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  • Plate Surrender in Washington DC

    Registering a car?

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    Generally, you’ll surrender your Washington, DC plates if:

    • You’re canceling your registration and insurance.
    • You need to replace worn tags or one that’s been lost or stolen.
    • You want to change the type of license plate you use (say, you need to get a disability plate or you want a personalized tag).
    • You donate the car to charity and don’t want to transfer the tags to another vehicle.
    • You’re moving to another state.
    • You’re selling your car or buying another vehicle.

    Whenever you plan to transfer your license plates to another vehicle, though, you can hang onto them.

    Moving to DC

    The DMV doesn’t consider moving to Washington, DC as a reason for surrendering tags; your old state, however, might.

    For quick information about whether your old DMV requires you to surrender your tags once you’ve gotten your new DC license plates, just choose your old state from the drop down menu at the top of this page.

    Moving From DC

    You must surrender your tags when you leave Washington, DC.

    Generally, you can do this after you’re settled in your new state, i.e. registered your vehicle and gotten new state plates.

    Selling a Used Car

    Be sure to surrender your tags if you sell your used car, or donate it or give it away, for that matter. You don’t want to face the legal mess if anything happens involving the vehicle while your tags are still on it.

    Because you’ll no longer own the vehicle, you’ll need to transfer the title, too. This is a good time to go ahead and remove the plates and surrender them.

    Buying a Used Car

    When you buy a used car, the previous owner will remove the tags. You don’t have to worry about them. You do have to take part in the title transfer process, though, as well as register the vehicle in your name.

    How to Surrender Your DC Plates

    You can surrender or cancel your DC license plates at a DMV service location, but the DMV recommends handling it online or through the mail.

    Surrender Plates Online

    To surrender your plates online, visit the DMV’s Online Tag Cancellation.

    The Tag Cancellation page explains your cancellation receipt, handling registration refunds, and destroying or recycling your plates.

    When you cancel your plates online, you’re responsible for destroying or recycling them.

    Surrender Plates by Mail

    To surrender your tags by mail, just return them to:

      • DC DMV
      • Vehicle Registration
      • P.O. Box 90120
      • Washington, DC 20090

    You can also send them certified to:

      • DC DMV
      • Processing Center
      • 95 M St., SW
      • Washington, DC 20024

    Wait to receive your cancellation receipt before canceling your car insurance.

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