How Do I Get Temporary Plates in Pennsylvania?

by Maia Adams
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In Pennsylvania, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is responsible for registering vehicles and issuing license plates. When you buy a new or used vehicle the registration must be updated at the time of title transfer. A temporary plate will be issued if you do not have your own license plate to transfer to the vehicle. Temporary plates are valid for 90 days and may be obtained from the DMV or from an authorized Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) agent.

Step 1

Obtain proof of insurance. Before you can be issued temporary plates you must verify current insurance coverage. You'll need a copy of your insurance identification card or the declaration page of your insurance policy.

Step 2

Go to your local DMV office. You may also go to any tag service or motor vehicle dealership that's an authorized PennDOT agent. To find authorized agents, go to and click on "Find a PennDOT location near you."

Step 3

Complete the Application for Temporary Registration Plates (MV-351). The DMV and authorized agents will have this form available. You may also download and print the form from

Step 4

Prepare your payment. You'll need to have a check or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The fee for each temporary registration plate is, as of this writing (June 2011), $5.

Step 5

Receive your plates. If you apply in person, temporary plates will be given to you then and there by the DMV or the authorized PennDOT agent. Your permanent Pennsylvania license plates will arrive by mail within 8 to10 weeks.

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