How to Cancel Plates & Registration on a Vehicle

A vehicle owner may surrender his license plate at the DMV.
A vehicle owner may surrender his license plate at the DMV. (Image: ky license plate image by timur1970 from

You will need to surrender your license plate and cancel your car registration if you have sold your vehicle or if you plan to take it off the road. This tells the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that you no longer own the car, which exempts you from having to pay taxes and other fees associated with the vehicle.

Things You'll Need

  • Registration card
  • License plate
  • Decals

Locate a Department of Motor Vehicles office in your area. Search your local yellow pages to find the one nearest you.

Bring your license plate, registration card and decals to the DMV office to surrender them to the DMV clerk. Decals are stickers that you receive when you register your vehicle with DMV. These stickers are placed on your license plate and need to be renewed every year.

Fill out the appropriate forms. Let the clerk know you also want to cancel your car registration.

Mail your license plate, decal and a signed letter requesting cancellation to the DMV. Contact your local DMV office to get the address of its central services division. Send your items by a traceable delivery method with a delivery confirmation. Once your request is processed, the DMV will send a letter confirming the cancellation. Keep this letter for your records.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not cancel your car insurance until you have surrendered your license plate to avoid penalties and fees from the DMV and your insurance provider.

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