer the plates to the new car or surrender them to the Vermont DMV.

Virginia

You must submit the old plates to the DMV office if not in use or transfer them to the new car.

Washington

If you have registered the new vehicle in Washington, you can transfer the old plate to it or return it to the Washington State Department of Licensing.

West Virginia

You can transfer the old number plate to the new vehicle through the West Virginia DMV or return to the same if not needed.

Wisconsin

You can transfer the old number plate to the new vehicle via the Wisconsin DOT. If the vehicle’s weight is over 10,000 lbs., you don’t need to return the number plate.

Wyoming

You can either transfer the number plate to the new vehicle or return it if not required to the Wyoming Park County Treasurer.

Can I keep my license plate when I sell my car?

You can keep the license plate after selling your car in some states, while others may not allow the same.

Conclusion

Registering for a new number plate is not a good option for transferring your existing number plate instead.

There are tons of advantages of the same as discussed above.

However, remember to check for the transfer process through your state’s DMV or DOT.

Categories faq