License Plates & Placards in Tennessee

SUMMARY: Tennessee License Plates

Apply for license plates by registering your vehicle in person at your county clerk's office. Renew your tags by renewing your registration online, by mail, or in person. When you get a new vehicle, you can transfer your TN plates. You must replace your plates and decals if they are lost, stolen, or damaged.

Keep reading to find out more about license plates and tags from the Tennessee Department of Revenue (DOR) Vehicle Services Division.

Looking for personalized or vanity plates? Learn more about types of specialty plates in TN or how to apply for specialty plates.

Are you eligible for disability parking? Get application information and other helpful details on our Disabled Plates and Placards page.

Types of Tennessee License Plates

Vehicles in TN must have a license plate on the rear and have the following decals attached to it:

  • Your county of registration at the bottom.
  • The month your plate expires in the upper left corner.
  • The expiration year in the upper right corner.

In addition to the standard license plate design, the TN DOR offers several specialty plates, including personalized plates and organizational plates.

Check out our pages on types of specialty plates and special plates application for more information.

The TN DOR also issues disabled parking plates for those with a qualifying disability.

Temporary Tags

When you buy a vehicle, you can get temporary tags from:

  • Your vehicle dealer.
  • The TN DOR.

A vehicle dealer can issue Dealer Drive-out Tags, which allow you to operate your vehicle for up to 30 days while waiting for your Tennessee license plate. The fee is $5.50.

The TN DOR may give you a Temporary Operation Permit if you have a problem with your vehicle title. Learn more about these permits on the TN DOR website.

Apply for License Plates

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

You're required to register your vehicle at your county clerk's office when you move to TN or get a new vehicle.

For complete details, including fees and required documents, see our vehicle registration page.

Renew Tennessee Vehicle Tags

You must renew your tags by renewing your vehicle registration before your license plate expires.

The TN DOR offers registration renewal:

  • Online.
  • By mail.
    OR
  • In person.

After you pay your renewal fees, you'll get a new expiration decal to put over the old one.

See our page on registration renewal for more information.

Replace Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Plates

If your Tennessee license plate or decal has been lost, stolen, or damaged, you can apply for replacements from your TN county clerk's office.

You MUST report lost or stolen tags to local law enforcement.

To get replacement license plates or decals, you will need:

Contact your Tennessee county clerk's office for county fees and submission instructions.

Transfer or Surrender TN Plates

If you no longer have your vehicle, you can either transfer or surrender your license plates to the Tennessee DOR.

Transfer

You CAN transfer your plates from a car you sold or traded to another car you've just bought. You CANNOT transfer your license plates to another person.

To transfer your tags, take your current registration along with the other documents required to register your car to your TN county clerk's office.

You will have to pay:

NOTE: You may also be responsible for additional title fees, taxes, and service fees.

Surrender

You must surrender your license plates if:

  • You're no longer eligible for a special plate, such as a disability parking plate.
  • You’d like to swap a personalized plate with a standard plate.

Surrender your plate at your TN county clerk's office along with payment for any county service fees.

Forms

RV-F1315301
Application for Duplicate/Replacement License Plate or Decal
Apply for a duplicate/replacement Tennessee license plate OR decal.
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