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How To Keep Your License Plate



There are many different types of license plates in Arizona. You'll decide when you register your vehicle.

© Judy Hedding

When you sell or otherwise dispose of your vehicle, you might want to keep your license plate. Good news! In 2002 the State of Arizona made this process easy for you -- and in many cases you get to keep the fees that you paid, too!

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: An hour or two

Here's How:

  1. When selling or disposing of a vehicle, take the license plate off the vehicle. It belongs to you, not the vehicle.
  2. Within 30 days you must either transfer the plate to another vehicle, or turn in the plate, or submit a signed statement that the plate was lost or destroyed.
  3. Your registration expires immediately upon sale of the vehicle.
  4. You must visit a Motor Vehicle Department office or authorized third party service provider to transfer the plate and register the vehicle.
  5. If you must drive the vehicle to complete this transaction, you must obtain a Restricted Use 3-Day Permit (for private sales), or a Temporary Registration Plate (for vehicles purchased from a licensed dealer).
  6. You can purchase a Restricted Use 3-Day Permit online.
  7. If you transfer the plate to another vehicle, you may be eligible to receive credit for fees previously paid on the vehicle that was sold. Your credit reduces each month that the registration is not used.
  8. You can see how much credit you have for your plates online. It is really cheap!
  9. You can find locations and hours of MVD offices in Arizona here.


  1. If you need to go to a MVD office, try not to go at the very beginning or the very end of the month. Avoid Saturdays if you can.

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