License Plates & Placards in Pennsylvania

SUMMARY: Pennsylvania License Plates

Register your Pennsylvania motor vehicle in person to apply for a PA license plate. Before it expires, you must renew your license plate online, by mail, or in person. You can usually transfer your tags from a car you sell to one that you buy. You should replace license plates and stickers that are lost, stolen, or damaged.

Read below for information about getting your Pennsylvania license plates and tags.

Interested in special interest plates? OurTypes of Specialty Plates page has more information. Learn more about applying on our Specialty Plate Applications page.

Do you qualify for disabled parking? Find application and eligibility information on our Disability Plates and Placards page.

Types of Pennsylvania License Plates

Motor vehicles in PA must have a license plate issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) displayed on the back.

You will also be issued a validation sticker that shows when your registration expires.

The standard Pennsylvania tag has a white background with blue lettering. It has a blue stripe at the top and a yellow stripe at the bottom.

Specialty License Plates

PennDOT also issues specialty license plates, including personalized plates and organizational plates. More information about license plate options is available on our Types of PA Specialty Plates page. You'll find application information on our Applying for Specialty Plates page.

If you have a qualifying disability, you can apply for a disabled parking plate. See our Disability Placards and Plates page for complete details.

Temporary Tags

If you are buying a car and don't have a license plate to transfer, you can get a temporary tag from a PennDOT office.

Your vehicle dealer may also be able to issue a temporary tag.

Temporary tags are good for 90 days.

Apply for a License Plate

To apply for PA tags when you move to the state or buy a vehicle, you need to register that vehicle with PennDOT.

Registration is required when you buy a vehicle OR within 20 days of moving to Pennsylvania.

Our Vehicle Registration page has more information, including required documentation and registration fees.

Renew Your PA Tags

You'll need to renew your Pennsylvania tags and registration to keep your license plate valid.

PennDOT offers registration renewal:

  • Online.
  • By mail.
  • In person.

You should receive a renewal notice before your tag expires. If you don't get a notice, complete the Request for Registration (Form MV-140) to submit with your renewal fees.

For more information, see our Registration Renewal in Pennsylvania page.

Replace License Plates & Stickers

If you need a replacement Pennsylvania license plate because yours has been lost, destroyed, or stolen, you can get one by mail.

You'll need:

Mail the above items to the address on the form.

NOTE: You are NOT required to file a police report for lost or stolen tags, but you may choose to file one to help protect against illegal use of your license plate.

Transfer or Surrender PA Tags

When you sell or trade a vehicle in Pennsylvania, you can usually transfer the license plate to your new vehicle for a $2 fee, PLUS title fees and taxes.

You'll transfer the plate when you register the vehicle you've bought. DO NOT give the plate to the buyer or leave it on the vehicle.

You must surrender your license plate if you:

  • Do not transfer it.
  • Move to another state.
  • Cancel your auto insurance.
  • Otherwise no longer use the plate.

Surrender your plates:

Keep a copy of the form for your records.

Fees for License Plates in Pennsylvania

The fees below DO NOT include taxes, title fees, or service fees that you may need to pay. If you pay by check or money order you will need to make it payable to "PennDOT".

  • Standard license plate with registration, new and renewal:
    • Passenger vehicle: $36.
    • Motorcycle: $18.
  • Replacements:
    • License plate: $11 UNLESS the plate was:
      • Lost in the mail: Replacement plate is free.
      • Determined illegible by law enforcement: Replacement plate is free.
    • Sticker: $6.
  • Transfer fee: $2.

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