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License Plates & Placards in Arizona

SUMMARY: Arizona License Plates

To apply for an Arizona license plate, you’ll register your vehicle in person at a DMV office. To renew your tags, renew your vehicle registration either online, in person, by mail, or by phone. If you sell, trade, or donate your vehicle, you may be able to transfer your AZ tags to your next vehicle. License plates and tabs must be replaced if they are damaged, stolen, or lost.

Continue reading this page to learn more about Arizona license plates.

NOTE: Eligible for disabled parking? Our Disability Plates page has complete details.

Types of Arizona License Plates

Most vehicles in Arizona are required to have a license plate, including passenger vehicles, trucks, and motorcycles.

The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) issues license plates once your register your vehicle.

Your plate must go on the back of your vehicle and have a valid expiration decal.

License Plate Designs

The standard Arizona license plate has the state name, the phrase “Grand Canyon State,” and a background of mountains and a setting sun.

The AZ MVD also issues specialty plates, such as personalized and organizational plates, usually for an additional fee.

If eligible, you may also apply for disabled parking permits, including license plates. For application and fee information, see our Disability Placards and Plates page.

Temporary Tags

When you buy a vehicle, you can get a temporary registration so you can operate the vehicle while waiting for your permanent AZ license plates.

Temporary Registration Plate

If you buy a vehicle from a licensed dealer, they can give you a Temporary Registration Plate. It will be valid until your AZ license plate arrives and allows you to operate your vehicle without restrictions.

Restricted Permit

You can get a Restricted Use 3-day Permit if you buy a vehicle privately. This permit allows you ONLY to operate the vehicle in order to register it, title it, or have it inspected.

You can obtain a restricted permit:

You’ll pay a $1 fee for the permit, plus any applicable service fees.

Apply for License Plates

Apply for an Arizona license plate by registering your car with the AZ MVD.

You must register your vehicle as soon as you move to AZ or buy a vehicle.

NOTE: If you buy from a dealership, they’ll usually handle the paperwork for you.

See our Vehicle Registration page for complete details, including document requirements and fees.

Renew Your Vehicle Tags

To ensure your AZ tags are up to date, you’ll need to renew them by renewing your vehicle registration.

You should receive a reminder to renew your tags, which you can do:

  • Online.
  • By phone.
  • By mail.
  • In person.

For renewal information and instructions, see our Registration Renewal guide.

Replace License Plates & Tabs

If your license plate or expiration tab has been lost, stolen, or damaged, you can apply for replacements from the Arizona MVD.

If your license plates were lost or stolen, you can file a police report in case your tags are illegally used; however, a police report is NOT required.

License Plate Replacements

Replacement license plates can be ordered:

  • By mail.
  • In person.

To apply by mail, send:

  • A Plate Notice (Form 48-3302).
  • Payment for the replacement fees:
    • $5 for a license plate.
      AND
    • First class postage to have your plates or stickers mailed to you.

Submit the application and fees to the address on the form.

To apply in person at an AZ MVD or tag office, you’ll need:

  • 1 document proving your identity, such as your AZ driver’s license.
  • Your license plate number or vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Payment for the $5 replacement fee.

NOTE: Third-party tag offices may charge additional service fees.

Tab Replacements

Replacement expiration tabs can be ordered:

  • Online.
  • In person.

To apply online for tabs ONLY, use the Service Arizona system. The replacement tab fee is $5 fee, and the stickers will be mailed to you.

To apply for tabs in person at an Arizona MVD or tag office, you’ll need:

  • Photo identification.
  • Payment for the $5 fee.
    • Additional service fees may be charged at some offices.

Transfer & Surrender AZ Tags

In Arizona, the license plate belongs to you, and not your car. That means that when you sell your car, you will need to:

  • Remove the license plate.
    AND
  • Complete a vehicle sold notice within 10 days, which you can do:
    • Online.
    • On the back of the title you transfer to the buyer.

You can then:

If you move outside of Arizona, you ARE NOT required to surrender your license plates or notify the AZ MVD.

You may need to surrender your license plates if you get a new type of plate or otherwise do not need your license plate any longer. For more information contact the Arizona MVD:

  • Online.
  • By phone:
    • Phoenix: (602) 255-0072.
    • Tucson: (520) 629-9808.
    • Other AZ locations: (800) 251-5866.

Fees for Arizona License Plates

The fees below DO NOT include service fees, postage fees, or fees for related services you may need to pay.

  • New standard plates: Fees vary based by vehicle. See our Vehicle Registration page for details.
  • Renewal: Fees are based on vehicle type and value. Get a list of fees from our Registration Renewal page.
  • Replacement license plates: $5.
  • Replacement tabs: $5.

Specialty License Plates

If you've already painted your automobile the color of your pet chameleon but desire further personalization, the list of special license plates available in the state of Arizona is long. You can use the markers to advertise everything from your Purple Heart to your allegiance to the University of Arizona.

Some of the plates, specifically those reserved for veterans, require that you verify your eligibility for them with the MVD, but most are available to anyone with a non-commercial vehicle.

While you can apply for many of them online, some require that you submit a Special Plate Application (Form 96-0143) via postal mail. The varying initial application and annual renewal fees often go to supporting a related cause, so most of the plates eclipse mere vanity. Some of the options are listed below.

The Antique Plate Application (Form 40-9803) allows you to utilize the original plates from your classic or historical car, assuming they are in good condition, legible, and still painted the original colors. The list of classic cars gets updated every year.

If you are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States but act as an honorary consul and represent a foreign country, you can apply for an Honorary Foreign Consul Plate by submitting the Honorary Foreign Consul Plate Application (Form 40-4310). There is no fee for the initial application or registration of the plates, but other fees may apply.

Most special plates come with various fees, many of which go to the specific causes and organizations they promote.

Personalized Plates

You can personalize your special license plates, or even your standard Arizona plates, for further individuality. The cost is $25, and you can even check your number/letter combo online to see if it's already in use.

Antique License Plates

Historic Plates

To qualify, your vehicle must have an original manufacture model date that's at least 25 years old.

It will cost you $25 for historic plates.

Classic Car Plates

To qualify, your vehicle must be on the list of classic cars filed with the Motor Vehicle Division by the Classic Car Club of America.

Forms

40-9803

Submit this form to apply for Classic Car or Historic Vehicle license plates for eligible vehicles.

40-4310

Submit this form to apply for a special license plate for honorary foreign consuls.

96-0353

Submit this form to request a refund of your unused registration fees when you sell your vehicle or no longer need your AZ license plates.

96-0143

Submit this application for specialty plates like personalized tags, disabled parking plates, and special design plates.

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