How to Get a Temporary License Plate in Illinois

You can get a 90-day temporary license plate in Illinois from a licensed dealer or a secretary of state office.
Written by Shannon Fitzgerald
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
You can obtain a temporary registration permit, or TRP, as a temporary license plate in Illinois either directly from the dealer or from a secretary of state’s office. 
When you
buy a new car
in Illinois, you cannot legally hit the road until you have a valid Illinois license plate displayed. Because receiving your permanent license plate can sometimes be delayed, the state allows licensed dealers to issue TRPs to display in place of the license plate for a period of 90 days
Due to ongoing efforts to combat temporary license plate fraud, however, getting a temporary license plate in
can be complicated. That’s why we've compiled everything you’ll need to know to get a temporary license plate in the Prairie State.
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Does Illinois issue temporary plates?

Yes. If you buy a car from a licensed dealership, they will issue you a paper temporary registration permit (TRP) to display in place of a license plate. As long as this permit is displayed on the back of your car, you are permitted to drive with it for a period of 90 days while the dealer transfers the title and completes
vehicle registration
Private sellers, on the other hand, are not usually authorized by the state to issue TRPs. Therefore, if you buy from a private seller, you are legally allowed to drive the vehicle without a license plate for 24 hours in order to get yourself to a secretary of state facility where a TRP can be issued. Be sure to have the title on hand during this plate-less drive. 

How secure are temporary Illinois license plates? 

Like many states, fraudulent temporary plates continue to be a problem in Illinois. Because of this, the Secretary of State recently redesigned TRPs to be more durable and easier for law enforcement to verify. 
Illinois has actually been a frontrunner in monitoring temporary license plates for validity. They were the first state in the nation to put temporary plates directly into the law enforcement agency data system (LEADS) so officers could quickly identify the vehicle’s owner from a scan. The new TRP design enlarges the bar code and expiration date for law enforcement, and prints the plate on a material that can better withstand car washes and wet weather. 
Additionally, the temporary license plate application procedure has added new securities. Now licensed dealers must have already completed applications for the title and registration before the TRP can be issued. Adding this preliminary step ensures that vehicle ownership is properly transferred to the purchaser. 
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How to get a temporary license plate in Illinois

Drivers who have submitted a title and registration application, but are waiting for their license plates to come in, are eligible for a TRP. This can often happen when a driver has purchased
custom license plates
for a new vehicle, or when a driver requires plates with a disability placard. 
Of course, there can be delays in receiving standard license plates for a newly acquired vehicle, too. Illinois license plates are assigned by driver—not car—so even if a used vehicle already has plates on it, these must be removed and replaced before the new car-owner can drive away in it. 

Temporary registration permits in Illinois

As a means of covering the time between a vehicle’s registration and receipt of valid license plates, Illinois issues temporary registration permits (TRPs). This temporary license plate must be fixed to the back of your vehicle (in lieu of the regular license plate) and is valid for a period of 90 days. 
Temporary registration permits can only be issued from the following sources: 
  • Licensed dealers
  • Secretary of State facilities 
  • Remittance agents 
  • Currency exchanges
There are circumstances in which you can apply for a separate type of temporary registration permit, as well. They are as follows: 
  • The 7-day intrastate permit—costs $10 and provides temporary registration for unregistered vehicles within Illinois (for EPA testing, test-driving, inspections etc.) 
  • The 90-day drive-away permit—costs $27 and allows non-residents who purchased vehicles in Illinois to leave the state to apply for a title in their state of residence
Each of these separate TRPs require the driver to affix the permit to the upper left rear window, serving more pointedly as temporary registration rather than a temporary license plate. To apply, you will need to fill out
an application
and send it along with the proper payment to the enclosed address. 
Note The limits for these separate TRPs were updated in 2021 to no longer include the 30-day permit. You can read more details from the
Secretary of State

Can I drive a car without plates if I just bought it in Illinois? 

Yes—but only for a period of 24 hours. In the event that you have not received a 90-day TRP from a dealer or viable source, you may drive your car without plates straight to a secretary of state office to apply for a TRP there. To do this, you must be sure to have your certificate of title on hand and you must make no pit stops on your way. 

How to find affordable car insurance in Illinois

Covering your newly purchased vehicle with
valid car insurance
goes hand-in-hand with acquiring temporary plates. Fortunately, while obtaining TRPs can be tricky, obtaining affordable car insurance doesn’t have to be—
can help! 
The app is free to use and instantly compares quotes from over 55 top insurers to track down the lowest rates available to you. See a plan you like? Simply select it through the
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and Jerry’s expert brokers will help handle all the transition calls and paperwork. 
The average user ends up saving more than $800 a year on car insurance, so it’s definitely worth a look to keep that new car covered for less! 
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