In Delaware you must register your vehicle within 30 days of purchasing it or within 90 days of becoming a resident. You can retain your plates for a small fee, but you must surrender them if you are moving out of state or canceling your insurance.
All vehicles must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Delaware. This includes cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, and motorhomes.
If you are a new resident in Delaware, you have 60 days to register your vehicle.
If you are buying a new or used vehicle, you have 30 days to register your vehicle.
When you are registering your vehicle for license plates in Delaware, be sure to have the following:
Note: When you buy a vehicle from a dealer, they will usually handle the registration of your vehicle’s license plates.
These are just a few of the fees you’ll be required to pay when you register your vehicle at the DMV:
The standard license plate in Delaware has a blue background with gold letters. You can also choose from the following types of license plates:
If you are eligible, you can obtain a disability placard, which is to be hung from your rearview mirror. Or you can get a disability license plate instead. These are available for:
Whether you obtain the placard or the license plate, you will be permitted to park in any handicapped parking spaces.
Out-of-state placards and license plates are valid in Delaware. If you become a resident, you will be obligated to register your vehicle and obtain new plates or placard.
For just $40 (in addition to your standard registration fees), you can get a personalized license plate.
On this plate, you can:
You can look up available license plates for free online.
There are many specialty license plates to choose from in Delaware, from ornamental styles to proud representations of your school, state, or charity. Here’s are some of the most common specialty plates you can get:
Additional fees are required for these specialty plates. For example, an antique-vehicle plate will cost you $25.
Delaware requires you to have only 1 license plate, which must be placed on the rear of the vehicle. This license plate must:
Don’t get caught without a license plate; see lost or missing plates for more information.
Here are the fees for lost, stolen, or damaged license plates in Delaware:
You must report your plates to the police if they were stolen. The DMV will provide you with temporary tags or plates until your new license plates are delivered.
You may be able to apply for the same license plate number. However, you may want to get a new one to avoid problems if your plate was stolen.
If you are the owner of a new vehicle, you can transfer your old license plates. You can also request to retain your license plates until you have purchased a new vehicle.
You must visit your local DMV office to apply for a transfer. When you do, remember to bring:
If you are buying a new car from a dealership or trading in, often they will handle the transfer of your license plates for you.
Perhaps you want to use your license plates for a future vehicle, but you haven’t purchased one yet. In this case, you can retain your license plates at the DMV office. Here’s what you’ll pay:
When you purchase a new vehicle, you can return to the DMV to register with your retained plates.
If you plan on moving to a new state or country, you’ll have to surrender your license plates. Other situations requiring you to surrender your plates include:
If you cannot return your license plates in person, you can also mail them to a DMV office in Delaware.
In some situations, you may want to perform a background check on the vehicle you are purchasing, or check if a license plate number is available.
FindByPlate offers a free search engine allowing you to look up license plates in Delaware.
Find out if the car you’re thinking about buying was stolen, or whether “CUTECARE” is available to personalize your plate.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to look up Delaware license plates and report bad drivers: