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  • Plate Surrender in Pennsylvania

    Registering a car?

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    The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) requires drivers to cancel and return their license plates when they move to another state, take their vehicles off the road, or choose not to transfer them to another vehicle after a sale.

    Otherwise, there are times when drivers can keep their plates.

    Moving to Pennsylvania

    You don’t need to surrender your old license plates when you move to Rhode Island. Once you register your car here, you’ll receive a new state license plate.

    Your old state might want you to cancel and return your plates, though. Scroll to the top of this page and choose your former state from the drop down menu to find out.

    Moving from PA

    PennDOT does require drivers to return their plates when they move to another state.

    The DOT makes it easy for you. Once you register your vehicle in your new state, just mail your PA plate to:

      • Bureau of Motor Vehicles
      • Return Tag Unit
      • P.O. Box 68597
      • Harrisburg, PA 17106

    Be sure to request a receipt.

    Selling a Used Car

    When you sell a used car, you can keep the tag and transfer it to another vehicle you own or are buying. As long as the vehicle is already titled in PA, an authorized PennDOT agent can complete the necessary paperwork to legally transfer the plate.

    Otherwise, return your plate to PennDOT using the address above, or in person at a PennDOT location near you.

    Buying a Used Car

    Before you drive off with your “new” used car, the former owner will remove the plates.

    Of course, you still need a tag to operate on PA roads, so you can either transfer a valid plate from a vehicle you already own (or owned), or you can apply for a new tag when you complete the title transfer and car registration processes.

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