License Plates & Placards in Kentucky
You must register your car in person to apply for Kentucky license plates, and renew your registration to renew your tags. When you get a new car, you may be able to transfer your tags from your previous car. If you plates get lost, stolen, or damaged, you'll need to order replacement license plates.
You'll find more information about Kentucky license plates and tags below.
Looking for specialty license plates? Our page about Specialty Plate Types has everything you need to know.
Applying for a disabled tag? See our Disability Placards and Plates guide for details.
Types of Kentucky License Plates
Kentucky vehicles must have a license plate issued by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KTC).
Your license plate must have a sticker identifying the month and year the registration expires.
Standard car tags have a blue background featuring the state name and outline at the top. You can also choose a plate that has the phrase “In God We Trust."
In addition to standard license plates, the KTC offers several types of specialty plates, including personalized tags and organizational plates.
For examples of available plates and details on applying, see our KY Specialty License Plate guide.
The KTC also issues disability parking plates. For more information, see our Disability Plates and Placards page.
If you buy a vehicle at a dealership, your vehicle may have temporary tags for you to use while waiting for your Kentucky license plate.
Temporary tags are valid for 30 days. If you still don't have your KY license plate when the temporary tag expires, contact your dealer for another one.
Apply for License Plates
To apply for a Kentucky license plate, you'll need to register your vehicle at your county clerk's office.
You must register a vehicle in Kentucky within 15 days of becoming a resident or purchasing a vehicle.
You'll find complete details on our KY Vehicle Registration page.
Renew Your KY Tags
Before your license plates expire, you must renew them by renewing your vehicle registration.
You can renew your registration online, by mail, or in person. After you renew, you'll get a new expiration sticker to place on your license plate.
More information, including renewal requirements and fees, can be found on our Registration Renewal page.
Replace License Plates & Decals
If your Kentucky license plate or expiration decal is lost, stolen, or damaged, you can get replacements from the KTC.
To request replacements, you must submit:
- The Affidavit for Replacement or Non-Exchange (Form TC96-167).
- Must be notarized.
- Payment for the relevant fee.
- License plate: $21.
- Decal: Contact your county clerk.
Submit your application in person at your Kentucky county clerk's office, or contact the office for other ways to apply.
NOTE: You DO NOT have to report lost or stolen license plates to the police, but filing a report can help prevent misuse of your plates.
Transfer & Surrender Kentucky Tags
Kentucky license plates stay with you, not your vehicle.
In many cases, you can transfer your plates to another vehicle. However, sometimes you are required to surrender your plates.
You may transfer plates to another vehicle as long as:
- The vehicles are:
- Registered in the same name.
- In the same registration class.
- Registered in the same name.
- You complete the transfer while the registration is valid.
You must surrender your license plates and registration receipt IF you:
- Sell your vehicle to an out-of-state buyer.
- Move to another state.
You may also be required to surrender your KY tags when you get a new type of license plate or cancel your vehicle registration.
You can surrender your license plates to your KY county clerk:
- In person.
- By mail.
Fees for KY License Plates
The fees below are for standard license plates only and DO NOT include taxes, title fees, or service fees that you may also have to pay for.
- New standard plates: $21.
- Renewals: $21.
- Replacements: varies by county.
For replacement decals, transfers, other license plate fees, contact your Kentucky county clerk's office.