When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more here.

How To Drive A New Car Home Without Plates [State-by-State Guide]

Growing up, I lived in an area where if you were going to be buying a used car off someone, then you first needed to go to the County Clerk’s office to get some temporary tags to legally drive the vehicle.

Then, when I moved to California I was surprised to learn that you just drove the car without plates.

The truth is, if you just bought a car with out plates you may not know if you can drive it because the laws vary by state.

So, I took the time to research the laws in each state so that you don’t have to!

Keep reading to learn how to legally drive a car you just bought without a license plate.

Can I Drive A Car I Just Bought Home With No Plates Or Registration?

Yes, in most states you can drive a car home that you just bought without a license plate or registration – however most states only allow a grace period of 3 days in which you can legally do this.

In order to stay compliant with the laws in all 50 states, you are required to have the vehicle title and proof of insurance for the car.

It is important to note that the laws on this vary by state, and your state may not allow you to drive without a license plate or registration.

Technically, for your vehicle to be street legal it needs to be registered with the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

In most states, once you register a vehicle you receive paper temporary tags for the car.

Temporary tags are also known as a temporary license plate, which you must display in your vehicle until your permanent license plates arrive.

Most of the time a temporary license plate is valid for 30 days, though it is longer in some states and shorter in others.

car without license plate

How Long Can I Drive A Car I Just Bought With No Plates Or Registration?

In most states, you can only legally drive a car without a license plate or registration for 3 days.

If this is your first vehicle, then you may not realize that the seller keeps their license plate when you purchase their car.

Under no circumstances should a seller leave their license plate on the car for you to drive while you wait for your permanent plates.

If you’re curious about the time limit for your part of the USA, just scroll down and find your state in the alphabetical list below.

We’ve compiled information on how long you can drive without plates in each state, the cost of temporary tags in each state, and how long that temporary license plate is valid.

Alabama

In Alabama, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration.

All you need to legally drive the car is your bill of sale.

The state requires you to register the vehicle and get permanent plates within 20 days of purchase.

A temporary license plate in Alabama is good for a period of 20 days and has a cost of $2.25.

Alaska

In Alaska, it is illegal to drive a car you just bought without plates or registration.

To legally drive a car you just bought in Alaska without plates, you must first obtain a trip permit from your local DMV office.

The state requires you to register the vehicle and get permanent plates within 30 days of purchase.

Temporary plates from dealers cannot exceed 60 days in validity.

A temporary license plate in Alaska is good for a period of 30 days and has a cost of $15.

Arizona

In Arizona, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration.

The state requires you to register the vehicle and get permanent plates within 30 days of purchase.

While you wait for your permanent plates, you will be driving on a 30-Day General Use Permit.

A temporary license plate in Arizona, the 30-Day General Use Permit, is good for a period of 30 days and has a cost of $15.

Arkansas

In Arkansas, it is illegal to drive a car you just bought without a license plate or temporary tag.

If you get caught driving a car in Arkansas with out plates or temporary tags, then it is a misdemeanor.

The cost to register your vehicle in Arkansas is $17.00 so that you can legally drive the vehicle.

You’ll want to bring your bill of sale to the DMV with you.

California

In California, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration.

The state requires you to register the vehicle and get permanent plates within 90 days of purchase.

In California, you are given a temporary registration while you wait for permanent plates, which you are supposed to display in your vehicle’s window.

The cost for temporary tags in California is $50.

Colorado

In Colorado, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration if that vehicle was purchased from a dealer.

Temporary tags in Colorado are valid for a period of 60 days.

If you bought the vehicle from another owner, then you need to register it and get plates before driving the car.

Connecticut

In Connecticut, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have purchased a temporary moving permit.

The cost of temporary car registration in Connecticut is $21 and is valid for a period of only 10 days.

Delaware

In Delaware, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have purchased a temporary tag.

The cost of temporary car registration in Delaware is $2 and is valid for a period of only 5 days.

Florida

In Florida, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have the bill of sale and proof of insurance in the car with you.

In this state, you can drive a car you just bought without a license plate for a period of 30 days.

Or, you can buy a temporary license plate in Florida for $15 and drive on that for 30 days.

Georgia

In Georgia, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have the bill of sale and proof of insurance in the car with you.

You can only drive without a license plate in Georgia for a period of 7 days though.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, you cannot drive a car you just bought without plates or registration.

The catch-22 here is that in order to get the car registered and get permanent plates, you have to take it to a smog inspection center.

You may get pulled over on your way to get the car inspected and given a ticket that tells you to get plates for the vehicle.

Idaho

In Idaho, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have the bill of sale and proof of insurance in the car with you.

