How Temporary License Plates Work in Pennsylvania

You may need temporary Pennsylvania plates if there’s a delay with your registration or if you are registering an out-of-state vehicle.
Written by Sean Boehme
Edited by Georgina Grant
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
residents may be issued temporary registration plates when they purchase a car through a licensed dealer or register an out-of-state vehicle with the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
  • A licensed dealer may issue you temporary
    Pennsylvania license plates
    if there’s a delay with your title transfer and registration documents.
  • You may also need temporary plates if you are registering an out-of-state vehicle in Pennsylvania.
  • Temporary Pennsylvania license plates last for 90 days.

How Pennsylvania temporary license plates work

Licensed car dealers in the state of Pennsylvania are capable of issuing you temporary license plates that last up to 90 days. They must always be obtained from an agent licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Many people use fraudulent license plates as a way to avoid paying taxes or fines in PA, and therefore the state has to be very careful about who is issued these plates.
Make safe driving pay
Get rewarded for safe driving. Earn points and unlock benefits. Totally free.
Start earning now

Who needs Pennsylvania temporary license plates?

You may be issued temporary Pennsylvania license plates if:
  • The dealership is unable to complete your vehicle registration on the spot: When you purchase a car from a legitimate car dealership in Pennsylvania, they will do their best to transfer your PA title and complete your
    vehicle registration
    . If they are unable to access any documents or the process takes longer, you may be issued temporary plates. If the dealership is unable to help with this, or if you are buying from a private seller, your best bet is to contact the
    Pennsylvania DMV
  • You are registering an out-of-state vehicle in Pennsylvania: You will likely receive temporary plates when you surrender your out-of-state title and submit your application for a Pennsylvania title to the DMV.
rating reverse-full
"I’m earning
awesome rewards
every week, just for driving safe!”

Car registration fees in Pennsylvania

Depending on your situation, here are some of the registration fees that may apply when you are issued temporary Pennsylvania plates:

Can I drive a car without plates I just bought in Pennsylvania?

You should never drive a car without Pennsylvania license plates or some form of temporary registration.
Keep in mind: The fine for driving an unregistered vehicle in Pennsylvania starts at $75.
makes choosing new insurance as easy as grocery shopping. Even though I had a car accident within the past 2 years, Jerry found me a great deal with Nationwide–I went from paying $340 to $90 a month!”—Pan N.
Are you overpaying for your car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees
icon4.717k Ratings
5M+Drivers Joined
7M+Cars Garaged
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings