Number plates differ from state to state. Colorado for instance shows the Rockies while Nevada shows the Sierra Nevadas. Many states show rural scenes. In exceptional circumstances the old plates become invalid and requiring a mass replating of the state in order to keep within the letter of the law.
You may also need validation stickers in certain states; sometimes it is shown on the plate, such as North Carolina, sometimes in the front windshield like in Texas and sometimes in rear window, such as Pennsylvania. It’s important to know how your state organizes these things.
Hawaii is a novelty as through the additional letter you can see which island the car was registered in; M means Maui, K is Kaua’i and H is Hawai’i meaning the big island.
Arkansas is especially interesting as it has a diamond logo. The state is famed for its diamond mines. Other symbols could be guessed–Florida plates have oranges for instance.
Not all states require you to have plates on both the front and the rear. These include Alabama and Arizona.
Moving to a New State:
When a person moves to a new state, they are required by law to register all their personal vehicles. One of the exceptions is if you are with the US military who often move personnel excessively.
Foreign cars can only keep a foreign number plate for a year before it requires an alteration. This is due to a number of foreign green card workers who can legally remain in the US for a year at a time.
Exactly what happens when it comes to selling the car can vary. Sometimes the ownership of the plate goes to the new owner, the rest of the time you need a new plate.
Buying a Car:
A temporary registration is allocated to a buyer of a vehicle which lets them use the vehicle while the proper registration plate is released. This may be a form in the vehicle’s window, or a plate made of cardboard, paper or a light plastic material. It may even look exactly like a regular number plate but still needs to be removed after a few days.
In order to register the car, you will need of proof of ownership as well as proof of your identity and date of birth. You may need an emission certificate and safety inspection certificate and completed registration application form. In addition to this there is a fee to pay.
There are collector plates, such as those connected to specific universities. In addition, antique vehicles have registrations marked with “horseless carriage” or similar. Exactly what terms are used vary from state to state and it’s always best to check out the regulations!
Novelty number plates give some prestige to their owners, but some may need to be changed, such as the “NULL” plate. Unfortunately, the registration website seemed to no longer accept the novelty name and so a new registration number had to be applied for. So, beware the more confusing names!
When in doubt, do your research and hopefully your registration will go without a hitch.