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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.

    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 plates, organizational plates, and military honor plates.

    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.

    Personalized and Antique Plates

    In addition to standard license plates, you can order personalized and antique tags for your vehicle. 

    Personalized Plates

    To order a personalized license plate, follow the special ordering instructions and forms located under the plate you choose.

    Send the completed form and fees to:

    • Department of Transportation
    • Division of Motor Vehicles
    • P.O. Box 17120
    • Charleston, WV 25317

    However, before you order your license plate, make sure you understand the following terms and conditions and meet the requirements:

    • Before you can receive a personalized plate, your vehicle must be titled and have a regular Class A plate. Only Class A vehicles will be issued personalized plates.
    • You must use the supplied order form and you must send the appropriate fees when you order your personalized license plate. If you fail to send the fees, your personalized license plate request will be reserved for 30 days.
    • A personalized plate will be issued only if the request is available, not obscene or offensive, and doesn't conflict with a regular series number.
    • If your request is approved, you must submit your old license plate to the DMV within 10 days of receiving your new plate.
    • You can transfer your personalized plate to another vehicle if the vehicle is in the original registrant's name. You may transfer it to your spouse, as well. Fees are $5 for transfer and $.50 for insurance.
    • You can reserve your personalized plate every year as long as you pay the required fees. (Fees due annually at the time of renewal include the $15 scenic or standard graphic fee and the $30 wildlife reservation fee.)
    • Motorcycle plates only allow 6 characters and cannot have scenic graphics.

    NASCAR

    If you're a NASCAR fan, good news. You can purchase officially licensed NASCAR and NASCAR driver plates.

    For collector plates, check out the available plates and prices and download the mail-in form (see above for mailing address).

    For plates to be displayed on vehicles, send the necessary forms and fees to the above Department of Transportation mailing address.

    Antique Plates

    West Virginia has the following types of plates available specifically for older vehicles.

    Antique plates are for vehicles that are at least 25 years old. The vehicle must primarily be used for antique exhibitions, parades, and related activities.

    Classic plates are also for vehicles that are at least 25 years old. There are no usage restrictions with classic plates.

    Visit a DMV office to apply for either type of plate. Bring your title, proof of insurance, and personal property tax receipt.

    Classic plates cost $45 per year. Antique plates carry an annual $30 fee.

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