How to Get a Temporary License Plate in Michigan

You can get a temporary Michigan registration permit by making an appointment with your local SOS office and showing proof of insurance and vehicle ownership.
Written by Joshua Levy
Edited by Pat Roache
The state of Michigan no longer issues temporary license plates. Instead, Michigan drivers can apply for temporary registration permits in person at a Michigan Secretary of State office. 
  • Temporary registration permits cost $20 for 30 days or $40 for 60 days, plus a $10 additional fee for processing.
  • You can drive a new car without license plates in Michigan until the expiration date of your temporary registration permit, at which time you’ll need to display a valid license plate and registration tab.
  • Temporary license plate fraud is a serious issue across the US, which is why states like Michigan have stopped issuing temporary license plates. 

Michigan does not offer temporary license plates

Michigan does not offer temporary license plates, but the state allows drivers to apply for temporary registration permits that serve the same purpose. 
You’ll have two options when you apply for a temporary registration permit at your local Secretary of State (SOS) office:
  • 30-day temporary registration permit: $20
  • 60-day registration permit: $40
What it means: Temporary registration permits allow Michigan drivers to legally hit the road while they wait for their vehicle registration to process and their permanent Michigan license plates to arrive in the mail.
Unfortunately, you can’t get a temporary registration permit online, so you’ll need to apply in person at your local DMV/SOS office.
MORE: How to register a car in Michigan
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How to get a temporary registration permit in Michigan

You can apply for a temporary registration permit at your
local Secretary of State office
. You’ll need the following documents with your application:
  • Proof of vehicle ownership (such as the vehicle title)
  • Proof of insurance
  • Permit fee (depending on the permit you request)
Once you’ve gathered all the documents you need, just follow these steps to apply for your very own temporary registration permit:
  1. Make an appointment at your local Secretary of State office.
  2. Specify whether you’d like the 30-day or 60-day registration permit.
  3. Present the aforementioned documents to your representative.
  4. Pay the registration fee: $20 for a 30-day permit or $40 for a 60-day permit.
  5. Pay an additional $10 service fee
From there, the representative will provide you with your temporary permit and you’ll be good to go! 
Keep in mind: Temporary registration permits typically make the most sense in situations like the following:
  • You just bought a new car but are moving out of state in the next few weeks
  • You’re due for a registration renewal a few weeks before moving out of state
  • You’re waiting for legal paperwork to process or for new plates to be issued
MORE: Michigan car insurance laws: Everything you need to know

Driving a new car without plates in Michigan

Temporary registration permits allow drivers to bring their new vehicle home from the dealership without a license plate. The temporary vehicle registration includes the following information that law enforcement can use to verify the legal status of your car:
  • License plate number
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
Once the temporary permit expires: You’ll need to display the following on your vehicle to legally drive it on Michigan roadways once your temporary permit expires:
  • A valid license plate
  • A current registration tab
MORE: Does Michigan require front license plates?

Temporary license plate fraud

Temporary license plates have historically been used throughout the United States for the following fraudulent activity: 
  • Evading law enforcement officers
  • Skipping the proper registration process
  • Tricking highway patrol officers. 
Many people have also taken advantage of the temporary license plate system because they’re often easy to forge. As a result, states like Michigan have stopped offering temporary plates altogether.
MORE: The penalties for using fake proof of insurance
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