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  • Plate Surrender in Wisconsin

    Registering a car?

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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.

    Moving to Wisconsin

    Once you move to Wisconsin, you’ll register your vehicle with the WI DMV, which means you’ll get WI license plates.

    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.

    Moving From WI

    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.

    Selling a Used Car

    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.

    Buying a Used Car

    If you buy a used car, the former owner will remove the plates and deal with them accordingly.

    All you have to do is complete the title transfer and car registration processes and either get new plates for the vehicle or transfer your old plates from another vehicle you own.

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