by Armando Martinez

License Plate Transfer Process in West Virginia

In West Virginia, license plates are issued to the vehicle owner. You’ll need to transfer your license plates from another West Virginia registered vehicle otherwise new license plates will be issued during the regstration process.

Transfer Process for Buyers

As a buyer, you have  30 days from the date of purchase to transfer the license plate from a previously registered West Virginia vehicle to your new vehicle. Here are the steps you'll need to follow:

1. Obtain a bill of sale from the seller that includes the vehicle identification number (VIN), purchase price, and date of sale.

2. Visit your local DMV office and bring the bill of sale, proof of insurance, and your driver's license or other government-issued ID.

3. Pay the required transfer fee, which varies based on the type of vehicle and the license plate.

4. The DMV will require you to renew your registration if the plates you’re transferring will expire within 60 days.

Transfer Process for Sellers

As a seller, you must remove the license plate from the vehicle before handing it over to the buyer. If you want to transfer the license plate to a new vehicle, you can do so by following these steps:

1. Bring the old license plate, registration, and proof of insurance for the new vehicle to your local DMV office.

2. Pay the required transfer fee, which varies based on the type of vehicle and the license plate.

Otherwise, you’ll need to surrender your plates to the West Viriginia DMV; when you move out of state, if you apply for a different type of plate or if you cancel your insurance on this vehicle.

Seller Notification to DMV

As a seller, you’ll need to submit notification to the DMV that the sale has occurred. This can be done by completing form DMV-1-S and submitting to the address on the form. This will ensure you are not held liable for any infractions incurred after your sale.

License Plate Fees and Taxes

In West Virginia, license plate fees vary depending on the type of vehicle and the type of license plate. Here are the fees you can expect to pay:

- Standard license plate and registration fee: $51.50

- Personalized license plate: $66.50

- Specialty plate:  from $66.50-$91.50

- A 6% sales/use tax will also be assessed at the time of registration.

Note that fees are subject to change, so be sure to check with your local DMV office for the most current information.


By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth license plate transfer process when buying or selling a used car in a private party sale in West Virginia. Remember to get a bill of sale and proof of insurance, and don't hesitate to contact your local DMV office if you have any questions or concerns. Good luck with your transaction!

This article was written by Armando Martinez. Armando Martinez is among the nation’s experts on automotive titling, registration, DMV services and document operations. With nearly two decades of experience across a broad range of financial services functions and some of the largest names in auto, from Wells Fargo to Uber, Armando combines vision and ingenuity with a wealth of information so auto shoppers and sellers can learn from his experience.

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