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When you sell, give away your car, or take a vehicle off the road in the United States, you must notify the Department of Motor Vehicles ( DMV ) of the state where the car was registered. By carrying out this procedure you are protecting yourself from the possible fraudulent use of your old car or registration plates. In this article we explain How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates at the DMV, its requirements and costs.
Below you will find the procedure that you must follow to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates at the DMV of the following states:
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates at DMV?
Usually the way to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates at the DMV is by personally attending an office of the Department of Vehicles in your area. In general, an appointment is not required before going to the vehicle registration office. Another very common option is through the mail. The receipts must be sent by certified mail with acknowledgment of receipt and the receipt must be kept as proof of the management carried out.
It can also be done online very easily, as will be seen in detail later. The available alternatives and the requirements will depend on the state where you are. How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates at the DMV online? To Cancel vehicle registration / license plates DMV online you must inform your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles that you sold or transferred your car.
The notification process can be done online, by accessing the website of the DMV in your state and filling out the “release of liability or transfer form” with the information of the buyer and seller of the car. You must also fill in some information about the vehicle, which will be requested through the platform. It is important to note that, in addition to Cancel your registration and plates of the car, it is necessary for the buyer to transfer the title. Keep in mind that each state has its requirements and procedures.
Requirements to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates at the DMV
The DMV cancellation process varies depending on the state where your vehicle is registered, but the requirements are almost always the same:
- The name and address of the new owner
- License plate number and last five digits of the vehicle identification number ( VIN )
- Reading the number of miles on the car (odometer) as of the date of sale or transfer of the vehicle
- Driver’s license number or Letter ID
- Email address
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Corresponding form
- Copy of the title of ownership of the car
How much does it cost to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in the USA?
Cancel your vehicle registration in the United States costs between $5 and $60 depending on the state where you carry out the process.
How to return plates to the DMV?
The general process for returning plates to the Department of Vehicles when required by state law is as follows:
- Check your state’s DMV regulations for the exact requirements that apply to where you live.
- Complete the forms of your state corresponding to the procedure. The property title must also be presented in order to attribute responsibility for the property to the new owner
- Set the appointment at the DMV. Although in general it can be done without an appointment, in some states it is necessary to previously make an appointment with a DMV to carry out the process.
- Bring and deliver the plates on the day of the appointment
In almost all states, returning the license plate to the vehicle registration office is optional. The law allows the dealer to keep the plates to assign to another car within a specified period of time or to be turned over to the state DMV. In other states the plates stay with the vehicle. In places like Kentucky, it is mandatory to turn in the plates to the state DMV when transferring the car to an out-of-state buyer. In Louisiana, license plates must be returned or destroyed with the sale of the vehicle. In Nebraska and Mississippi, plates must be returned to the DMV.
What are the reasons for returning the plates?
You may cancel registration and surrender your license plates if:
- You have canceled liability insurance for any reason. You must turn in the plates to the DMV before canceling the insurance.
- You have sold or junked the car and will not use the plates on another vehicle.
- Your vehicle will be sitting idle or being repaired for an extended period of time and you don’t want to keep current liability insurance or registration.
If state law allows you to keep the plates for use on another vehicle, you generally have 30-60 days to do so or to turn them in at the DMV. In general, for standard plates you have 60 days, for special plates you will have 30 days. Special license plates may have other regulations than those mentioned, usually they can be transferred to another vehicle owned by the seller.
What happens if I don’t cancel license plate my car?
Not Canceling vehicle registration that was owned by you and that you have already sold will have the following consequences:
- Tickets and vehicle accidents will be recorded on your driving record.
- You will be responsible for paying the annual registration and all costs associated with the car.
- You will be responsible for any illegal act committed with the car.
Canceling vehicle registration, a DMV car releases the seller from any liability associated with that item after the sale is made.
Can I Cancel vehicle registration / license plates temporarily?
Yes, the temporary Cancellation can be requested at the vehicle department if the car has been stolen. It can also be done due to a personal reason, for example, if you are going to stop using it for a while. Cars temporarily canceled cannot be driven or parked on public roads during the entire year of registration. If you do not plan to use your vehicle and do not want to pay for the renewal of the plates, you can fill out the “non-operational status” (PNO) form and submit it to the DMV offices before the vehicle registration expires, to avoid paying the fines. On the form you must put the last 5 numbers of the VIN and the license plate number. You must also pay the corresponding fees. If you need to use the car and the PNO period is not yet over, you will need to ask a DMV for appointments to obtain a one-day permit that allows you to move the vehicle to the mechanic or anywhere else. If you are going to use it regularly, you must pay for the renewal of your license plates. By canceling a car that you are not going to use, you can save the circulation tax for that car in that period of time and the premium for the insurance policy.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Arizona?
When you sell, donate or transfer ownership of a vehicle in Arizona you must cancel it by notifying AZ MVD. This is done online by immediately completing a notice of sale on the web. In Arizona you can make this notice to the department of vehicles through the Internet by following this link. The online notification is a free service that releases you from any responsibility for the car after its sale. Then you must:
- Sign the back of the title and notarize the signature
- Remove the license plate from the vehicle and communicate with AZ MVD through any of these ways to be able to transfer it to another vehicle you own or destroy it, according to your choice
- Deliver the title to the buyer with the corresponding lien release, if applicable
Furthermore, the buyer has to visit an MVD office or an Authorized Third Party to register the vehicle and perform the title transfer.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in California?
If you sell, give away your car, or get rid of an unused vehicle that was registered in California, you must complete a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability ( NRL ). This way the California DMV will know that you are no longer responsible for parking/traffic violations or civil or criminal actions associated with that vehicle.
Requirements to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in California
To Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in California, you will need:
- The name and address of the new owner.
- License plate number and last five digits of vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Odometer reading as of the date of sale or transfer of the vehicle
- If you want to keep a copy for your records, you must print the confirmation you receive after submitting the NRL (it is recommended to do so)
By carrying out this procedure, you are protected against possible fines or actions against you for the improper use of the car that is no longer your property. Remember that you have a period of 5 days to notify the DMV.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Colorado?
To cancel your Colorado plates you must do the following:
- Mail the Lost or Stolen Permit/Tag Affidavit Form ( DR 2283 ) to the Division of Motor Vehicles office. You can also bring the form in person.
- If you sell your vehicle, submit a release of liability report online within five days of the transfer of ownership. To do so, go to mydmv.colorado.gov and select the “report release of liability” link under vehicle services. The transfer notice removes the seller’s liability for the buyer’s actions related to the vehicle after the sale is complete.
Note: Sellers must remove their license plates from the vehicle before completing the sale. Subsequently, the plates will be destroyed or recycled according to state regulations. For more information, contact the Colorado DMV at (303) 205-5600 or clarify your doubts by following this link.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Florida?
You must return the plates through one of the following methods:
- In person at a motor vehicle service office ; either
- By mail to a motor vehicle service center office along with the application to cancel and recycle the registration; either
- If your license plates have been lost or stolen, you must complete an affidavit and mail it to a motor vehicle service center.
The Florida license plates or plates of your car belong to the State and you must return them if they are not expired and you do not have valid automobile insurance.
IMPORTANT: A license plate in Florida, by law, must be replaced every 10 years.
Why is it important to return license plates in Florida?
- If the license plate is actively registered and associated with your vehicle, when you withdraw your car insurance in Florida you have to assume financial responsibility penalties
- If you don’t return your license plate when your auto insurance expires or you cancel it, your driver’s license may be suspended
- When you return the license plate to a tax collector’s office, they will give you a receipt showing that the license plate was turned in. If you paid the initial registration fee, this receipt can be used as credit toward your future vehicle registration
- By returning your license plate or car plate in Florida, you will be preventing scammers from placing it on their cars to go through tolls and red light cameras, or worse, to commit crimes. If that happened you would have problems, because the name and address that is in the file will be yours
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Georgia?
In Georgia you can Cancel vehicle registration / license plates online or in person at a county office where you live. Vehicle owners in Georgia may voluntarily cancel their registration if the vehicle has been sold, is no longer being driven, or is no longer usable. You must cancel your registration before canceling insurance coverage, to avoid fines and penalties under Georgia law requiring automobile insurance coverage.
IMPORTANT: It is illegal to drive or allow another person to drive a vehicle with a canceled, suspended, or revoked registration, or if the vehicle is uninsured.
