How to Get a Temporary License Plate in New Jersey

In New Jersey, you can only get a temporary license plate, or temp tag, from a licensed dealership.
Written by Shannon Fitzgerald
Edited by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
background
In
New Jersey
, you can only get a temporary license plate—or temp tag—issued to you from a licensed dealership. Most temporary tags will expire within 30 days.
  • Only licensed dealers can issue temporary license plates in
    New Jersey
     
  • Law enforcement is developing new tactics to combat temp tag fraud in the Garden State

Does New Jersey issue temporary plates?

Yes, but you will need to acquire them from a licensed dealer. Also known as temporary tags, these paper license plates allow drivers to legally operate a new car or newly-acquired used car for 30 days. During this time, the dealership will transfer the title and
complete registration
Dealers are authorized to print these tags on special, weather-durable paper through the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC)’s
temp tag service
. However, they are required to provide their dealer license number and other identifying information to confirm their entitlement to the service. 

How secure are temporary New Jersey license plates? 

New Jersey is constantly working to combat the creation of fraudulent temporary vehicle tags across the state. 
Recently, these efforts include: 
  • Redesigning temporary license plate tags to enlarge the expiration date
  • Implementing unique QR codes for law enforcement officers to identify which vehicle dealer issued the temp tag
  • Instituting fingerprinting and background checks for licensed dealers to use the e-temp tag system
In the event that a temp tag is stolen from a vehicle, drivers must show proof that they’ve reported the missing tag to law enforcement so the dealer can provide a replacement. The reissued tag will contain the same expiration date, but the tag number and code will be different.  
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How to get a temporary license plate in New Jersey 

If you’ve purchased a new or used vehicle in New Jersey, but your
vanity plates
or disability placard hasn’t come in yet, you’ll usually receive a temporary license plate. There is always a chance a standard license plate might also be delayed. 
In these scenarios, a temporary tag will be printed by the car dealership. The tag must be fixed to the back of your car in place of the standard plate. This temporary tag will last 30 days, and you can receive an extension of 30 days if needed—you will need to go through your car dealer to obtain this extension.
While most dealerships will cover the cost of a temporary tag, some may charge you a $5 resident fee or a $7 non-resident fee. Additional reprints (if the first tag is lost or stolen) will cost another $5 or $7 plus a $25 additional fee. 

Non-resident temporary registration permit in New Jersey 

Due to New Jersey’s proximity to states like
New York
and
Pennsylvania
, there are cases in which drivers living in either of those states may purchase a vehicle in New Jersey but require permanent plates from their home state. 
Because it is illegal to drive any vehicle without registration plates in New Jersey, non-resident buyers of cars in New Jersey may apply for a temporary non-resident registration (
Form BA-49
). It costs $5 and, if approved, permits the driver to drive back to their state of residence within 30 days. 
To complete this application, you will need to provide: 
  • An original New Jersey certificate of title with your out-of-state address 
  • Proof of your out-of-state address
  • Proof of insurance that meets New Jersey’s requirements
  • Identification for the primary vehicle owner (e.g., a driver’s license) 
MORE: What counts as proof of residency in New Jersey?

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

No. New Jersey law enforcement will issue you a citation if you attempt to drive without license plates, regardless of the circumstances. 
If you are not buying your vehicle from a dealer (who will provide you a temporary tag), you will need to head to an MVC office to register your vehicle and receive your permanent license plates before driving it off the lot. 
Non-residents can also apply for a temporary vehicle registration at a motor vehicle agency if necessary. 
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