How Much Is A Delaware License Plate?

In the state of Delaware, license plate fees vary depending on the type of license plate you choose. The fee for passenger vehicle registration is $40 per year, which includes the cost of your standard license plate.
If you want a vanity plate, it will cost $40 in addition to your standard registration fee. Additional taxes and fees apply to both new and renewal registrations.

In Delaware, vehicles are required to have only a rear license plate.

Every state in the US requires a rear license plate. While some states require a rear plate only, other states require a front license plate in addition to the rear plate.
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What are the Steps to Get a Delaware License Plate?

Here are the steps for getting a new license plate from the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

1. Gather all necessary documents. Gather your ownership documentation, such as the vehicle title, bill of sale, or manufacturer's certificate of origin. You'll also need proof of insurance and your Delaware driver's license.
2. Vehicle inspection. Visit a Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) inspection lane to have your vehicle inspected for safety and emissions. If you pass, you will be given an inspection certificate that is valid for 60 days.
3. Visit the DMV. Bring your documents, inspection certificate, and driver's license to any of your local DMV offices in Delaware. Prepare to spend some quality time in line—perhaps contemplating the meaning of life or your ideal personalized plate.
4. Fill out the paperwork. Fill out the required vehicle registration application form, which is usually available at the DMV or online. If you provide inaccurate information, your form will be rejected, and you will have to restart the process.
5. Pay the fees. Prepare to spend some of your hard-earned cash on registration, title, and other fees. The age, weight, and type of your vehicle will determine the exact amount. Remember that the standard license plate fee is included in the registration fee.
6. Receive your plates. After successfully navigating the maze of forms and fees, you'll be rewarded with your gleaming new Delaware license plates. Attach them to your vehicle as directed by the DMV.

The Cost of License Plates In Delaware

There are different types of license plates: passenger license plates, commercial vehicle plates, special license plates, trailer plates, and motorcycle plates.
License plates measure 6 by 12 inches and are rectangular (motorcycle license plates are smaller, measuring 4 by 7 inches).

The Delaware license plate has seven characters (across the 50 states, license plates have anywhere from six to eight characters).

How Much Are Standard License Plates in Delaware?

When you pay for your vehicle registration in Delaware, your $40 registration fee also covers standard license plates.

Here is a list of vehicle types that can typically display a standard license plate:

1. Passenger cars.
2. Non-commercial pickup trucks.
3. Sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
4. Minivans and vans.
5. Motorhomes and recreational vehicles (RVs).
6. Standard license plates are issued in any of the following scenarios:

  • The replacement of special interest license plates with standard plates
  • Purchase of a new vehicle
  • Buying a used car in Delaware
  • Replacing damaged, lost, or stolen license plates

Delaware Vanity Plate

A vanity plate, also known as a personalized plate, gives you the freedom to express your unique personality on the road by selecting any allowed combination of letters and numbers.

A Delaware vanity plate is $40 in addition to the $40 registration fee, and you can only apply online through the Delaware DMV website. You can also mail the special order plate application form to the address listed on the form.

Delaware has a few rules and restrictions for vanity plate customization. You're limited to just seven characters. And while you can mix and match letters and numbers to your heart's content, you won't be able to add any punctuation or special characters to the mix (sorry, no hashtags here).

Of course, anything offensive or inappropriate is off-limits. Also, your personalized plate can't make any references to illegal activities or substances (we don't want any trouble with the law). Finally, be sure to pick something unique—no copycatting allowed!

The combinations listed below are strictly off-limits:

1. Prefixes such as "A, C, CL, CT, CY, D, DAV, DL, DX, F, FD, FT, FV, HA, I, LX, MC, MCB, MCE, MCJ, MH, MIA, MP, NO 1, NO 2, NO 3, OH, PC, POW, PT, R, RT, RV, S, SR, T, TC, TV, TX, U, V" accompanied by any numbers.
2. Any specialty plate prefixes paired with numbers.
3. The letter "I" or "O" immediately succeeded by a number.
4. Combinations consisting solely of letters "I" and "O" and numbers "1" and "0."
5. The Delaware DMV will review and approve your custom license plate application after you submit it. If your application does not follow the guidelines or if the combination of characters is already in use, the DMV will reject it.

