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License Plates & Placards in West Virginia

SUMMARY: West Virginia License Plates

Register your car to obtain license plates in West Virginia. Your license plate will have an expiration sticker, which you'll renew by renewing your vehicle registration. License plates are mandatory, so you must replace your tags if they're missing or cannot be read. If you get a new vehicle, you can usually transfer your tags so that you keep the same plate number.

Keep reading for details about license plates and tags in West Virginia.

Applying for disability license plates? Get complete details on our Disability Placards and Plates page.

Looking for vanity plates? You'll find more information on our Types of Special Plates page.

Types of WV License Plates

In West Virginia, you must have a license plate on the rear of your vehicle.

The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues license plates when vehicles are registered for the first time.

The standard plate is white with navy blue numbers and must have an expiration sticker showing that the plate is valid.

Tag Designs

In addition to the standard tag, the WV DMV issues several types of special license plates, such as personalized, organizational, and military honor plates.

You'll find complete details about these options on our Types of Special WV Plates page.

There are also disabled parking plates available to those who qualify. For more information, including how to apply, see our Disabled Plates and Placards page.

Temporary Tags

When you buy a car from a dealer in West Virginia, they can print a temporary tag for you to use until your WV license plate is available.

Temporary tags are not available for vehicles bought in private sales.

Apply for License Plates

Applying for license plates in West Virginia is part of the vehicle registration process.

When you move to West Virginia, you must register your vehicle with the WV DMV within 30 days of becoming a resident.

When you buy a vehicle, you or your vehicle dealer must submit the registration and title paperwork to the DMV.

See our Vehicle Registration page for more information.

Renew West Virginia Tags

Tags must be renewed to remain valid. To renew your tags, you'll renew your WV vehicle registration.

Registration renewal is available by mail or in person at a WV DMV regional office.

After you renew your tags, you'll get a new expiration decal to put over the old one on your plate.

Learn more about how to renew your tags on our Registration Renewal page.

Replace Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Tags

You'll need a replacement license plate or registration decal if your plates are lost, stolen, or damaged.

If your plate is lost or stolen, you CANNOT keep the same tag number.

You can order replacement plates or decals:

  • Online.
  • In person.

NOTE: If your license plate has aged and cannot be read, you can request a free replacement when you renew your registration.

Online

You can request replacement plates or decals online at the WV DMV Online Services website.

You'll need to pay the following replacement fees:

  • License plate: $5.50.
  • Decal: $5.

In Person

To order replacements in person, you will need:

Submit your order in person at a West Virginia DMV office.

NOTE: If you are unable to appear in person or order online, contact the WV DMV at (800) 642-9066 for assistance.

Transfer/Surrender Vehicle Plates

In West Virginia, you can transfer your license plate to a new vehicle.

You'll transfer the plates when you register your new vehicle for the first time. If you're purchasing new from a dealer, be sure to let your vehicle dealer know if you have license plates to transfer.

NOTE: The WV DMV suggests that you renew your registration if the plates you're transferring will expire within 60 days.

You MAY have to surrender your tags to the WV DMV:

  • When you move to a new state.
  • When you apply for a different type of plate, such as a personalized plate.
  • If you cancel your car insurance.

Contact the West Virginia DMV at (800) 642-9066 for plate surrender requirements.

Fees for License Plates

The license plate fees below DO NOT include other fees that you may also have to pay, such as title fees, taxes, and service fees.

  • New standard plates: $30 PLUS taxes and other applicable fees.
  • Renewal of standard plates: $30 for 1 year.
  • Replacements:
    • $5.50 for a license plate.
    • $5 for a decal.

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