License Plates & Placards in Massachusetts

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SUMMARY: Massachusetts License Plates

Register your car in person in to apply for your MA license plates. You can renew your tags online, by phone, by mail, or in person. In many cases, you can transfer your license plates from one vehicle to another. If your plates are lost, stolen, or damaged, you must order replacement tags.

Keep reading for helpful information about license plates and decals in Massachusetts.

Looking for vanity plates? See our Types of Specialty Plates and Specialty Plate Applications pages for more details.

Need disabled parking? Our Disability Plates and Placards page has complete information.

Types of Massachusetts License Plates

All MA motor vehicles must have license plates issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).

Most vehicles must display 2 license plates; one the back and another on the front of the vehicle. Vehicles such as motorcycles and trailers only need a rear plate.

Your license plate must have a decal showing when it expires.

The decals cannot block the license plate number.

License Plate Designs

The standard MA license plate is white and has “Massachusetts" at the top and “The Spirit of America" at the bottom.

The MA RMV also issues specialty plates, including personalized plates, usually for an additional fee. For more information about the various plates available, see our Types of Specialty Plates page. For application details, see Applying for Specialty Plates in Massachusetts.

If you are eligible for disabled parking, you can apply for a disability license plate. Our Disability Plates and Placards page has complete details.

Apply for License Plates

You can apply for Massachusetts license plates by registering your vehicle with the MA RMV.

If you are new to MA, you must register your vehicle within 30 days.

The MA RMV will require certain documentation to register your car, including proof of car insurance.

For more information, see our Vehicle Registration page.

Renew Your MA License Plates

You can renew your plates by renewing your vehicle registration:

  • Online.
  • By phone.
  • By mail.
  • In person.

You should get a renewal reminder in the mail before you registration expires.

After renewing, you'll get a new sticker to put over the old expiration sticker on your license plate.

See our Registration Renewals in Massachusetts page for complete details.

Replace Damaged & Missing Tags

If you've lost, stolen, or damaged your license plates, order a replacement in person or by phone. You must apply in person if both of your plates have been lost or stolen. It can take up to 12 weeks for your license plate to be mailed to the address the RMV has on file. 

In Person 

To apply for replacement license plates at a MA RMV branch office you will need to bring:

  • A completed form RMV-3.
    • Required if both license plates were lost or stolen.
    • Must be signed and stamped by your insurance agent.
  • Your vehicle registration number.
  • The vehicle owner's information.
  • $10 payment for the replacement license plate.

By Phone

You can replace your plate by calling (800) 858-3926. You will need:

  • The vehicle registration number.
  • Vehicle information.
  • Vehicle owner's information.
  • Credit or debit card for the $10 replacement plate fee.

You DO NOT have to file a police report, but doing so can be helpful if your lost plates are misused.

If your decal is lost, stolen, or damaged, contact the Massachusetts RMV at (800) 858-3926 for replacement information.

Transfer or Surrender Vehicle Tags

The Massachusetts RMV allows you to transfer plates from your old car to your new car as long as:

The transfer fee is $25, plus any other relevant fees and taxes.

You must surrender your plates to the MA RMV if you move to another state. To surrender your plates you can:

If there is more than one owner of the vehicle, or if you are canceling the registration on behalf of the vehicle owner, you will need a completed Affidavit of Cancellation of Registration (Form T20028) plus identification.

*NOTE: When canceling in person, you are NOT required to return your license plates to the RMV.

Registration Refunds

You may be eligible for a vehicle registration refund from the Massachusetts RMV under the following conditions:

  • If your registration is canceled within 10 days of its effective date, you may receive the full amount.
  • If you cancel before the 1st day of the 7th month of your registration, you may receive half of the amount in excess of $15.

To apply for a refund, complete the Rebate/Refund Application (Form T20045) and mail it to the address listed on the form.

Fees for Massachusetts License Plates

The fees below DO NOT include taxes, title fees, or other fees you may be responsible for when you register your vehicle.

  • New standard plates and renewal:
    • Passenger vehicle: $60.
    • Motorcycle: $20.
  • Replacement license plates: $10 per plate.
  • Transfer fee: $25.

Forms

T20045
Rebate/Refund Application
Use this form to request a refund/rebate on registration fees if you canceled your vehicle's registration within the time limits set by the MA RMV.
RMV-3
Vehicle Renewal/Amend/Other
Use this form to change your MA vehicle registration regarding auto insurance, plate transfers, and personal information, OR to renew your registration if you don't have a renewal notice from the RMV.
T20028
Affidavit for Cancellation of Registration for Lost Plate
Submit this form to cancel the MA registration on a vehicle with two owners OR to cancel the registration on behalf of another owner.

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