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Standard Registration Plates

Pennsylvania's Standard Registration Plate

Did you know that in 1999, Pennsylvania became the first state to use its official website on its standard-issue registration plate? In 2003, the design of the standard-issue registration plate was modified to include the state's official tourism website,

Pennsylvania also offers Special Fund,  Military and Special Organization* registration plates, the majority of which can be personalized. For more information, please reference the Personalized Registration Plates Fact Sheet (PDF). Before applying, you can check availability of personalized registration plates online.

*Please contact your organization directly to obtain an application for a Special Organization Registration Plate.

Registration fees include the cost of a standard registration plate for first time issuance. Additional fees apply for specialty registration plates.  Refer to Form MV-70S (PDF), “Bureau of Motor Vehicle Schedule of Fees,” for additional fee information.

Illegible Registration Plate Replacement 

A registration plate is deemed illegible when one or more numbers or letters cannot be recognized from 50 feet or if the registration plate shows any blistering, peeling, discoloration or loss of reflectivity. When a registration plate becomes illegible, PennDOT has two main ways of replacing them.

First, the law allows PennDOT to replace a registration plate upon request of a vehicle owner when an authorized representative of PennDOT or law enforcement determines that a registration plate is illegible.  Vehicle safety inspection mechanics are authorized representatives of PennDOT for purposes of determining if a registration plate is legible. 

To apply for a free replacement of your current registration plate, the vehicle owner should print Form MV-46, “Application to Replace Registration Plate,” obtained from PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle Services website and taking it to either a law enforcement official or a certified inspection station to verify the need for a replacement due to illegibility. The vehicle owner is then responsible for signing and returning the completed Form MV-46 (PDF) to PennDOT in order to receive a replacement registration plate free of charge.

For more information about this program, please reference the Registration Plate Re-Issuance Fact Sheet (Illegible Registration Plate Replacement) FAQ.

Second, the law also allows PennDOT to order a general reissuance. Standard issue passenger registration plates that start with the tag configuration ‘E’, ‘F’, ‘G’, ‘H’, 'J' and truck registration plates that start with tag configuration ‘Y’, are among the oldest on the road and need to be replaced. So, if you have a standard issue registration plate beginning with a ‘E’, ‘F’, ‘G’, ‘H’, 'J' or ‘Y’, you will get a new registration plate the next time your registration plate is transferred to a different vehicle. Passenger registration plates that start with a tag configuration ‘D’ are the oldest plates on the road. PennDOT has begun replacing the ‘D’ configuration through the mail. Customers will receive a letter informing them when they should expect to receive their new plate.

Returning a Registration Plate

If you are returning a Pennsylvania registration plate that is no longer valid or required, please return the Pennsylvania registration plate to: 

Bureau of Motor Vehicles 
Return Tag Unit 
P.O. Box 68597 
Harrisburg, PA 17106-8597 
Once your plate has been received by PennDOT, it will be marked as a "dead tag" on the vehicle record. By returning your Pennsylvania registration plate to PennDOT, this will help protect you.