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Washington, D.C. License Plate Information Summary

If you chose to register your vehicle in Washington, D.C. and not in another state in the DMV (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) region you'll get your license plates when you register your vehicle. You can transfer your plates to a new vehicle. You will also get two stickers – indicating the month and year you need to renew your Washington D.C. license plates.

Washington, D.C. License Plates Offered

With most vehicles you need plates on the front and rear of your vehicle. With motorcycles you only need rear plates. On your rear plates you must place your month and year stickers in a way that does not cover any of the numbers.

Washington, D.C. offers standard plates, vanity plates, and military plates.

  • If you buy from a dealership, it will give you temporary Washington D.C. license plates and then eventually call you back to give you your official plates.
  • If you move to the District or buy a vehicle in a private sale in the District, you will be given temporary D.C. license plates. These allow you to have the vehicle inspected and for you then to get official plates.

The temporary license plates are good for 45 days.

When You Need To Get Washington, D.C. License Plates

You need to apply for temporary plates the day you move into the District or the day you purchase a vehicle. Then you have 45 days to get the vehicle inspected and get official Washington, D.C. plates.

Keeping Your License Plates Up To Date

Renew your D.C. plates when you renew your registration. If you don't know when to renew your registration, look at the information on your stickers.

If Your Washington, D.C. License Plates Are Stolen

Should your D.C. plates be stolen or damaged, you must file a police report. You will then get a customer number you can provide to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).

Then bring your photo ID, your registration and $10 in person to the DMV.

Transferring Or Surrendering Your License Plates

You must surrender your Washington, D.C. license plates if you move out of the district or cancel your auto insurance.

If you have at least 6 months left on your registration, you'll get a refund in roughly eight weeks. You can do this in person or by mailing them to:

  • DC DMV
    Vehicle Services Administration
    P.O. Box 90120
    Washington, D.C. 20090

To transfer your plates from one vehicle to another, bring your registration, title, inspection report, proof of insurance, your driver's license, and $7 to your local DMV.

Washington, D.C. License Plate Costs

Fees vary for Washington, D.C. license plates. Contact the DMV to find out how much you will pay.

Sample Washington License Plate


DMV Offices In District of Columbia

Note: VehicleHistory.com offers vehicle record searches by License Number Plate and VIN number. Results vary depending on state. Not all states have available owner information. Complete license plate and VIN numbers are required to obtain results. Please verify any
information obtained as there are occasional inaccuracies.

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