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.


After acquiring a new or used vehicle, car owners must apply for a Kentucky DMV license plate. In order to obtain new registration plates in KY, motorists must file an application with the Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing, which is managed by the state’s Transportation Cabinet (KYTC). If you already have a car that is properly titled and registered, then you must renew license plate credentials before they expire.

When requesting car registration plates, you will be required to provide paperwork that identifies you as the vehicle owner, as well as documents that detail your car’s specifications. Furthermore, this procedure must be completed in person. Learn more about how to get license plate stickers and tags in KY by reviewing the information below.

Types of License Plates in Kentucky

Car owners who need to obtain new registration plates in Kentucky can choose from over 150 different types of license plates available in the state. Available KY car registration tags include standard/regular plates and special plates, as well as university, government, military or independent college plates. Moreover, the KYTC offers military plates for automobiles and motorcycles, in addition to disability plates and miscellaneous plates. Miscellaneous KYTC license plates include tags for dealers, historic vehicles, street rods, truck trailers, recreational vehicles, alternate speed vehicles and camping trailers. Furthermore, vehicle owners may personalize their car tags in a variety of ways if they wish to do so.

Note: Special car registration plates support local causes such as Crusade for Children and Norton’s Children’s Hospital.

How to Apply for a License Plate in Kentucky

During the process of how to get car tags in Kentucky, car owners must visit a local county clerk’s office, complete the vehicle registration process and apply for tags in person. Specifically, motorists must apply for car registration tags in person, regardless of whether they purchase a vehicle from a private party or licensed dealership. Thus, when applying for new car tags, applicants will be asked to submit the following documentation:

  • Photo identification
  • Proof of auto insurance
  • The vehicle’s current certificate of title
  • The vehicle’s current registration receipt, in the case of out-of-state vehicles
  • Payment for obtaining new registration plates and a registration certificate

Note: You must apply for a title certificate before you can get car tags for your newly-acquired motor vehicle. When applying for a title, you must complete the appropriate application form and submit it along with the documentation listed above. Additionally, you must surrender your license plates to your county clerk’s office if you cancel your auto insurance for any reason.

How to Renew License Plate Tags in Kentucky

If you meet certain requirements, you may renew a license plate and complete the KY car registration renewal process online. That is unlike applying for new car registration plates, which must be done in person in the state of Kentucky.

When renewing a license plate online, motorists must provide their vehicle’s title and license plate number, as well as a valid auto insurance policy. Additionally, the vehicle’s registration period must be active, and the license plate must be available for online renewal. On the other hand, applicants cannot renew certain car registration tags online, such as military plates, military motorcycle plates, government plates or other miscellaneous types such as commercial, dealer, historic vehicle plates or tags for permanent truck trailers.

If drivers do not meet the qualifications for online renewals, they must renew KY car tags in person at a county clerk’s office. To do so, applicants must submit a tax bill, photo ID, the vehicle’s current registration certificate, proof of auto insurance and an acceptable payment method for the plate renewal fees. Conversely, car owners may request renewals via mail by sending all of the required documentation to their county clerk’s office.

In general, you must renew license plate decals for standard plates once per year during your birth month. However, expiration dates vary for special, personalized or miscellaneous plates.

How to Replace License Plates in Kentucky

In addition to renewing car tags in Kentucky, vehicle owners must replace license plate credentials if they sustain enough damages or go missing. This procedure is particularly important when a license plate or registration document has sustained damage to the point of becoming illegible. When replacing license plate tags or decals, motorists must visit a county clerk’s office in person to complete and submit the appropriate application form. Along with this application document, car owners must submit a vehicle’s current registration certificate, proof of photo identification and proof of auto insurance. If available, applicants must also surrender their current license plate and/or decals upon requesting a replacement. On the other hand, if you believe that your KYTC license plate credentials were stolen from you, you must file a police report before replacing them.

How to Transfer License Plates in Kentucky

In most cases, you may transfer your KY car registration tags from one vehicle to another by completing an application with your local county clerk’s office. As such, you must transfer your license plates upon registering your recently-acquired vehicle in the state. Furthermore, when transferring KYTC car tags from one vehicle to another, you must pay a nominal transfer fee.

Note: You are required to surrender your Kentucky car registration plates to your county clerk’s office if you sell your current vehicle to an out-of-state resident.

Kentucky License Plate Fees

When applying for new registration plates in Kentucky or renewing existing ones, you must provide the state’s Transportation Cabinet with an acceptable payment method for the particular fees pertaining to the service you are requesting. For instance, a standard KYTC car tag is typically cheaper than specialty plates. Furthermore, different types of services may incur different costs, such as mailing fees for applicants who request car tags through the mail.

In addition, the fees for replacing a license plate or decal will vary by county. When transferring license plates from one vehicle to another, you will be required to pay additional fees.

The initial cost of a standard license plate is $21, which is the same to renew your plates. There is an additional $25 fee for personalization.

License Plate Lookups in Kentucky

Before purchasing a used vehicle, you can perform a KYTC license plate lookup to learn more about the vehicle’s history, including its previous ownership information, safety recalls and details about the vehicle’s past performance. Additionally, a Kentucky car tag lookup can provide you with information about the vehicle’s engine type, manufacturer and details pertaining to any accidents the car has gone through.

Last updated on Friday, January 18 2019.

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