License Plates & Placards in New Jersey
Apply for New Jersey license plates when you register your car, and renew your tags by renewing your registration before it expires. If you already have NJ plates, you may be able to transfer your tags from one vehicle to another. You can also replace your plates if they're lost or stolen.
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.
Types of New Jersey License Plates
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.
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.
Applying for License Plates
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.
Renew New Jersey Tags
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.
Replacement & Duplicate Plates
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 SP89).
- 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.
Transfer or Surrender Vehicle Tags
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.
Depending on your situation, you MAY be eligible for a registration refund after turning in your license plates. Scenarios include:
- Entering military service (plate return NOT required).
- Selling a vehicle.
- Returning plates that were never used/attached to a vehicle.
- Other case-by-case allowances (such as moving out of state).
Among other requirements that are situation-dependent, you will need to complete and return a Refund Application (Form RU-9).
Visit the MVC's guide to registration refunds to identify your specific circumstances and learn how to proceed.
Fees for New Jersey License Plates