License Plates & Placards in New Hampshire
Continue reading this page to learn more about license plates from the NH Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Applying for handicapped parking access? Learn more on our Disabled Plates and Placards page, including how and where to apply.
Most vehicles require plates displayed on both the front and back. Motorcycles and trailers only need one license plate on the back.
Your license plate will also have month and year stickers that show when your tags expire. The stickers go in the bottom corners of your plate and cannot block the plate number.
Special Plate Designs
The NH DMV issues standard license plates unless you apply for a different type of plate, such as a personalized plate or organizational plate.
If you have a qualifying disability, you can apply for a disability license plate or placard that allows parking in designated handicap spaces. Learn more from our Disability Parking Permits page.
When you buy a car, you may need a temporary tag so that you can drive your vehicle while waiting for your NH license plates from the NH DMV.
Temporary permits for newly purchased vehicles are valid for 20 days. You can get one from your vehicle dealer or in person at a NH DMV branch.
To apply for a temporary tag at the DMV, you will need:
- A bill of sale that must show:
- Your name, address, and signature (as the buyer).
- The seller’s name, address, and signature.
- The vehicle identification number (VIN).
- A description of the vehicle.
- Proof of your identity, such as a valid NH driver’s license.
- Payment for the $10 fee.
The DMV offers other temporary permits for non-residents and new residents.
To apply for license plates in New Hampshire, simply register your vehicle with the NH DMV.
Registration is required within 60 days for new residents and 20 days of buying a vehicle.
Learn more about registration requirements, fees, and other details on our Vehicle Registration page.
You must renew your license plates by renewing your registration in person at a NH DMV office. You’ll get a new expiration sticker to put on your license plate.
Our Registration Renewal page includes complete instructions.
You can replace a lost, stolen, or damaged license plates or decals in person at a New Hampshire vehicle registration office.
- The Application for Replacement Plates and/or Decals (Form RDMV125).
- Payment for fees:
- $4 per license plate.
- $1 for a decal.
- Any remaining plates IF you want to keep your license plate number.
- If your plates are stolen, you CANNOT keep your plate number.
You are not required to report loss or theft of tags to the police, but filing a report can help prevent illegal use of your tags.
You can transfer plates from one vehicle to another as long as the vehicles are registered in the same name. You CANNOT transfer your plate to the person who buys your car.
You’ll transfer the tags when you register the vehicle you’ve bought. If you buy your vehicle from a dealer, let them know that you have tags to transfer.
You may have to surrender your license plates when you:
- Move outside of the state.
- Get a different type of license plate, such as a personalized plate.
Contact the DMV at (603) 227-4000 for more information about surrendering plates.
- New standard plates: $8 plate fee PLUS state and local fees. Contact the DMV at (603) 227-4000 for your total fees.
- Renewal of standard plates: Fees vary by location. Contact the NH DMV at the number above for an estimate of your renewal fees.
- Replacement license plate: $4 per plate.
- Replacement decals: $1.
For many years New Hampshire offered the standard white with green lettering, "Live Free or Die," license plate (the state motto was coined by General John Stark, a Revolutionary War soldier).
Vanity plates have always been available and you apply for these initial plates using the Initial Plates Application online. There is an extra annual fee of $40 for vanity plates. New Hampshire offers two kinds of license plates, in addition to the regular white with green lettering:
- Conservation plates―The Moose Plate
- Veteran plates
Conservation plates have an attractive drawing of a moose while the veteran plates include an American Flag. Both plates still have the state motto, "Live Free or Die."
Before you decide on a vanity plate, you may want to perform a Plate Check to see if the numbers and letters you want are available. Vanity plates can be fun with short quipped messages. They can also help your family and friends to recognize your car when it passes them on the road.
New Hampshire defines an antique vehicle as one that's more than 25 years old and used only for parades, exhibitions, car club activities, and other public events.
Other Special Plates
The state issues special license plates for state senators and representatives. Some veterans who have been decorated with the Purple Heart are issued special recognition license plates. Commercial vehicles, special transporters also have unique license plate designations.
In addition to your regular registration fee, you'll need to pay a fee for your special license plates. Fees for plates are as follows:
- Reflectorized plate fee: $8
- Conservation plates: $30