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Required plate replacement

When is a license plate required to be replaced?

When a vehicle changes ownership, the new owner will need to replace the plates.

There are exceptions – Plates don't need to be replaced if:

  • You're removing a deceased spouse or domestic partner.
  • The vehicle is transferred:
    • between spouse or domestic partner.
    • by gift or inheritance to the owner's immediate family.
    • into or out of a trust in which the registered owner or their immediate family are the beneficiary of the trust.

For buyers of a vehicle

For sellers of a vehicle

  • You can:
    • Keep the plates of the vehicle you sell to put on another vehicle. Fees will apply.
    • or
    • You can dispose of them, see Dispose of old plates.
  • If you purchased tabs just before or after you sold the vehicle you may be able to get a refund

For buyers and sellers

Mailbox requirements

If your mailbox is smaller than 12½" x 6½", the post office may not be able to deliver them. They'll be returned to the licensing office that mailed them. You must be registered with the post office to receive mail at the address provided.

What do to with your old plates

To find out how to dispose of your old license plates, see Dispose of old plates.

Update your Good To Go! account, if needed

If you have a Good To Go! electronic tolling pass, be sure to update the contact information on your account with the Department of Transportation:

Related information

Washington Healthcare Finder
Good To Go!
Access Washington – official state government website