Motorists must promptly apply for a Delaware DMV license plate after purchasing a new or used vehicle. As a general rule, car owners apply for new registration plates upon registering their vehicles in the state. Furthermore, drivers must complete these procedures in person at any of the four Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) facilities.

In addition to applying for car registration plates, drivers must renew existing car tags before they expire, or replace them if they sustain damages or disappear from the vehicle. To learn more about how to get a license plate, as well as how to replace or transfer them under the appropriate circumstances, review the sections below.

Types of License Plates in Delaware

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles offers several different types of car tags for vehicle owners to choose from when applying to get a license plate. Some of the most common DE DMV car tags include standard plates, handicap plates, organizational plates, vanity plates, temporary travel permits and special license plates, such as animal welfare or environmental tags. Furthermore, every DMV license plate must contain a validation sticker.

How to Apply for a License Plate in Delaware

Within 30 days of purchasing a vehicle, you must apply to get car registration plates from the Delaware DMV. In general, this procedure is done along with the registration of a vehicle in the state. When applying for new registration plates, you must visit a DMV facility to complete the process in person. In many cases, you cannot get new license plates until your vehicle passes an inspection. Additionally, you must submit a valid driver license, the vehicle’s title and proof of liability insurance. On the other hand, if you purchase the vehicle from a dealership, the dealer will apply for new plates and register the vehicle on your behalf.

Under state law, drivers must surrender their DE car registration tags to the DMV if they move outside of the state. To do so, vehicle owners must return their plates to the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles and include a statement notifying the department that the vehicle is registered in a different state. Then, motorists must mail the statement and license plates to the appropriate DMV mailing address.

How to Renew License Plate Tags in Delaware

To avoid penalty fees, drivers must renew a license plate in Delaware before the vehicle’s annual registration expires. As a reminder of this yearly procedure, the DE DMV sends motorists a notice to complete the car registration renewal process by phone or email prior to the vehicle’s expiration date. This renewal notice specifies whether a vehicle needs to undergo an inspection prior to its renewal. Overall, renewing a license plate can be done as early as 90 days prior to the vehicle’s date of registration expiration.

If a car owner does not need to complete an inspection before a license plate renewal, he or she may renew a registration by mail or in person at a DMV branch. However, if the applicant needs to undergo an inspection prior to renewing his or her plate, this procedure must be conducted in person, at a DMV facility, where the inspection can be performed prior to the car tag renewal.

In any case, when renewing a car tag, vehicle owners must provide the DMV with a valid driver’s license, current vehicle registration certificate, auto insurance card and a payment method for the renewal fees. All four DMV facilities offer drive-through renewal services for drivers paying with cash, debit or credit card.

If you are wondering how to renew a license plate while out-of-state or when further than 250 miles from a DMV location, be mindful that you must contact the DMV in order to obtain an inspection packet that is tailored for out-of-state applicants. After drivers meet all of the emissions test and vehicle inspection requirements set by the state of Delaware, they may renew their vehicle’s license plate by mail.

How to Replace License Plates in Delaware

You must replace your license plate as soon as possible if it is stolen or misplaced, as well as in the case that your tag or validation sticker becomes damaged.

If your car registration tags are stolen, you must file a police report with local law enforcement prior to requesting a replacement. Then, when replacing license plate credentials, you must visit a DMV office in order to request a duplicate license plate and/or validation sticker. Moreover, you will be required to pay the applicable replacement fee. Furthermore, you will have the option of ordering the same license plate number or requesting a new plate number. However, if you wish to obtain a new license plate number, you must submit proof of auto insurance and your vehicle’s certificate of title.

Note: As you wait for your replacement car tag to arrive, the DMV will provide you with a temporary license plate.

How to Transfer License Plates in Delaware

Instead of applying for new registration plates after acquiring a new or used vehicle, drivers may transfer their current license plate to their recently purchased car. In order to transfer DE car registration tags from your previous vehicle to your current one, you must visit a DMV office and submit the title certificates and insurance cards pertaining to both cars. In addition, you must notate each vehicle’s odometer reading and sign and print your name as the buyer.

When you transfer Delaware DMV car tags from one vehicle to another, you must pay title fees, registration fees and service fees. However, transfer fees vary depending on the specific transaction.

Delaware License Plate Fees

In order to purchase new car tags in Delaware, vehicle owners must pay a license plate fee in addition to the regular vehicle registration fees. Overall, the cost of car registration plates, renewals and replacements will vary according to the specific type of tag that you are requesting. Many specialty plates cost $50. Standard plates are issued when you register your vehicle, so the registration fees include the license plate.

Furthermore, DE DMV car tag and other registration-related fees for recreational vehicles, trailers, commercial vehicles or farm trucks will vary according to the type and weight of each vehicle.

License Plate Lookups in Delaware

Before purchasing a new or used vehicle or obtaining Delaware car tags, drivers can perform an online license plate lookup to verify information about the vehicle’s history, previous owners (if any) and important safety or recall information. Additionally, a DMV license plate lookup can provide drivers with information about the vehicle’s manufacturer, engine type and more.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.