Delaware Specialty Plates

Delaware specialty license plates cost $40 in addition to the $40 registration fee. Delaware, like many other states, allows you to support a cause or organization by purchasing a specialty license plate that commemorates that organization or cause. From supporting military troops to showcasing your love for history, there is a specialty plate to fit your interests.

Some of the money from Delaware specialty plate fees helps fund related programs and projects. This means that you can show off your passion and help your community at the same time.

Here are the special interest license plates Delaware offers:

  • Air Medal
  • Air Force Commendation
  • Army Commendation
  • Bronze Star
  • Bronze Star without Valor
  • Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Distinguished Service Cross
  • Navy Commendation Medal
  • Navy Cross
  • Silver Star

Greek organizations
  • AKA Tag (Alpha Kappa Alpha)
  • Alpha Phi Alpha
  • Delta Sigma Theta
  • Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship
  • Kappa Alpha Psi
  • Omega Psi Phi
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
  • Zeta Phi Beta

Schools and universities
  • Cape Henlopen High School
  • Caravel Academy
  • Caesar Rodney Centennial
  • Conrad HS Alumni
  • Delaware State University
  • Delaware Technical University
  • Dover High School
  • East Carolina University
  • Felton High School
  • Goldey Beacom College
  • Harrington High School
  • Indian River HS Alumni
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Newark High School
  • Notre Dame
  • Ohio State University
  • Penn State University
  • Purdue University Alumni
  • Salesianum Alumni
  • St. Joseph's University
  • Temple University
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • US Naval Academy
  • Villanova University
  • Virginia Tech
  • Wesley College
  • West Point
  • West Virginia University
  • Wilmington University

Military and veterans
  • Disabled American Veterans
  • Disabled American Veterans with Special Parking
  • Gold Star Family
  • Honorably Discharged Military Veteran
  • Honoring Veterans
  • Korean War Veteran
  • National Guard
  • Pearl Harbor Survivor
  • Prisoner of War
  • Purple Heart
  • Reserve Forces
  • Retired Army
  • Retired Coast Guard
  • Retired Marine
  • Retired Navy
  • Retired New Castle PD
  • Retired State Police
  • Submarine Service
  • Vietnam Veteran
  • World War II

Organizations and causes
  • American Legion
  • Animal Welfare
  • Antique Automobile
  • Antique Motorcycle
  • Attack Addiction
  • Autism Acceptance and Inclusion
  • Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Buffalo Soldiers
  • Cancer Support Community
  • Conquer Childhood Cancer
  • Correctional Officers Association of Delaware
  • Credit Union
  • Delaware Association of Realtors
  • Delaware Civil Air Patrol
  • Delaware East Carolina University
  • Delaware Episcopal Diocese
  • Delaware Mobile Surf Fisherman
  • Delaware Organ Donor
  • Delaware Senior Olympics
  • Delaware State Fair
  • Delaware Veterans
  • Delaware William Henry High School Alumni
  • Delmar
  • Delta Waterfowl
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Elks Lodge
  • Environmental Lighthouse
  • Farm Bureau
  • Farm Preservation
  • Flyers Charities
  • Fraternal Order of Police
  • Keep Delaware Beautiful
  • Kings Point - Merchant Marine
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Ladies Auxiliary
  • Law Enforcement Memorial
  • Lions Club
  • Loyal Order of Moose
  • Marine Education Research / Rehabilitation (MERR) plate
  • Marine Corp League
  • Masonic Mason
  • Migratory Shorebirds
  • Nanticoke

Delaware Black and White Tag Program

Delaware black and white plates cost $120, in addition to the $40 registration fee. Delaware's black and white tag program allows vehicle owners to purchase and display a vintage-style plate with white lettering and numbers over a classic black background. The plate’s aesthetic is reminiscent of those issued in the mid-20th century. Black and white plates offer a unique, retro look that stands out from Delaware’s other license plate offerings.
These plates are either porcelain or stainless steel, and are limited in number.

