License Plates & Placards in Connecticut

SUMMARY: Connecticut License Plates

To apply for a license plate you must register your vehicle in person, and to renew your license plate you'll renew your registration. Registration renewal is offered online, by mail, or in person. When you get a new car, you can transfer your tags. If you no longer need the tags or move to another state, you'll have to surrender your license plates. Lost, stolen, or damaged license plates must be replaced in person.

Keep reading for more about Connecticut license plates and tags.

Are you eligible for disabled parking? Get application information and other helpful tips on our Disability Pates and Placards page.

Types of Connecticut License Plates

Vehicles in CT must display license plates issued by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Most vehicles must have 2 license plates; a plate for the front and a plate for the back. Vehicles such as motorcycles and trailers are issued a plate for the rear only.

Registration stickers have not been required on CT tags since 2010.

In addition to the standard Connecticut license plate, the CT DMV issues:

Temporary Tags

When you buy a vehicle from a dealer, you will usually get a temporary tag so that you can use your vehicle while waiting for your permanent plates to arrive.

The CT DMV may also issue you a temporary registration if you need a safety inspection or emissions test to register your vehicle.

Temporary registration is available in person at a CT DMV office. The fee is $21 per 10 days for most vehicle types.

Apply for License Plates in CT

To apply for a Connecticut license plate, you have to register your vehicle with the Connecticut DMV.

Registration is required within 60 days of moving to Connecticut.

If you buy a vehicle from a dealer, the dealership will handle your registration paperwork. If you buy from a private seller, you must register the vehicle before you drive it.

NOTE: You may have to get an emissions test or VIN verification before the vehicle can be registered.

For more information, including specific registration requirements, see our Connecticut Vehicle Registration page.

Renew Vehicle Tags

Most Connecticut vehicle tags have to be renewed every 2 years by renewing your registration.

The CT DMV offers registration renewal online, by mail, and in person.

Our Registration Renewal page has complete details, including renewal methods, fees, and other information.

Replace Missing or Damaged License Plates

If your license plate is lost, stolen, or damaged, you should replace it right away.

If your plates were stolen or intentionally damaged, you'll need to file a police report, and get a copy of that report.

To order replacement plates, go in person to a CT DMV office with:

  • A completed Marker Plate Notice (Form E-159).
  • A completed Registration Affidavit (Form B-301).
  • A copy of the police report, if the plates were stolen or damaged on purpose.
  • Your registration certificate.
  • Your Connecticut insurance card.
  • Any remaining license plates.
  • Payment:
    • $5 for:
      • Stolen or intentionally damaged plates WITH a police report.
      • Lost or accidentally damaged plates.
    • $25 for stolen or intentionally damaged plates WITHOUT a police report.

You be given a new set of license plates with a new number.

You can also request replacements for mutilated plates using the states online services. In order to process the request replacements online you'll need to have handy your:

  • Full name, birthdate and driver's license or ID number.
  • License plate number and plate type.

You can re-apply for your original plate number after 10 months. You must:

  • Get the Replacement Application for Identical Plate (Form E-45) from the CT DMV either:
    • Online.
    • By calling (800) 842-8222.
  • Submit the form and appropriate fees.

Transfer or Surrender CT Tags

Connecticut license plates belong to you, not your vehicle. When you sell, trade, or donate your vehicle, you can transfer your plates.

If you no longer need the plates or you leave the state, you'll need to surrender them.

Transfer License Plates

You can transfer license plates from one vehicle to another in your name. You'll transfer the plates when you register the car. You'll need to pay a $21 fee.

You can also transfer license plates to an immediate family member who buys your vehicle. They will need:

Surrender License Plates in CT

You must surrender your license plates and cancel your vehicle registration when:

  • You no longer own or operate your vehicle.
  • You move to another state.

To surrender your plates, you must:

  • Take your license plates to a DMV office.
  • Mail your plates AND a written request to cancel them to:
  • DMV
    Attn: Plate Return
    60 State Street
    Wethersfield, CT 06161

Be sure to get a cancellation receipt. If you move out of state, include a self-addressed stamped envelope for the Connecticut DMV to send your receipt.

Fees for Connecticut Tags

The license plate fees below DO NOT include other fees you may owe, such as title fees, service fees, and postage fees.

  • Standard plate fees (paid every 2 years):
    • Passenger vehicles: $80.
      • Includes trucks up to 8500 lbs. NOT used commercially.
    • Motorcycle: $42.
      • With sidecar: $60.
    • Trailer: $19.
  • Replacement license plates:
    • With police report: $5.
    • Without police report: $25.
  • Transfer fees:
    • Plate transfer: $21.
    • Change in ownership: $20 PLUS the transfer fee.

Personalized and Specialty Plates

Vanity Plates

Connecticut's DMV currently allows you to search only for passenger plates online. It hopes, in the future, to expand this online search to also include all other categories. In the interim you must submit a vanity plate request by mail for motorcycles, commercial vehicles, combinations, campers, and camper trailers.

  • Vanity plates are available in the following registration types: passenger, combination, commercial, motorcycle, camper, and camper trailer. The same plate number can be issued in each of the registration types.
  • You may only apply for vanity plates in the same registration type that is currently on your vehicle.
  • You may have any combination of letters and numbers 7 characters or less.
  • Make sure your vehicle is already registered and in the Connecticut DMV database.
  • Complete an Special Order Plate Application (Form M-22).
  • Send your application and fee:

Antique Plates

Your vehicle must be at least 20 years old to qualify for an Early American antique plate.

To apply for the plate, send a completed Special Order Plate Application (Form M-22) and payment for the $96 fee to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Customized Plates Unit
60 State St.
Wethersfield, CT 06161

You'll have a variety of options to personalize your plate with numbers and/or letters.

Antique vehicle owners may also opt to display the type of plate that was issued in the year the vehicle was manufactured. The original plate must be Connecticut-issued, however, and the vehicle must already have the Early American antique plates.

To apply for permission to display the plates, complete an Application to Display Year of Original Manufacture Marker Plates form. The form isn't available online, so pick one up at a DMV full-service office, or call to have one mailed to you. It's free to request permission to display the plates.

If the application is approved, be sure to keep your Early American antique plates registration current. Also, store those plates, their registration form, and your permission acceptance form inside the vehicle.

Special Plates

Connecticut has a variety of special license plates available that allow drivers to show their allegiances and help publicize their favorite charities at the same time. You can order your specialty plates online. These include the following:

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