Plate Surrender in Wisconsin
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Wisconsin drivers almost never need to surrender their license plates!
However, there are a few situations (say, moving or selling a vehicle) in which they need to do something with those things.
Wisconsin doesn’t want your old license plates, but your former state might require you surrender them. To find out, choose your former state from the drop down menu at the top of this page.
Leaving Wisconsin? The WI DMV still doesn’t want anything to do with your plates, even when you move to another state!
So, once you register your vehicle with your new state, you can either destroy your WI plates or ask your new state about license plate recycling programs.
NOTE: After your vehicle has new plates, you can complete a License Plates Cancellation Application to let the WI DMV know you have either destroyed the plates or decided to keep them, and the DMV will cancel the plates.
When you sell your used car (or donate or give it away), you have options for dealing with your license plates:
- Destroy them. You can cut them up then throw them away. Don’t return them to the DMV.
- Transfer them to another vehicle you own of the same type (i.e. another passenger vehicle).
After you complete the title transfer process and the new owner goes to register the vehicle in his name, he’ll receive new plates.
Accidentally Forget the Plates?
If you let the new owner drive away with your license plates, don’t worry. Just complete the License Plates Cancellation Application, checking the “Left on Vehicle” box. The WI DMV will cancel the plates for you.
If you buy a used car, the former owner will remove the plates and deal with them accordingly.