If you want to buy and display black and white license plates in Delaware, your plate number must meet the following requirements:

  • Numbers Only: up to 86999
  • C (Commercial): up to C9999
  • D (Dealer): order at DMV, not online
  • MC (Motorcycle): up to MC9999
  • HAM (Amateur Radio): 5 digits/letters

Stainless steel:
  • Numbers Only: up to 200000
  • C (Commercial): up to C50000
  • D (Dealer): order at DMV, not online
  • FT (Farm Truck): up to FT9999
  • PC (Pleasure Commercial): up to PC9999
  • T (Trailer): up to T9999

To apply for a black and white tag, your license plate number must fall within the permitted ranges for each plate type. Vehicle owners with eligible license plate numbers are eligible for the program. It is important to note that not all plate types (for example, vanity, special/college/military, recreational vehicle, and amateur radio plates) can be reproduced in black and white.

If your license plate number meets the requirements, you can apply for a black and white tag in person at the Delaware DMV, online, or by mailing the form to the following address:

The Delaware Historic Plate Company

P.O. Box 9261 Newark,
DE 19714
(302) 369-TAGS (8247)
fax: (302) 737-6499

Disability License Plate and Placards

If you or someone you know has a disability that limits their mobility, Delaware has a disability license plate or placard that grants them access to parking spaces reserved specifically for them.

A disability license plate must be permanently attached to the vehicle, whereas a placard can be moved from one vehicle to another.

A disability license plate costs $10 in addition to the vehicle registration fee, whereas disability placards are free of charge.

Apply in person for a disability placard at your local DMV branch. Applicants 85 years of age or older may submit the application online.

To apply for a disability license plate, you will need to submit the following:

  • A certification by a licensed physician on the application form to verify your disability
  • A completed application for a special license or special parking ID placard for persons with disabilities
  • Payment of $10 for the license plate

Disabled veterans can request a “DAV-HP” disabled veteran license plate by filling out and submitting this form.

How to Order a Delaware License Plate

You can order a license plate in Delaware by mail, online, or in person at a DMV office. Here are the steps for ordering license plates in Delaware:

Select the type of license plate. Choose from standard, specialty, or vanity plates.

Check for availability. Ensure that your desired plate configuration is available for personalized plates by using the online plate search tool.

Fill out and submit the appropriate Delaware DMV license plate application form. Depending on the type of Delaware plate you want, you can find links to the respective forms here and here. If you can’t find the correct form for your desired plate, inquire at your local DMV office, and they can help you.

Once approved, your new license plate will be mailed to you or you can pick it up at a local DMV office, depending on the delivery method you choose. You can then install the new plate.

Delaware Emissions Testing

Delaware values clean air and requires emissions testing to ensure that your vehicle meets state and federal emissions standards. This reduces pollution and protects the environment.

Car inspections are required when titling for the first time or renewing registration. Emissions testing ensures that all DE vehicles meet the state's emissions and exhaust standards. The type of smog test depends on the vehicle's type and model year.

Here are the types of smog tests your vehicle might undergo, depending on its model year:
  • Idle tests: for cars produced from 1968 to 1980
  • Two-speed tests: for cars from 1981 to 1995
  • OBDII tests: for cars from 1996 onwards that are at least 5 model years old

Required documents:

  • Current vehicle registration card
  • Proof of valid Delaware auto insurance policy

Smog check exemptions:

  • Passenger cars made in 1967 or older
  • Vehicles made within the last 5 years
  • Cars weighing 10,000 pounds or less
  • Diesel-fueled vehicles manufactured before 1997

Emissions Waivers

Emissions waivers provide relief to vehicle owners who have made a good faith effort to repair their vehicle's emissions problems but still failed the required emissions tests. These waivers allow the vehicle to be registered despite not meeting the emissions standards. Certain criteria must be met to qualify for an emissions waiver in Delaware.

Qualifying criteria for emissions waivers:

1. The vehicle has failed two or more emissions inspections despite having completed the necessary repairs.
2. The engine parameters have been set to the manufacturer's specifications.
3. The vehicle failed the test for reasons other than missing emissions control equipment or visible smoke.
4. The vehicle meets or exceeds the repair cost limit:

  • $75 for vehicle models between 1968 and 1980
  • $879 for vehicles in Kent or New Castle County with model years of 1981 or newer
  • $200 for vehicles registered in Sussex County with model years of 1981 or newer

You can provide the DMV technician with all vehicle inspection reports (VIR) and repair receipts.