You can drive without a license plate in Idaho for a period of 30 days – any longer than that and you’re hit with a $20 fine.

Illinois

In Idaho, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have obtained a Temporary Registration Permits (TRP).

The cost for the TRP in Illinois is $10.

When you get the temporary tags in Illinois, they will be valid for a period between 7 days and 90 days.

Indiana

In Indiana, you cannot drive a car you just bought without plates or registration.

Instead, you need to get a temporary permit, which is only valid for 96 hours.

The cost of this temporary permit in Indiana is $3.

Indiana also has 30-day permits available, which you can inquire about at your local DMV.

Iowa

In Iowa, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have the bill of sale and proof of insurance in the car with you.

However, you can only legally do this for a period of 45 days, and you should get a temporary tag.

After that 45-day period, the state charges you a 15% fee for the late vehicle registration.

The cost for a temporary license plate in Iowa is $10.

Kansas

In Kansas, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration, but you do need to get a temporary license plate from the DMV.

Temporary vehicle tags in Kansas are valid for a period of 30 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Kansas is $13.

Kentucky

In Kentucky, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration, but you do need to get a temporary license plate from the DMV.

Temporary vehicle tags in Kentucky are valid for a period of 30 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Kentucky is $2.

Once you have registered your vehicle, you can only drive without a license plate for 15 days.

Louisiana

In Louisiana, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration, but you do need to get a temporary license plate from the DMV.

Temporary vehicle tags in Louisiana are valid for a period of 60 days.

Maine

In Maine, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration, but you do need to get a temporary 10-day transit plate from the DMV.

A 10-day transit plate in Maine has a cost of $25 and is only valid for 10 days.

Once you get the transit plate, you are required by law to keep the permit in the vehicle when you drive it.

The Maine 10-day transit permit has route and location limitations and if you get caught driving out side of those areas you may be fined between $25 and $200.

Maryland

In Maryland, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration, but you do need to get a temporary registration from the DMV.

Temporary vehicle tags in Maryland are valid for a period of 30 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Maryland is $20.

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, you can drive a car you just bought without plates only after you have registered the vehicle at the DMV.

If the car is new or transferred to you, then you can drive it without plates for 10 days.

Massachusetts does not have temporary tags, however if you drive in a vehicle with temporary tags from another state that is okay.

Michigan

In Michigan, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have the bill of sale and/or title and proof of insurance in the car with you.

However, you can only drive without plates for 3 days, unless you get a temporary registration permit.

In Michigan, a temporary registration permit lets you drive a vehicle without plates for either 30 days or 60 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Michigan is $20 for the 30-day permit and $40 for the 60-day permit.

Minnesota

In Minnesota, you can drive a car you just bought without plates only after you have gotten a temporary permit from the DMV.

The temporary vehicle permit in Minnesota is valid for 21 days and allows you to drive without a license plate.

The cost for temporary tags in Minnesota is $26.

Mississippi

In Mississippi, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have the bill of sale and/or title and proof of insurance in the car with you.

State law in Mississippi lets you drive a vehicle home after purchase without plates for a period of 7 days.

The state allow gives you a 30-day grace period to get permanent plates on the vehicle.

The cost for temporary tags in Mississippi is $5.

Missouri

In Missouri, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have the bill of sale and/or title and proof of insurance in the car with you.

The state allow gives you a 30-day grace period to get permanent plates on the vehicle.

If you don’t have the car registered with plates within 30 days, then you will be fined $25.

You can buy a temporary license plate in Missouri.

The cost for temporary tags in Missouri is $11.

Montana

In Montana, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have a temporary registration permit.

The temporary registration permit in Montana is valid for a period of 40 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Montana is $19.50

Nebraska

In Nebraska, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have the bill of sale and/or title and proof of insurance in the car with you.

However, that only applies for the day that you drive the new vehicle home.

After that, you need a temporary registration permit to legally drive the car without plates.

The temporary registration permit in Nebraska is valid for a period of 30 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Nebraska is $20.

Nevada

In Nevada, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have the bill of sale and/or title and proof of insurance in the car with you.

However, that only applies for the day that you drive the new vehicle home.

After that, you need a temporary moving permit to legally drive the car without plates in Nevada.

The temporary registration permit in Nevada is valid for a period of 30 days, but there are also 60-day permits available.

The cost for temporary tags in Nevada is $1.

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have the bill of sale and/or title and proof of insurance in the car with you.

However, that only applies for the day that you drive the new vehicle home.

After that, you need a temporary registration permit to legally drive the car without plates in New Hampshire.

The temporary registration permit in New Hampshire is valid for a period of 20 days.

The cost for temporary tags in New Hampshire is $10.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, you cannot legally drive a car you just bought without a license plate.