How to Cancel a Car Registration in Georgia
You can voluntarily cancel your vehicle registration online using DRIVES e-Services. To use DRIVES e-Services, you will need:
- Your Georgia license plate number or VIN number
- Your driver’s license number or Letter ID (the Letter ID can be found on any letter sent to you regarding your vehicle).
To carry out the process in person, you must go to the local county office and complete form MV-18J (Request for Voluntary Cancellation of Registration).
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Illinois?
To Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Illinois, you can go to one of the offices of the state’s DVS vehicle department and fill out the corresponding form to notify and record the cancellation of the car’s registration. It is also necessary to inform if the reason for the cancellation is the sale of the car, or if the vehicle is out of circulation. Other reasons may be a gift or a temporary circulation exit. Local laws do not require the return of plates to the state of Illinois, however, if you wish to do so, you may drop them off at DVS Department of Vehicles drop boxes located in cities and counties throughout the state.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Maryland ?
You can drop a car in Maryland using DROP BOX, through the mail, or by going in person to a local MDOT MVA office. Maryland law requires that you return your license plates to the MDOT MVA when you no longer need them. Below are the different ways you can return your license plates in Maryland and get a receipt for your return:
Via DROP BOX
Drop your tags in any of the Maryland license plate return drop boxes. Drop boxes with 24-hour access are located at the Baltimore, Columbia, Cumberland, Gaithersburg, Glen Burnie and Salisbury City Branches.
For greater speed, download the registration return form, print and complete the form. Include your email address and a receipt will be sent to you within 24-48 hours (business days) of delivery.
Note: Forms are also available in the mailbox.
By certified mail
Mail your Maryland license plates to the central office at the following address: MDOT MVA, Attn: CRTR 6601 Ritchie Highway NE Glen Burnie, MD 21062
It is recommended to send the plates by certified mail with acknowledgment of receipt.
You can return license plates in person at any of the 24 MDOT MVA locations during normal business hours. No appointment system is used to return plates. If you wish to drop off your plates at a branch, include your email address on the return form and a receipt will be sent to you within 24-48 hours of delivery.
IMPORTANT: You should not cancel your auto insurance until the MDOT MVA has received your license plates, otherwise you could be fined.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Massachusetts?
You do not have to return the plates to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles ( RMV ) to cancel your Massachusetts vehicle registration (plates).
Requirements to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Massachusetts
- Vehicle registration number
- Email address
and one of the following documents:
- Driver’s license / permit / identification number
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- FID number (if the car/truck is registered in the name of a company/corporation)
After completing the cancellation, you can download the cancellation receipt. Keep it for your records and provide a photocopy to your insurance company.
IMPORTANT: Remember that after canceling the registration, your car / truck will not be able to circulate on any public road in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Once your registration is cancelled, you must recycle or destroy your license plates. Plates can be cut in half and discarded; Or you can recycle them if your city accepts them at the local recycling center. If you wish, you can Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Massachusetts online, unless there are two (2) owners of the vehicle. If there are two owners, both must complete and sign the Affidavit of cancellation.
Excise Tax Reductions
You may be eligible for a local motor vehicle tax reduction if you canceled your registration because:
- You mud de Massachusetts
- You reported your vehicle as stolen
- You no longer own the vehicle
You are not entitled to a reduction simply because you wanted to cancel your registration. In order for your local assessor’s office to process your request for tax relief, you must provide documentation of these and other actions required by state law. If you have any questions, please contact your local adviser.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Michigan?
To Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Michigan you can send a letter by mail expressing your interest in canceling the registration and license plates of the vehicle. In addition, it is necessary that you explain the reasons you have for doing so. You can also apply in person at any of the Michigan DMV offices. This procedure must be done if you move permanently to another state or if you sell or transfer your car to another owner.
If you leave Michigan permanently, you must cancel your registration and license plates. If you already have your new plates and registered your car in the state you are moving to, you can stop by a branch of the Secretary of State to cancel your Michigan plates and registration. If not, after you move you can write a letter indicating that you want to cancel your registration and plates and send it to the following address: Michigan Department of State Renewal by Mail Unit 7064 Crowner Drive Lansing, Michigan 48980 You do not need to provide SOS with your new address. Also, the state where you will be living will send you your Michigan license for cancellation.
