Motorists must apply for a New Jersey DMV license plate through the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). Otherwise, vehicle owners may transfer their current car registration plates to a newly-acquired vehicle upon registering it in the state. However, if drivers do not transfer their existing license plates after purchasing a new vehicle, they must surrender their plates to the MVC.

Motorists who wish to obtain new registration plates in NJ must take into consideration the different procedures for those who purchase cars from dealerships as opposed to private sellers. Furthermore, after obtaining car tags, drivers must be mindful that they need to renew license plate credentials once per year. To learn more about how to get license plate registration materials in the state, review the sections below.

Types of License Plates in New Jersey

When vehicle owners need to obtain car registration plates in New Jersey, they can choose between several different types. For instance, applicants may obtain a standard issue MVC license plate, disability placard, disabled veteran plate, specialty plate, sports-themed plate, personalized plate or dedicated plate. When drivers purchase dedicated car registration tags in NJ, licensing fees to help to support local organizations, including charities and military personnel. Additionally, out-of-state car buyers may purchase a temporary non-resident registration permit from the MVC.

How to Apply for a License Plate in New Jersey

Motor vehicles must display two car registration tags in New Jersey, one plate on the front of the vehicle and another on the rear. However, certain vehicles may require only one MVC license plate, such as motorcycles, trailers and motorized bicycles. In any case, drivers must apply for car tags in NJ as soon as possible after purchasing a new or used motor vehicle. If car owners purchase a vehicle from a dealership, the dealer will register the car and apply for new tags on behalf of the buyer. However, car owners must get car tags on their own if they purchase a vehicle from a private party.

In order to get new registration plates after acquiring a new or used vehicle from a private seller, vehicle owners must visit an MVC agency in person. During that procedure, applicants will be required to submit the following documentation:

  • The vehicle’s title and a registration application, which can be obtained at MVC offices
  • A power of attorney, if applicable
  • The purchaser’s driver license or ID card
  • Proof of auto insurance
  • Lienholder information, if applicable
  • Payment for the vehicle’s title, registration, license plates and sales tax

If non-residents purchase a vehicle in the state, they may get a license plate deemed as temporary. As such, these types of registration permits allow non-residents to transport the vehicle to their home state. To apply for a temporary MVC car tag, vehicle owners must visit an MVC office to obtain and complete the appropriate application form. Additionally, drivers must pay the applicable fees and submit proof of auto insurance, out-of-state residency and the vehicle’s title.

How to Renew License Plate Tags in New Jersey

Drivers may complete the process of renewing license plate credentials online through the official MVC portal, by mail or in person at an MVC office. As a reminder that you must renew your license plate, the MVC will send you a car registration renewal notice three months prior to your car tag’s expiration date. If you do not receive a New Jersey car tag renewal notice, you must renew your credentials in person. That is because, in order to request an online renewal, you must provide a PIN that is disclosed on your renewal notice.

When renewing NJ car tags in person or by mail, vehicle owners must provide their license plate number and proof of auto insurance, as well as an acceptable payment method for the plate renewal fees.

How to Replace License Plates in New Jersey

If you damage your New Jersey car registration plates, you must replace them through your local MVC facility. In order to replace license plate credentials, you must present proof of identification, payment for the plate replacement and your vehicle’s current registration certificate. Moreover, when replacing license plate materials without changing your license plate number, you must complete a different application form.

During the process of replacing car tags, you must surrender your old plates, if possible. However, if you need to replace your car tags after they were stolen from you, you must file an official police report before applying for duplicate credentials. After filing a report with the local police, you must visit an MVC agency and apply for replacement plates with new license plate numbers. Additionally, you must pay the applicable MVC license plate replacement fee and submit proof of identity, along with your vehicle’s registration card.

How to Transfer License Plates in New Jersey

After purchasing a vehicle, drivers may transfer their current New Jersey car registration tags to their newly-acquired vehicle rather than purchasing new plates. Overall, vehicle owners may transfer their MVC car tags when registering their recently-purchased vehicle with the Motor Vehicles Commission.

On the other hand, if you sell your vehicle, you must transfer the title, but do not transfer your car registration plates, you must surrender them to the MVC. In general, you may surrender your car tags in person at an MVC agency or by mailing them to a particular mailing address of the MVC.

New Jersey License Plate Fees

New Jersey MVC car tag fees vary depending on a vehicle’s model year, weight class and license plate type. You can request standard plates for $6 or dedication plates for $11. Additionally, you can pay a one time fee of $50 for personalized license plates. However, if your registration is expired for more than two years, you will need to pay the $50 once again to reactivate your plates.

License Plate Lookups in New Jersey

Before purchasing new registration plates in New Jersey, motorists may perform an online license plate lookup to learn more about the history of the vehicle they plan to purchase. For instance, an MVC license plate lookup provides car owners with information about a vehicle’s previous owners, manufacturer, past performance and engine type. Other useful information may pertain to safety recalls (if applicable) and accident involvement.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.