New York car registration plates are used to easily identify a vehicle and its owner. Therefore, an NY DMV license plate provides proof that your car has been through specific tests to ensure that it is safe to drive. Moreover, license plates and renewal stickers show that the vehicle is legally registered with the government and complies with current state driving laws.

Car owners may apply for new registration plates in NY through the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Overall, this department is also responsible for processing car tag renewals, replacements and transfers. To explore how to get license plate tags, including how to renew and replace them, refer to the sections below.

Types of License Plates in New York

Depending on the vehicle you are registering and the kind of tag you want to obtain, you may apply for a different type of New York DMV license plate. Common types of NY license plates include:

  • Temporary plates are issued by the dealership for drivers who purchase a car from a dealer. Also called transit permits, they allow motorists to temporarily operate a car until their permanent tags arrive.
  • Basic car registration plates are permanent car tags that arrive in the mail between one and two weeks after registering a car in New York. The current basic NY DMV license plate is called the Empire Gold plate, which features a gold background with navy blue lettering.
  • Personalized plates come in a wide variety of designs. Moreover, car owners are able to customize the words, letters and numbers printed on them.
  • Disabled parking plates are issued by an NY DMV license plate agent and are designated for people with disabilities.

How to Apply for a License Plate in New York

Obtaining new registration plates in New York is part of a car’s initial registration process. If you bought your vehicle from a dealership, chances are that the dealer will begin the registration process on your behalf, and provide you with a temporary transit permit.

However, if that is not the case, or if you purchased your car from a private seller, you must visit your local NY DMV office to fill out the registration paperwork and undergo an inspection. General documents needed for you to get a license plate in NY include your drivers license, original title, insurance card, bill of sale and a completed vehicle registration application.

How to Renew License Plate Tags in New York

Vehicle owners must renew license plate tags in New York before the expiration date of their car registrations. In general, all drivers are able to request a car registration renewal in person at an NY DMV branch office or by mail.

To do so, applicants must simply complete and submit the bottom part of a registration renewal notice, along with the payment required for renewing license plate credentials. Those wondering how to renew license plate tags online can enter their vehicle’s tag numbers into the NY DMV online system and check eligibility.

If approved, applicants must simply follow the steps for the online license plate renewal and pay the associated fees with a credit or debit card.

How to Replace License Plates in New York

If you notice that your car tag is missing or significantly damaged, you may wonder how to replace a license plate in order to avoid driving your vehicle without the appropriate credentials. Thus, if you are replacing license plate tags and stickers that were stolen or simply lost, you must file a police report and apply for replacement credentials by mail or in person at a DMV office.

Furthermore, you may be able to get new registration plates online in certain cases. To do so, you will need your vehicle plate or registration number, registration class, ZIP code on the registration documents and a credit card for payment.

How to Transfer License Plates in New York

If you need to get license plate documentation for a new vehicle, you can transfer your existing car tags from a previous vehicle to a new one. After selling or giving away your previous vehicle, you must request a car tag transfer and title transfer at a local DMV office.

To do so, you must bring your original title, current proof of auto insurance, drivers license or photo ID card and a completed application form. If you do not wish to transfer your current NY car registration plates to a newly-acquired vehicle, you must surrender these tags to the DMV.

New York License Plate Fees

Standard license plates in New York cost $25. However, be mindful that you may also have to pay for titling and registration fees, as well as state taxes.

License Plate Lookups in New York

Before purchasing a car, you may order an NY DMV license plate lookup, which is also called a vehicle registration abstract. Overall, this procedure is beneficial to potential buyers because it shows the entire license plate history of a car. If you wish to conduct a DMV car tag lookup on a license plate that is not yours, you must certify that you are allowed to do so, as defined by the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA).

In any case, when you request car registration plate abstracts, you gain information about the history of the vehicles assigned to that tag. Moreover, you access accompanying information such as the owner’s name and address, the vehicle identification number (VIN), vehicle descriptions and odometer readings.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.