1. Get Started With License Plate Assistance Online

In most states, you cannot apply for or replace a license plate online. Instead, most states require you to request a new or duplicate license plate in person at a DMV office. However, certain states or counties may allow you to complete these transactions online. In any case, you must apply for a new license plate within a few days of your vehicle’s date of purchase. To do so, you must provide a certificate of title, odometer disclosure, smog certification (if applicable) and bill of sale (if needed). Then, you must pay any applicable DMV service fees. To prepare for this procedure and save time, download our informative online guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know about standard and custom license plates. In it, you will also learn about requesting, renewing and replacing a car registration.

2. By Mail

In most states, you cannot apply for a license plate by mail. However, many states allow you to replace or surrender a license plate by sending the required materials through the mail. When replacing a plate, you will be required to send a completed application form containing personal details and vehicle specifications to the appropriate DMV mailing address. If you wish to surrender an existing license plate after selling your vehicle, you may do so by mailing the plate to the correct DMV branch in your state. Due to mailing and processing times, be mindful that the mail-in method may subject you to certain delays.

3. In Person at a DMV Office

You will most likely need to visit a DMV office in person to apply for a license plate in your state. During your visit, you will be asked to provide proof of identity, documents that verify your car ownership and a completed application form. In addition, you will be required to pay the applicable DMV fees, which vary depending on whether you apply for a standard or personalized license plate. When visiting a DMV, you may also replace or transfer an existing license plate, as long as those procedures are offered in your state. To avoid mistakes or taking additional trips to the DMV, make sure that you are fully prepared for license plate transactions prior to filing your application.


Vehicle owners must apply for an Indiana DMV license plate through the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) soon after purchasing a new or used vehicle. In general, drivers may apply for IN car registration plates in person or online. Furthermore, after car owners apply to get license plate stickers and/or tags, the BMV will send these credentials within 14 days. However, be mindful that license plate applications often take longer to process than requests for registration stickers.

In addition to applying for new registration plates through the BMV, vehicle owners must also renew their credentials on a yearly basis, or replace them if they have sustained enough damage. To learn more about how to get license plate stickers and tags, as well as the procedures to renew, replace or transfer these documents, review the sections below.

Types of License Plates in Indiana

When applying for car registration plates in Indiana, the BMV provides vehicle owners with numerous license plate options to choose from. Common examples of available car registration tags include standard plates, college/university plates, fleet plates, military plates, motorcycle plates, municipal and organization plates, personalized plates and plates for special machinery. Additionally, drivers may obtain historic IN BMV car tags for collector vehicles, or temporary permits if they are only residing in the state during a limited period of time.

Under state law, car registration tags must contain three validation stickers to display the vehicle’s registration month, day, year and county of registration. Drivers must place one sticker at the top right-hand corner of the plate, a second sticker at the top left-hand corner of the plate and a third sticker at the bottom right-hand corner of the tag. Additionally, it is important to make sure that all of the BMV license plate numbers and stickers are clearly legible at all times.

How to Apply for a License Plate in Indiana

If you need to get new registration plates in Indiana for a newly-acquired vehicle, you may purchase these tags when you register the new car with the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles. However, you may only apply for IN car registration tags and register your vehicle online if you purchase the car within 60 days of requesting this procedure, and have previously submitted the vehicle certificate of title application to the BMV. During this online request, you must enter your vehicle’s title information and your driver’s license number.

On the other hand, you may apply for new car tags in person at a local BMV branch. To do so, you must submit your vehicle’s original title, proof of auto insurance and your driver’s license number. However, if you purchase a car from a dealership rather than a private seller, the dealer will likely apply for a license plate on your behalf.

How to Renew License Plate Tags in Indiana

Indiana car owners are required to renew license plate credentials on a yearly basis. As a reminder of when and how to renew a license plate and registration, the BMV sends motorists a renewal notice prior to the date of expiration on these documents. Thus, before your car registration tags and stickers expire, you must complete a license plate renewal procedure online through the official state portal, in person at a local BMV branch or by mail. However, you cannot renew these credentials online if the Bureau of Motor Vehicles requires you to submit a special paper form in order to process this request.

When renewing license plate online, you must provide your driver’s license number, ZIP code, payment information and the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN). Conversely, drivers may renew car tag stickers in person at a BMV facility or self-service kiosk, as well as via mail. To renew by mail, car owners must submit the renewal request to the address included on their renewal notices.

How to Replace License Plates in Indiana

In order to replace license plate stickers or tags, you must visit a local BMV office and complete the procedure in person. Overall, you must request duplicate IN BMV car tags as soon as they become damaged or are deemed lost. When replacing a license plate, you must complete the appropriate application form and provide an acceptable payment method for the replacement license plate or tag. Furthermore, if you believe that your license plates or decals were stolen from you, you must report the theft to local law enforcement before applying for a replacement.

How to Transfer License Plates in Indiana

Before you sell a vehicle, you must remove your Indiana car registration tags from it, as the plates belong to you rather than the vehicle. Additionally, you do not need to surrender car registration plates to the BMV before you sell or dispose of a vehicle. Instead, you may transfer your previous license plates to a new vehicle, as long as you own both vehicles. Moreover, you may transfer your BMV car tags when you register your newly acquired vehicle in the state.

Indiana License Plate Fees

Specific Indiana BMV license plate fees vary according to a vehicle’s make and model year, as well as the county and municipality where the car owner currently resides. In addition, the fees for car registration plates for farm trucks and tractors vary according to the weight of each vehicle. In general, annual fees for obtaining new registration plates include initial vehicle registration fees, as well as renewal, replacement and transfer costs, whenever applicable.

In the case of new vehicle owners, in addition to the cost of purchasing new car tags, applicants must pay regular registration fees as well, such as excise tax fees or wheel tax.

Standard car plates are issued to motorists when they register their vehicles. The standard registration for a passenger vehicle in Indiana is $21.35

License Plate Lookups in Indiana

Before purchasing a used vehicle and applying for new registration plates in IN, you can simplify the buying process by performing an online license plate lookup. Online BMV car tag lookups provide you with significant information about the vehicle’s history, such as any accidents, safety issues or recalls associated with it. Moreover, a license plate lookup provides you with details about the car’s manufacturer, engine type and previous owner.

Last updated on Friday, January 18 2019.

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