How to Get a Temporary License Plate in Texas

Only licensed dealers are authorized to issue temporary license plates in Texas.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Edited by Bellina Gaskey
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
background
The only way to get a temporary license plate in Texas is to go through the dealership where you bought your car.
  • You can get a temporary paper tag as a temporary license plate from your Texas dealership.
  • Texas has had a problem with fake tags, so you can only get them through an authorized dealer.
  • You can also get a temporary registration permit if you’re still working out your proper Texas registration.

Does Texas issue temporary plates?

Yes—the
Texas
department of motor vehicles allows licensed dealers to issue temporary license plates, also known as temporary tags or paper tags.
These provisional paper license plates allow buyers to legally drive a vehicle for 45 days while the dealer completes the title and registration process
The only way to get temporary plates in Texas is through a licensed dealer. Only dealers are authorized to use the state’s
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How to get a temporary license plate in Texas

Due to these legal troubles, you can only get valid temporary plates from a licensed Texas dealer. Any online ads you may find are a criminal scheme—and you can
report the misuse
of temporary tags to the TxDMV. 
If you need temporary plates, you should only get them from the dealer you bought your vehicle from. If the registration and title process still isn’t complete after your 45-day temporary plates expire, you can report the dealership to the Texas DMV. 
MORE: Texas replacement title

Temporary registration permits in Texas

In certain circumstances, you may need a temporary registration for a
vehicle in Texas
. But each permit has an expiration date.
You can get a temporary registration permit for 72 hours, 144 hours, 30 days, or one trip if: 
  • Your vehicle is not registered
  • Your vehicle is registered out of state without a reciprocity agreement with Texas
  • Your vehicle is not registered for its maximum weight 
Further eligibility restrictions apply to each type of permit, so
read the instructions
carefully to determine what kind of permit is right for you. 
Here’s what each type of permit costs (on top of a $4.75 processing fee): 
  • 72-hour permit: $25
  • 144-hour permit: $50
  • 30-day permit: $25
  • One-trip permit: $5
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Can I drive a car without plates if I just bought it in Texas? 

If you buy a car in the state of Texas and the seller keeps the plates, you can
print a transit permit
based on the car’s VIN. This permit legally authorizes you to drive the vehicle home or to your local county tax assessor’s office for registration. 
But beware! It’s only valid for five days—after that, you won’t be able to drive the car without plates. 

Texas temporary license plates and fraud 

Texas temporary tags have received a lot of negative attention in the last decade due to widespread fraud. 
Criminals have been using fake temporary tags to avoid being identified by law enforcement, costing the state upwards of $200 million in lost revenue since 2018. 
To access the temporary tags system, criminals pay $900 to register online as licensed dealers. They then print out and sell temporary tags as part of a massive criminal enterprise.
The solution: As of 2022, new bills have authorized TxDMV to: 
  • Limit the number of temporary tags any dealership can issue in a single year
  • Revoke the license of any dealership caught issuing fraudulent temporary plates
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