License Plates & Placards in New Jersey
Read this page to learn more about license plates from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC).
Eligible for disabled parking? Learn more on our Disability Placards and Plates page.
All motor vehicles in New Jersey are required to display license plates issued by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC).
Most vehicles must display 2 license plates: a plate on the front, and another on the back. Vehicles such as motorcycles and trailers have a rear license plate only.
NJ license plates DO NOT need expiration decals.
License Plate Designs
The standard NJ license plate is yellow and features the state outline in the center. It reads “New Jersey" at the top and “Garden State" at the bottom.
The NJ MVC also offers specialty license plates, such as personalized plates and special interest plates.
Disability parking plates are also available from the NJ MVC to those who qualify. For information, see our Disability Placards and Plates page.
Temporary License Plates
Your vehicle dealer can issue a temporary tag so that you can operate your vehicle while waiting for your NJ license plates from the MVC to arrive.
To apply for a New Jersey license plate, you must register your vehicle with the NJ MVC.
Registration is required:
- Before your current registration expires, but no more than 60 days after moving to New Jersey.
- Within 10 days of buying a vehicle in a private sale.
NOTE: When you buy a vehicle at a dealership, they will handle the registration for you.
For detailed registration requirements and instructions, see our Vehicle Registration page.
To renew your tags in New Jersey, simply renew your vehicle registration.
You should receive a renewal notice before your tags expire. Most people are eligible to renew online, by mail, or in person.
See our Registration Renewal page for more information.
If your license plates are lost, stolen, or damaged so badly they cannot be clearly read, you must replace them.
You can request:
- Replacement plates with a new number if your plates are lost or stolen.
- Duplicate plates with the same number if your plates are damaged.
Replacement License Plates
To replace lost or stolen New Jersey license plates:
- First, file a police report and keep a copy of the report.
- Next, go in person to a motor vehicle office with:
- Your current vehicle registration.
- Any license plates that you still have.
- A form of ID, such as your NJ driver's license.
- Payment for the $6 replacement fee.
While at the MVC, you will need to complete a Vehicle Registration/Plate Status Form (Form BA-1).
The NJ MVC will issue new license plates with a new number.
Duplicate License Plates
For duplicate license plates, mail the following to the New Jersey MVC:
- The Application for Remaking of an Existing License Plate (Form SPU89).
- A copy of your registration.
- A photo of your damaged plate or plates.
- A check or money order for the $11 fee.
Send your application, documents, and payment to the address on the form.
NOTE: If your tag expires within the next 60 days, renew your registration BEFORE requesting a duplicate plate.
You can transfer your tags from your old car to your new car as long as the new car is in your name.
This can be done when you register your vehicle with the New Jersey MVC. You'll pay:
- The $4.50 transfer fee.
- Any difference in registration fees between the previous and current vehicle.
You CANNOT transfer standard license plates to another person.
You must surrender your license plates if you:
- Move to another state.
- Sell your vehicle and do not transfer the license plates.
- Cancel the registration on your vehicle.
To surrender your license plates:
- Take them to your local NJ MVC office.
- Mail them to:
P.O. Box 129
Trenton, NJ 08666
Keep your surrender receipt as proof that your license plates are no longer active.
Personalized plates, also known as vanity plates, are a great way to stand out from the crowd―not to mention entertain other motorists. Within reason and good taste, you can choose a letter and number combination that individualizes your ride.
A personalized plate must have at least 3 letters and a maximum of 7 characters (letters and numbers). You may put your name or a message on your plate for a fee of $50, plus the regular registration fee.
To obtain an application for a personalized plate, visit your nearest MVC Agency or call (888) 486-3339 to have a form sent to you. Mail the completed application along with the fee to the address on the form.
Or, apply for a personalized plate online by following the instructions provided. If you lease your vehicle, you can't use this method.
Special Interest (Dedicated) Plates
The causes promoted on these plates include Animal Friendly, Conserve Wildlife, Olympic Spirit, Shore to Please, USS New Jersey Battleship, Conquer Cancer, Baymen's Heritage, Discover NJ History, Pinelands, Treasure Our Trees, Deborah Heart & Lung, Meadowlands, Organ Donor, Law Enforcement Memorial, and United We Stand. The sale of these plates funds the particular sponsor's project.
To obtain an application, visit any MVC Agency or call (888) 486-3339. You must pay a one-time $50 fee, plus $10 annually to renew (the Battleship plates cost $15 to renew). The Agriculture plate is less pricey; it costs $20 initially and there is no fee to renew it.
You can even personalize these plates with up to five characters for an initial fee of $100 (the yearly renewal fee remains the same). Personalized Agriculture plates cost a little less―$70.
Specialty Organization Plates
Certain nonprofit organizations offer special plates to their members for a small fee on top of the normal registration fee. Some service organizations, community organizations, and college alumni organizations let you commemorate your group's contributions by sporting its license plates.
To apply for these plates, contact your group's license plate coordinator; this person must approve your application. Plates cost from $15 to $50 initially, depending on the type of organization.
- Your vehicle must be at least 25 years old.
- Your vehicle can only be used for educational and exhibition purposes.
How to Apply
Call either (609) 292-6500 or (888) 486-3339 to request an application.
After completing, submit the application along with:
- Photos (front view and side view) of your vehicle.
- Copy of your title.
- Check for $44.
You may personalize the plates for an additional $94 fee.
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