Those who leave the state temporarily must inform SOS of their new address. You can make the address change at a branch or complete an address change form and mail it to the following address: Michigan Department of State PO Box 30764 Lansing, MI 48909-8264 You will not receive a new license, but instead will be given a sticker with your temporary address to place on the back of your license or state ID card. There will be no charge for changing your address.
IMPORTANT: If you do not change your address with the state, your license could be suspended.
By mail or in person
Please note that if you are changing your address by mail, they will send a verification letter to your old address. So if you don’t want that to happen, you’ll need to change your address yourself.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in New Jersey?
If your vehicle is sold, junked, or destroyed and you do not intend to purchase another, you must submit the registration and plates to the MVC for cancellation by attending a motor vehicle agency in person or through the mail.
Delivery of plates that are not in use
If you have New Jersey license plates that are not in use, you have two options:
Visit a motor vehicle agency to deliver the plates Inform the agency staff located at the reception desk that you want to deliver your plates, they will be able to guide you with the steps to follow. Make sure you get a receipt, this will serve as proof that the plates were delivered in the event you are improperly charged.
- The MVC does not accept license plates from other states. Out-of-state license plates must be returned to the state that issued them.
- License plates cannot be issued at inspection stations.
Mail the plates to the following address: New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission PO Box 129 Trenton, Nueva Jersey 08666-0129 Note: You must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope to receive a receipt after mailing in your license plates. It is important to save this receipt. It will serve as proof that the plates were delivered, in case you are improperly charged.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in New York?
To Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in New York you must go to a DMV NY office or send the receipts and plates through the mail. In New York, you are required by law to surrender your car license plates:
- Before Your Vehicle Liability Insurance Coverage Ends: If you don’t turn in your plates, they can suspend your registration and, even worse, your driver’s license.
- If you wish to register your vehicle in another state: You must surrender your New York State vehicle plates to the New York DMV.
Delivering New York State Plates by Mail
Step 1: Remove the plates and stickers: This includes license plate frames and fasteners. Destroy the registration and inspection stickers on your windshield.
Step 2: Complete the PD-7 application: You must complete a License Plate Surrender Request for each set of license plates you surrender.
Step 3: Send your plates in an envelope (without boxes) to the following address: NYS DMV 6 Empire State Plaza Room B240 Albany, NY 12228 Send by registered or certified mail and request a return receipt. They will send you a receipt FS-6T, if you do not receive it, contact the DMV.
Deliver New York State plates in person at a DMV office
Step 1: Remove the plates and stickers This includes license plate frames and fasteners. Destroy the registration and inspection stickers on your windshield.
Step 2: Complete the PD-7 application You must complete a License Plate Surrender Request for each set of license plates you surrender.
Step 3: Take the plates and application to a DMV office Find a DMV office near you and bring your plates and the plate surrender request. County motor vehicle offices will charge you a $1 fee to process the delivery. If someone else delivers the plates for you, remind them to give you the FS-6T receipt, which you should keep for your records.
IMPORTANT: Some procedures have changed due to COVID-19. We recommend you do the process by mail or find out the steps to follow at the DMV.
Lost, Stolen or Destroyed Plates
If your license plates were lost, stolen or destroyed you must inform the DMV. In these cases, the DMV can issue a new registration and plates.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Ohio?
In Ohio, you must complete and mail the application to cancel the vehicle to the address indicated on the BMV 4311 form. When you buy another car, you can transfer your Ohio plates to your new vehicle, if it’s within the same state. However, you cannot transfer your license plates to anyone else. You must perform the license plate transfer when you title and register your new vehicle. The transfer fee is $6. You will also pay title transfer fees and taxes.
When do you have to turn in your plates in Ohio?
You must surrender your Ohio plates if you replace them with a new type of plate or if you no longer need them, as well as if you move out of state. Submit a Notarized Customer Request to Cancel Vehicle Registration ( BMV form 4311 ) to the address on the form. Contact the Ohio BMV at (844) 644-6268 or the Deputy Recorder’s Office for more information on plate delivery.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Pennsylvania?
In the state of Pennsylvania, you must return registration plates that are no longer valid or that you no longer need, to the following address: Bureau of Motor Vehicles Return Tag Unit P.O. Box 68597 Harrisburg, PA 17106-8597 Once PennDOT has received your plate, it will be marked as a “dead tag” on the vehicle registration. By returning your Pennsylvania registration plate to PennDOT, you will be protecting yourself from situations or crimes that could involve you.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Texas?
To Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Texas, you must complete a Notice of Vehicle Transfer within 30 days of the date the car was sold or divested. If you do it after that period of time, the exemption of responsibility is not guaranteed. You can send notification of a vehicle transfer in one of the following ways:
- Send the notification online
- Mail a completed Vehicle Transfer Notification Form to the address on the form
- Visit a Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Regional Service Center
If you move from Texas to another state, you do not need to return your license plates, they are yours and you can keep them as a souvenir if you wish. If you decide to recycle them, you must cut them into pieces and place them in the recycling tray, with that you will avoid the fraudulent use of your plates.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Virginia?
To Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Virginia, the plates must be delivered to the nearest DMV Virginia customer service center. If you sold, gave away, or no longer use your vehicle, you must surrender your Virginia plates immediately, as required by local Virginia law. You should also do so if you move to another state.
Permanent delivery of plates in Virginia
You can deliver your plates permanently in the following way:
- Taking your plates to a customer service center. (You may be eligible for reimbursement of the cost of registration fees for this vehicle.)
- Submitting DMV Online Plate Submission. (You will not be eligible for a refund of the cost of registration fees for this vehicle.)
If your registration has six full months or more left before it expires and you have turned in your plates at a DMV customer service center, you may qualify for a partial refund. Complete an Application for Vehicle Registration form ( form FMS-210 ) and return it to the DMV. Refunds generally take 30 days to process. IMPORTANT: You will not be eligible for a refund if you used the online plate submission process.
Deactivation of license plates in Virginia
If you’ve canceled your vehicle’s liability insurance coverage but want to keep your license plates, you can temporarily deactivate them. IMPORTANT: Failure to comply with this law can result in severe sanctions. If you cancel your insurance and do not notify DMV, your driver’s permit or license could be suspended.
Plate transfer in Virginia
To transfer your Virginia plates to another vehicle, you must complete a registration application ( VSA-10 form ) and visit a customer service center to complete the transfer process.
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in Washington?
To deliver your Washington state plates you can either go in person to a Washington DMV office or send them by postal mail. Now we explain the details.
Washington State Plates Required to Surrender
In Washington, only license plates authorized under RCW 46.16.301, 46.16.280, 46.16.305, and 46.16.595 and dealer/manufacturer plates must be issued under chapter 308-66 WAC. Wreckers and scrap processors, hulk haulers must dispose of license plates in accordance with WAC 308-63-070 (7) and 308-63-120 (4). Plates can be delivered in Washington in the following ways:
- Take them in person to your local vehicle license office
- Send them to the licensing department in Olympia, Washington
After you turn them in, your license plates will be invalidated and rendered unusable. They will then recycle or dispose of the invalidated plates.
How to Get Rid of Invalid Washington State Plates
Other than the registration plates listed in subsection (1) of Section 308-96A-098, you may dispose of your no longer valid Washington vehicle registration plates in the following ways:
- Remove or invalidate the month and year tabs and fold the plates so they can no longer be used
- Shreds the entire board
- After removing or invalidating the month and year tag, recycle the license plate in such a way that it cannot be mistaken for a valid Washington license plate
How to Cancel vehicle registration / license plates in the USA: Wisconsin?
When you sell, dispose of, or retire a vehicle in Wisconsin, you can transfer most valid plates to another vehicle of the same type. For example: car to car or truck to truck (of the same weight). The other vehicle must also be registered by you, your spouse or common-law partner. Plates for trucks registered at 10,000 pounds or more, farm trucks registered at 16,000 pounds or more, mopeds, trailers, and RV trailers must remain with the vehicle when sold. If you renew your plates and then dispose of the vehicle by selling or trashing it, or if you move out of Wisconsin after the new registration period begins, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation ( WisDOT ) cannot refund the unused portion of the registration fee. A refund of fees paid for consecutive annual, quarterly, or monthly registration is allowed if requested prior to the start of the new registration period. For biennial registration (12,000 pound motorcycles and farm tags), the second year of registration may be refunded prior to the start of the second year. If you have questions about canceling a car in Wisconsin, you should email the Wisconsin DMV.