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North Carolina License Plate Information Summary

The North Carolina DMV will issue you new license plates when you register your vehicle for the first time. You'll then renew your North Carolina license plates every time you reregister your vehicle. In general, you can transfer your plates from your older vehicle to a newer one. You'll also need a sticker telling law enforcement when your license plates expire.

North Carolina License Plates Offered

In North Carolina you can get standard plates, vanity plates, disabled plates, and plates that help charities. Contact the DMV for information on your North Carolina license plate options.

Standard license plates either read “First In Flight” or “First In Freedom.” It's your choice.

You can get temporary license plates from your dealership to use until you get your official plates. They are good for 30 days.

When You Need To Get North Carolina License Plates

You need to get North Carolina license plates within 30 days of moving to the state, within 30 days after buying a vehicle from a dealership, and the same day if you purchase your car through a private sale.

Keeping Your License Plates Up To Date

To keep your North Carolina license plates up to date, you must first have your car inspected once a year. This has to be done within 90 days of your registration expiring.

If it passes inspection, you can then renew your registration, and plates, in person or online.

If Your North Carolina License Plates Are Stolen

If your North Carolina license plates are stolen, you do not have to file a police report. Instead you have to submit a notarized letter stating what happened.

You'll pay $2 for the notary at the DMV, or $5 from a private notary. Then you need to pay $20 for the plate and provide proof of insurance.

You can get replacement plates either at the DMV or through the mail.

Transferring Or Surrendering Your License Plates

You must surrender your license plates whenever you cancel your auto insurance. You can get a refund for the amount of time of your plate fee you have not used. You'll need to send in proof that you have surrendered your plate, plus a bill of sale or your new registration card from your new state.

You can always transfer your North Carolina license plates from one vehicle to a vehicle you have just purchased.

North Carolina License Plate Costs

  • North Carolina license plates for standard passenger cars are $36.
  • For electric passenger cars, the fee is $130.
  • For motorcycles, it is $24.
  • Trailers or motor homes are $14.
  • Trucks under 4,000 pounds are $36.
  • Between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds, they cost $56.50.
  • For larger trucks, the cost is $67.

Sample North Carolina License Plate

DMV Offices In North Carolina

Note: 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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