Temporary license plates: Vehicle dealers

Learn how to issue temporary license plates and what to do with unused or lost/stolen temporary plates.

Issuing and installing temporary license plates

You’re required to provide customers with two temporary plates. We caution you to be consistent. If you tell customers that front plates aren’t required, it could cause serious issues for you and your customer. Only the Washington State Patrol has authority to waive the front plate requirements.

State law defines reasons to issue more than one temporary license plate. It’s up to each dealership to review and determine if their specific situation falls within these rules. You should keep documentation to support the issuance of a second temporary license plate.

Unassigned and unused temporary license plates

Use unassigned temporary license plates when you don’t have access to our e-permit system. You must attach the unassigned plate to the vehicle licensing record as soon as possible. You must do this within 24 hours of attaching the unassigned temporary plate to a vehicle.

If you need to assign more than one temporary plate to a vehicle, request a second one from the e-permit system.

Once you have assigned a temporary license plate to a vehicle record, you can’t get credit or a refund for it if the customer changes their mind. You’re allowed to charge a negotiable administrative fee of $200 per vehicle transaction. You can’t get a refund for unused paper permits.

Lost or stolen temporary license plates

If a customer loses their temporary plates or they get stolen, don’t issue a secondary plate. You also can’t use an unassigned temporary plate. Instead, you should:

  • Tell the customer to file a police report.
  • Revoke the temporary license plate in the e-permit system and identify it as stolen.
  • Transfer the vehicle to the customer.
  • Supply the customer with permanent metal plates and registration.
  • If you can’t transfer the vehicle right away, tell the customer to visit the nearest vehicle licensing office with the following:
    • A copy of the police report.
    • A copy of the purchase order.
    • The temporary license plate number.

Vehicle licensing offices will provide the customer with one 15-day department-issued temporary permit.

Related laws and rules

Need additional help? Here’s how to contact us:

Title and registration questions

Contact your local vehicle licensing office or county auditor. If they are unable to help, they will contact us.

E-permit issues

Email us at DRIVESHelp@dol.wa.gov.

Related information

Need additional help? Here's how to contact us:

call Phone: 360-705-6741
(TTY: Call 711)
fax Fax: 360-705-6699
mail Email: BLS@dor.wa.gov
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