Plate Surrender in Texas
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Generally, Texas doesn’t require you to surrender your license plates unless you’re dropping car insurance on the vehicle.
Read on for more details.
The TX DMV doesn’t want your old plates, though, but your former state might require you to return them. To find out, use the drop down menu at the top of this page to find your state’s policies on license plates and placards.
Texas doesn’t require drivers to return their license plates when they move to another state, but for safety purposes, the DMV does recommend defacing the license plate number before recycling or discarding the plates.
When you sell your used car, you have two options for dealing with the license plates. You can either:
- Transfer them to another vehicle you own, or
- Return them to your TxDMV location.
If the car buyer doesn’t have plates he wants to transfer to the vehicle, he’ll receive new ones when he completes the title transfer and vehicle registration processes with the TxDMV.
When you buy a used car, the seller will keep the license plates. This means you’ll need to visit the TxDMV to complete the title transfer, register the car in your name, and obtain your own license plates (if you don’t already have plates you want to transfer).
That the seller can keep the plates doesn’t mean you can legally drive around without them. You’ll need to print a Vehicle Transit Permit to hold you over until you can get to the TxDMV. (Don’t take too long, though―the permit is only good for five days.)
Texas has certain policies in place for transferring license plates when you buy or sell a vehicle.
The TxDMV will walk you through the process, but keep these points in mind:
- You can’t transfer plates that are seven years old or older. You must get new plates.
- You can only transfer plates between “like” vehicles. For example, from a car to another car, or a truck to another truck. You can transfer motorcycle plates to another motorcycle, too.
- You can transfer plates among leased vehicles.
- You must provide proof you own the plates before you can transfer them. Do this with a registration receipt that shows both your name and the license plate number. Otherwise, place a motor vehicle inquiry with the county.
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