Before driving the vehicle, you must obtain a temporary tag from the DMV,

If you try to drive a car without a plate, then the cops can pull you over and write you a ticket with a fine.

The temporary registration permit in New Jersey is valid for a period of 30 days.

The cost for temporary tags in New Jersey is $5.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have a temporary registration permit.

The temporary registration permit in New Mexico is valid for a period of up to 30 days.

The cost for temporary tags in New Mexico is $5 for every two days that you need the permit to be valid.

New York

In New York, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have a temporary in-transit registration permit.

The temporary registration permit in New York is valid for a period of up to 30 days.

The cost for temporary tags in New York is $12.50.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration for a period of 3 days before you are required to register it at the DMV.

Once registered, you get temporary tags that are valid for a period of 10 days.

The cost for temporary tags in North Carolina is $10.

North Dakota

In North Dakota, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration for a period of 5 days before you are required to register it at the DMV.

Once registered, you get temporary tags that are valid for a period of 30 days.

The cost for temporary tags in North Dakota is $5.

Ohio

In Ohio, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have a temporary registration permit.

Temporary tags in Ohio are valid for a period of 30 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Ohio is $15 to $20.

Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration for a period of 5 days before you are required to register it at the DMV – provided that you have the bill of sale and/or title and proof of insurance in the car with you.

Temporary tags are only offered by dealers in this state and they are valid for a period of 30 days.

Oregon

In Oregon, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have a temporary trip permit.

Temporary tags in Oregon are valid for a period of 21 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Oregon is $33.

More info here.

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have a temporary plates.

Temporary tags in Pennsylvania are valid for a period of 30 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Pennsylvania is $20.

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration for a period of 2 days before you are required to register it at the DMV – provided that you have the bill of sale and/or title and proof of insurance in the car with you.

You can buy temporary plates in Rhode Island that are valid for a period of 5 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Rhode Island is $12.

South Carolina

In South Carolina, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration – provided that you have the bill of sale and/or title and proof of insurance in the car with you.

Temporary tags in South Carolina are valid for a period of 45 days.

The cost for temporary tags in South Carolina is $5.

South Dakota

In South Dakota, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have a temporary seller’s permit.

The temporary seller’s permit is valid for a period of 45 days.

Once the 45-days are up, you can get a temporary registration permit.

Temporary tags in South Dakota are valid for a period of 5 days to 15 days.

The cost for temporary tags in South Dakota is $1 for every day you need the permit to be valid, up to a maximum of $15 for 15 days.

Tennessee

In Tennessee, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have a temporary operation permit (temporary tags).

Temporary tags in Tennessee are valid for a period of 30 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Tennessee is $10.

Texas

In Tennessee, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have a temporary permit (temporary tags).

There are several types of temporary permits in Texas that are valid for a period between one day and 30 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Texas is between $25 and $50.

Utah

In Utah, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have a temporary permit (temporary tags).

There are several types of temporary permits in Utah that are valid for a period between four days and 60 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Utah is $6.

Vermont

In Vermont, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have an Intrastate (in-state) in-transit permit (temporary tags).

Temporary tags in Vermont are valid for a period of 10 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Vermont is $6.

Virginia

In Virginia, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have the proper permit – Standard Trip Permit or Prospective Purchaser’s Trip Permit (temporary tags).

Temporary tags in Virginia are valid for a period of 3 days.

You can extend the validity of your temporary tags in Virginia to 30 days by paying 1/12 of the vehicle registration fees.

The cost for temporary tags in Virginia is $5.

Washington

In Washington, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have a temporary trip permit (temporary tags).

Temporary tags in Washington are valid for a period of 3 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Washington is $33. (more info)

West Virginia

In West Virginia, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration provided that you have a temporary permit (temporary tags).

Temporary tags in West Virginia are valid for a period of 60 days.

The cost for temporary tags in West Virginia is $5.

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration for a total of 2 days before you need to register the car or get temporary tags.

Temporary tags in Wisconsin are valid for a period of 90 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Wisconsin is $3 and you need a copy of the front and back of your title to get them. (more info)

Wyoming

In Wyoming, you can drive a car you just bought without plates or registration – provided that you have the bill of sale and/or title and proof of insurance in the car with you.

This allows you to drive the vehicle without plates for 45 days (with bill of sale) or 60 days (with title).

You can also buy temporary tags from the DMV that are good for 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days.

The cost for temporary tags in Wyoming is $50 for every 30 days the tags are valid.

Final Word

As you can see, the law varies by state in regards to how long you can drive a car you just bought without license plates.

So, don’t risk it because you may get fined by the police.

Use our state by state guide above to check the requirements in your state before driving without a license plate or registration.

Scroll to Top