License Plate Registration
License plate registration is the process of registering your vehicle to drive on public roads. You need to register your car when you buy it, or if you change ownership or move to a new state. You must also update your registration every year to keep your license plates valid.
Standard-issue license plates in the United States, Canada and most other countries are 6 inches (15 cm) wide by 12 inches (30 cm) high with standardized mounting holes. This size has been approved by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the Automobile Manufacturers Association and the National Safety Council.
Some jurisdictions allow the use of small-sized plates for motorcycles and some types of trailers. These smaller-sized plates are often referred to as “moped plates” or “trailer plates.”
Special-issue or vanity license plates in NYSDMV parlance refer to combinations that consist of up to three letters and up to three digits (e.g. RED-123, JD-555, JIM-1).
In the State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV), special-issue plates may be used for sports teams or universities, professions, emergency services, and military organizations. They are a way to display your personal pride and show your support of a cause.
Vanity plates are a form of specialty-issued license plates that are used for unique vehicles, such as classic cars or antique trucks. They are usually available with a custom-designed picture or inscription on the plate, and can have up to six digits.
If you want to change your license plate from a special-issue to a regular, non-special-issue, you can do so by submitting a new application for a new plate and paying a $28 replacement registration fee. The NYSDMV will send you a new plate sticker to attach to your vehicle.
The NYSDMV requires that you register your vehicle in the state in which it was manufactured or registered at the time of purchase, and that you renew the registration for the same model of the vehicle each year. You can do this online or in person at your local tax-assessor collector office.
Many states have specific requirements for registration of certain types of vehicles, and some require you to submit proof of insurance before registering a car. You can find out if your car needs to be registered in your new state by checking with the DMV and your insurance provider.
Your first step in registering your car is getting a Texas inspection from a certified Vehicle Inspection station. Bring your insurance card and your Vehicle Inspection Report to the station when you go to get your new Texas registration.
Most states issue a renewal notice that must be received by mail, but a few states send it electronically as well. To sign up for electronic delivery, you will need your Registration ID and PIN.
Some states have a minimum number of years that a license plate must be renewed, and some may not require that it be replaced at all. For example, Maryland previously required a five-year cycle for all plate issuance, but has not done so since 1986.