How to Extend a Temporary License Tag

by Stephanie Mojica
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A temporary tag allows you to immediately drive a new or used car purchased from a dealer. The license plates, usually made of cardboard, are good for 30 days in every state of the United States. The aim of temporary tags is to allow you and the dealer time to transfer the registration. If you actually paid for the car rather than securing a loan, this process also enables the dealer to transfer the title of ownership to you. While some states do not allow you to extend a temporary tag in the event of an unexpected delay, others do permit you to do so with the dealer’s consent.

Step 1

Call or visit the dealer from which you purchased the car. It’s really important to do this at least a few days before the temporary tag expires. Once the tag expires, your car is legally considered unregistered and this can lead to financial and driving-record consequences if you are pulled over by law enforcement while driving the vehicle.

Step 2

Ask the dealer if you can extend the temporary tag. You may need to explain why. Sometimes people become too busy to go to their local department of motor vehicles to secure long-term license plates. Other times an unexpected financial emergency can cause a person to be unable to pay the expected taxes and fees associated with a new or used car purchase.

Your dealer may note that he or she is unable to extend the tags, due to business preference or the fact that your state does not allow this type of extension. One of the states that would not permit you or your dealer to extend the temporary license plates is Georgia.

Step 3

Visit or call your local department of motor vehicles if your dealer is not cooperative or you learn that in your state only the motor vehicles agency can permit the extension. If you visit the agency, briefly explain to the clerk you need to extend your temporary tags. You will usually be expected to fill out a form and pay a one-time fee by cash or credit card.

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