Many people get attached to their license plate numbers. It is like having the same phone number for years. After a while, you find it very difficult to change it.
The good news is that you can keep your license plate and transfer it from one car to another.
Why Are Car Documents Important?
It is vital to keep your car documents up-to-date and in order. Although the administration is always a hassle, you really don’t want to have incomplete paperwork for your car.
Any kind of trading becomes a nightmare if one of the documents is missing. So, keep your insurance certificate, car registration, and title secured and updated. The best thing is to store them in the glove compartment and have them at hand all the time.
It would also be safe to have a copy of everything in case of theft. If you have all the necessary documentation things like license plates transfer are much simpler and quicker.
Buying or selling a car does involve some paperwork. It would be wise to get to know the procedure, so you don’t miss any steps. Having proper and updated documentation is important because it makes future trading much easier and faster.
License Plate Number
Your license plate number is the same as your vehicle registration number. Unlike your VIN, this number can change. If you buy a new car, move to a different state, or the plates get stolen, you will get a new license plate.
However, if you opted for customized plates and would like to keep them, that is also possible. Personalized plates are different from regular ones because you can choose your own sequence of digits and letters. You can even put symbols on them.
Most jurisdictions allow such plates as long as they don’t contain anything offensive. The possibilities are endless, so your license plate number can become your signature sign. If you haven’t had personalized plates yet, you can check some interesting products here.
The procedure is not difficult though it comes at an extra cost. However, the rules may vary from state to state, so you would have to consult local authorities to find out what you must do.
There are two types of personalized plates, specialty and vanity plates. With specialty plates, you still get the sequence of numbers and letters, but you can choose a design that is different from the regular. In some cases, the additional fees go to certain charities, that is if you decide to put their logo on the plates.
Vanity plates are a bit more expensive. However, aside from being able to pick the symbols or characters, you can even go for specific words. You should be aware, though that there is a “blue book” that contains the list of words or symbols that are considered offensive. If you opt for something from this list, your request may be denied.
Also, if someone reports your plates as offensive, they may be revoked even after issuing. For further details on the matters concerning plates, you can read this article.
How to Transfer the Plates to Another Car
So, if you have your customized plates and you are not willing to part with them, you can keep them easily. The same goes for regular plates because they are probably added to all your forms and documents.
There are two ways to do this, depending on your current situation and preferences:
- At the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- At the dealership
Whichever option you choose, be aware that you can transfer the plates only if the vehicle type is the same. In other words, you cannot do it from a car to a motorbike. Also, there is a fee that you will have to pay in both places.
At the DMV
You may need some patience when visiting the DMV office because they are infamous for their long lines. Also, make sure you bring all the necessary documentation. If the DMV already has your details, you may not need it, but it’s better to have it with you just in case.
So, you will need:
- Proof of current registration for the old car
- Proof of ownership (i.e. Certificate of Title) for the new car
- Form of payment for the applicable fee
The clerk will check the paperwork and transfer the license plate number for you. When it comes to physical replacement, the DMV may not be offering this service. You can get someone to do it for you, or you can have some DIY fun. But sometimes physical replacement it is not that easy, especially when you have to remove rusted screws from your license plate.
At the Dealership
Another option is to make the transfer at the dealership. However, always make sure that you are visiting an authorized dealer. You will need all the aforementioned documents to complete the process.
Usually, there are no lines, so the whole procedure may be quicker. Also, they probably have a person at hand who will be able to conduct the physical transfer for you. If the regulation requires a registration sticker, make sure you put it on the right lower corner of your license plates.
You should keep a couple of things in mind. First, the exact procedure is different depending on the state. You may need to double-check what to do to avoid making several trips for the same issue.
Second, the fees are also not the same across the US, so make sure you check them before making the payments. Though the figures shouldn’t vary significantly, each state keeps the right to administer different amounts.
As you can see, keeping your old plates is not too complicated. With the internet, you can do most of the things online, so the procedure is not too time-consuming.
However, if you are moving abroad, you may not be able to use your current license plates. In this case, you will have to consult local officials to understand what rules apply in that jurisdiction.