Applying for an Emissions Waiver

If your vehicle meets the above criteria, you can apply for an emissions waiver at the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles. Prepare to provide documentation of your vehicle's repairs, as well as vehicle inspection reports and repair receipts.

Waivers are not granted for the fuel or safety portions of the test, and obtaining a waiver does not exempt the vehicle from future emissions testing requirements. Vehicle owners are encouraged to address underlying emissions issues to ensure long-term compliance with Delaware's emissions standards.

Delaware Title Transfers

In the state of Delaware, titling and registration are done at the same time. When purchasing a used car, you will need to provide your local Delaware DMV office with the following:

  • Vehicle title certificate
  • Vehicle bill of sale
  • Fill out the certificate of title application (Form MV-212)
  • Proof of valid Delaware insurance
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Emissions certificate
  • Title transfer fee: $35
  • Payment for Delaware sales tax: 4.25% of the purchase price of the vehicle

See our guide to transferring a Delaware vehicle title for more information on the process.

Delaware Vehicle Registration

Registration in Delaware costs $40. To apply for a Delaware license plate, you must have a valid Delaware car registration card from the Delaware DMV. To register your vehicle, you will first need to transfer the title.

You will need to submit the following documents to your local DMV office:

  • Proof of valid Delaware auto insurance policy
  • A valid Delaware driver’s license or two documents that prove your identity (identification card and passport)
  • The vehicle’s signed-over title
  • Payment for the registration fee: $40
  • If you've just purchased a used car from a private seller, you'll need to pay Delaware vehicle sales tax

Delaware License Plate Replacement Fees

The fee to replace a lost license plate is $10.
To get a replacement, you need to bring the following to the Delaware DMV:

1. Proof of identification
2. Current vehicle registration or a copy
3. Payment for the duplicate plate fee: $10
4. Report lost or stolen plates: if your license plate was lost or stolen, file a police report and provide a copy to the DMV.

How Do I Register an Out of State Vehicle in Delaware?

“New residents must title and register their vehicles within 60 days after becoming a Delaware resident. State law requires changes of address to be reported to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 30 days.” (“Guidelines for New Residents,” Delaware)

If you are a new Delaware resident or have purchased a vehicle out of state and are bringing it home to Delaware to register it, you’ll need to complete the following steps.

  • Get car insurance from a provider who is licensed to operate in the state of Delaware.
  • Complete a vehicle inspection.
  • Fill out the certificate of title application (Form MV-212) and complete the title transfer process.
  • Pay the $40 registration fee.
  • Pay Delaware sales taxes (if you’ve just purchased a used vehicle).
  • Get a Delaware license plate.

Just like that, your out-of-state vehicle is legal to drive in Delaware.

If you're thinking about buying an out-of-state car from a private party, read our guide to purchasing a vehicle remotely to see how PrivateAuto makes the process so much easier.

How to Check If a Car Has Delaware Back Fees?

Before you go and purchase a used car from a private seller, find out if there are any hidden fees attached to the vehicle, such as fines or citations. If there are, you could be responsible for them.

Get the vehicle identification number from the seller. With the VIN, you can contact your closest DE DMV location and request a title search. The Delaware DMV will be able to tell you if there are any unpaid fees associated with the car, such as a vehicle registration fee or unpaid parking tickets.

On the other hand, if you're selling your used car in Delaware, make sure that you've paid any forgotten parking tickets or registration renewals.

Easy Delaware Car Transactions with PrivateAuto

Whether you're trying to sell a used car or buy one, PrivateAuto makes the whole process safe and simple. With our end-to-end vehicle purchasing platform, you will have everything you need to complete the transaction, from making offers to sending payments.
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Delaware License Plate FAQ

How much is a temporary tag in Delaware?

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles provides a temporary tag to buyers who intend to title their vehicle in another state. This 5-day tag can be purchased for $20.00 at any Delaware DMV office after providing the necessary documentation. The temporary tag allows the buyer to drive the vehicle back to their home state, where the title and registration must be completed at their local DMV office.

For buyers who intend to register a vehicle in Delaware and need a temporary tag, contact your local DMV for more information.

What forms of payment does the Delaware DMV accept?

How much is registration renewal in Delaware?

What is Delaware's equivalent of the Department of Motor Vehicles?

Who has the #1 Delaware license plate?

What are the most important facts about registration that residents of Delaware should know?