Washington State License Plate Information Summary
The Washington Department of Licensing will give you plates when you first register your vehicle. In the future, you can simply transfer your plates to a newer vehicle. You will also get a sticker to show law enforcement when your Washington license plates expire.
Washington State License Plates Offered
Washington issues standard, vanity, disability and specialty license plates. The Department of Licensing will be able to tell you what plates are on offer.
Many vehicles require plates on the front and back of the vehicle. The exceptions are motorcycles, horseless carriages, campers, mopeds, and collector's vehicles.
- If you purchase your vehicle from a dealership, you will get temporary license plates until they arrange for you to get official Washington license plates.
- If you buy your vehicle in a private sale, you must get license plates for it before you drive it.
You have to put your registration expiration sticker in the upper right corner of your rear license plate.
When You Need To Get Washington State License Plates
You need to get your license plates within 30 days of moving to the state. If you get your vehicle as a gift, you need to get plates in 15 days.
The dealership will handle your Washington license plates if you purchase from them.
Keeping Your License Plates Up To Date
Renew your license plates whenever you registration is about to expire.
If Your Washington State License Plates Are Stolen
If your plates are stolen or damaged, you do not need to notify the police.
If your plates are stolen you will get new plates with a new number – you cannot keep your old Washington license plate number.
Before you can start the process of replacing stolen or damaged plates you must confirm your address. You can do this online or in person.
You must then fill out an affidavit of lost or damaged plates and pay a $5 service fee. You will then be charged the cost of new plates which vary wildly. If your Washington license plates were damaged and you want to keep the same plates, you will be charged an additional $20 fee.
Transferring Or Surrendering Your License Plates
If you move out of state or cancel your insurance, you may surrender your plates or you can keep them as souvenirs. If you do so, you must remove the stickers.
If you do want to surrender them, you can do so in person, or mail them to:
- Department of Licensing
1125 Washington St. SE
Olympia, WA 98504
If you want to transfer your plates to a new vehicle, you have to first confirm your address, either online or in person.
You will then need to provide the registration numbers of both vehicles, plus license plate fees. These fees vary quite a bit – you should contact the agency to find out what they will be.
Washington State License Plate Costs
Washington State license plate costs vary quite a bit. Contact the Department of Licensing to find out how much you can expect to pay.