License Plates & Placards in Nebraska

SUMMARY: Nebraska License Plates

Cars, trucks, and other vehicles driven on public roads in Nebraska must be registered and have valid license plates. To apply for license plates, you must register your vehicle. A sticker on your license plate will show that it's valid. To renew the sticker on your plates, you need to renew your registration. In Nebraska, you are allowed to transfer tags to your next vehicle. You should replace your plates right away if your tags are lost, stolen, or damaged.

Keep reading for information about license plates in Nebraska.

NOTE: Applying for a disabled parking plate? See our page about Disability Plates and Placards for details.

Types of Nebraska License Plates

All motor vehicles in the state of Nebraska must display license plates issued by the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Vehicles such as cars, trucks, and vans must have 2 license plates—one on the front and one on the rear of the vehicle. Other vehicles, like motorcycles, trailers mini-trucks, and special vehicles only need 1 license plate displayed on the back.

A registration expiration sticker must be displayed on the rear plate. The sticker cannot block any part of your license plate number.

Non-Standard License Plates

The NE DMV offers personalized plates and a range with special backgrounds.

If you have a disability, you may be eligible for a disabled parking. Visit our Disability Placards and Plates in Nebraska page for information.

Temporary Tags

The NE DMV will issue you a temporary permit if you buy a car in Nebraska but are not a resident of the state. This permit is valid for 30 days from the day you buy the vehicle and ONLY allows you to take the vehicle back to your home state for registration.

You can apply for the temporary permit in person at a county treasurer office. You will need:

  • The vehicle title OR Manufacturer's Statement of Origin, which must:
    • Be assigned to you.
    • Show your out-of-state home address.
  • Payment for the $20.10 fee.

If you are a NE resident and buy a car from a dealer, ask them about temporary tags.

As a NE resident, if you buy a car in a private sale, you must register it within 30 days of buying it.

Apply for License Plates in Nebraska

To apply for Nebraska license plates, you just need to register your vehicle with the NE DMV.

When you move to Nebraska, you have 30 days to register your vehicle. When you buy a vehicle, you have 30 days from the date of sale to register it.

Visit our Vehicle Registration page for complete details.

Renew Your NE License Plates

Before your license plate sticker expires, you must renew your sticker by renewing your registration.

The Nebraska DMV offers several ways to renew, including online renewal.

For more information, see our NE Registration Renewal page.

Replacing Plates or Tags

To replace lost, stolen, or damaged license plates or validation stickers, contact your local county treasurer’s office or the Nebraska DMV at (402) 471-3918.

You may need to complete paperwork to explain what happened to your plates or stickers.

You will also need to pay replacement fees:

  • $3.30 per license plate.
  • County service fees or transaction fees.

Contact your local county treasurer for replacement decal fees.

Transfer or Surrender NE Tags

Nebraska license plates are transferrable in some cases. In other situations, you may be required to surrender your plates and other registration documents to the DMV.

Transfer License Plates

When you purchase a new vehicle, you can transfer your old license plates to that car IF the car will be registered in your name, your spouse's name, or your domestic partner's name.

To transfer your license plate, you will indicate that you have plates to transfer when you register your new vehicle.

To get credit for the unused part of your registration fees and taxes for your old car, you must also complete the Application for Refund within 60 days of selling or trading your previous vehicle.

While waiting for your plates, be sure to carry the title certificate, bill of sale, or other proof of ownership with you in case you are stopped by the police.

Surrender License Plates

When you move to another state, you MUST surrender your:

  • License plates.
  • License plate decals.
  • Registration certificate.

To surrender them, mail them to your county treasurer’s office.

Fees for Nebraska License Plates

Nebraska license plates will cost you $3.30 each.

The license plate fee is usually only part of your total registration fees. Depending on the transaction, you may also have to pay:

  • Registration fees.
  • Vehicle taxes.
  • Service or transaction fees.

Contact your local county treasurer’s office for specific fee information.

Look Up a License Plate Number

The Nebraska DMV offers an available license plate number search as part of their online vanity plate ordering system. To use the system:

  • Choose your vehicle type and plate style.
  • Enter your letter/number combination to see if it is available.

NOTE: Available numbers still have to be approved by the DMV before being issued.

You CANNOT search for vehicle or owner information by license plate number. However, you can:

  • Report a vehicle violation to the police, who will run the plate and contact the owner.
  • Order a vehicle history report using the vehicle identification number (VIN).

Specialty License Plates

Message Plates

Many Nebraska residents wish to express their individuality with personalized message license plates. If you're interested in applying for message plates, please consider the following:

  • All messages must be approved by the Nebraska DMV. Applications for messages that are offensive or in poor taste will be denied.
  • If your plates are for a car or truck, your message can contain a maximum of 7 characters. If your plates are for a motorcycle, your message can contain a maximum of 6 characters.
  • Only alpha and numeric characters are allowed in personalized message license plates. No punctuation marks will be accepted.

To see if the message you want is available, visit the Specialty Plate Search feature on the DMV's website.

To apply for a message plate, complete the application and send it (along with the required fees) to the address on the form.

Once your application is approved, you'll be notified by the DMV with information on which office to pick up the plates in. Allow up to 4 weeks for the plates to arrive.

Antique (Historical) License Plates

Your vehicle qualifies for historical plates if it is at least 30 years old and displays minimal modifications.

Vintage Plates

Vintage plates, derivatives of historical plates, correspond to the vehicle's model year. If you choose to apply for a vintage plate instead of a historical plate, only 1 license plate is required to be displayed on the rear of your vehicle. If you submit a vintage plate for approval, it must be restored to it's original color and condition as the year it was created. Enclose the plate, the fee and a large self addressed envelope for the plate return, with your application.


  • You cannot apply if you don't have at least one other vehicle registered in Nebraska.
  • Your vehicle can only be used for parades, test drives and hobby-related activities. It cannot be used for regular daily transportation.

How to Apply

  • Complete the aptly named Application for Historical License Plates.
  • Provide either an old registration or proof of sales tax payment.
  • Provide proof of insurance. Photocopies will not be accepted. You must show the original insurance card.
  • If your vehicle is currently registered, you must submit the license plate(s) and registration.
  • Pay appropriate fees.

One-Time Fees

  • 1st historical vehicle: $70.60.
  • 1st historical motorcycle: $67.30.
  • 1st vintage vehicle: $89.
  • 1st vintage motorcycle: $89.
The fees for a 2nd historical or vintage vehicle are $10 less then the fees above.

Questions? Call (402) 471-3918.

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