How to Get a Temporary License Plate in AZ

SUV parked on side of highway in Arizona

Did you know that some vehicles in Arizona are eligible for a five-year registration? While the option isn’t available to everybody, registering your car in Arizona will mean that you’ll eventually have to learn how to get a temporary license plate.

Luckily for you, getting a temporary license plate in AZ isn’t as daunting as it may seem. With this how-to guide, getting that pesky temp tag won’t be so troublesome.

So if you’re ready for an adventure from the comfort of your driver’s seat, buckle up and get ready for one smooth ride down the fast lane, because we have all the info that you’ll need to make sure that your car is safely registered while on Arizona roads.

What Happens If You Don’t Have a License Plate in Arizona?

For starters, it’s important to note that it’s illegal to drive without a rear license plate tag in all 50 states. This means that in Arizona, you cannot drive without a permanent license plate on your car.

However, if you’ve just purchased a car or have moved here from another state, you’re allowed to drive it for 30 days with a temporary license plate known as a 30-Day General Use Permit. This temporary permit allows you to register your vehicle and receive permanent license plates.

Note that you can only get one 30-Day General Use Permit every 12 months in Arizona. So, use the time wisely and ensure you get your permanent tags as quickly as possible.

The Car Registration Process & Temporary Tags in AZ: What’s the Connection?

If you’ve just purchased a new (or used) car in Arizona, you’ll have to register the vehicle. But, what’s the car registration process got to do with getting temporary tags in AZ? The car registration process in Arizona is intertwined with getting your permanent license plate.

When you buy a car, acquiring the title and car registration are generally handled at the same time. The car will be assigned a temporary registration plate, which grants access to Arizona’s roadways for the interim. Once finalized, your car’s permanent license plate will be issued and sent to you via mail.

So, in this context, you don’t have to learn how to get a temporary license plate, you simply need to wait for the real plates to come in the mail. What if you’re not buying a car but need temporary tags? That brings us to our next point…

Reasons You Might Need a Temporary License Plate in AZ

Most of the time, residents and non-residents need a temporary license plate in AZ for one of the following reasons. Scroll through to see if any of these situations apply to you. If they don’t, we suggest visiting one of our locations to speak with a representative directly about your situation.

3-Day Restricted Use Permit

The shortest temporary tag or permit you can get in Arizona is the 3-Day Restricted Use Permit. These special permits provide those with unregistered vehicles a legal way to transport their vehicle to the necessary locations.

They’re valid for three days and are typically used when attempting to:

  • Obtain emissions testing
  • Qualify for the State of Arizona vehicle inspection
  • Finish a title application

If you’re trying to complete one of the following tasks then a 3-Day Permit might be the best option for you. If not, look into one of the other two options below.

30-Day General Use Permit

The 30-Day General Use Permit from Arizona is a great option for those who need to travel with an unregistered vehicle. It allows you to operate a vehicle on Arizona roadways for 30 days. However, keep in mind that, as mentioned above, this permit can only be requested once within 12 months.

Does this permit only apply to Arizona roadways? No. It’s valid out-of-state as well, allowing you to drive with the peace of mind that a legal permit provides. It also has no movement restrictions and no residency requirements. This means you can get this permit even if you’re not a legal Arizona resident.

90-Day Registration

If you’re unable to register your vehicle for whatever reason and need more than a month to take care of the issue, a 90-Day Registration is probably the best option for you.

The 90-Day Resident Registration is, as the name suggests, only available to Arizona residents, though. It allows them to drive their vehicle on Arizona roadways for 90 days without it being registered in the state. This can be especially helpful if, as mentioned, you’re facing any issues that prevent you from getting your car titled or registered.

With this permit, you’d be able to continue to use your car during those 90 days. The best part? The permit is valid whether you’re driving in-state or out-of-state, and there are no movement restrictions associated with it.

How to Get a Temporary License Plate in Arizona

If you’re looking to get a temporary tag in Arizona, there are a variety of options available. Depending on the type of permit and temporary license plate you need, the necessary paperwork will vary. If you need one of the three permits mentioned above, use this basic guide to help:

  • 3-Day Restricted Use Permit: You can apply for this at the DMV or a third-party DMV service company with information about the vehicle.
  • 30-Day General Use Permit: You can apply for this at the DMV or a third-party DMV service company with proof of ownership or proof of a physical inspection.
  • 90-Day Resident Registration: You can apply for this at the DMV or a third-party DMV service company with proof of ownership or proof of a physical inspection.

What about getting a temporary license plate in AZ because of a lost or stolen plate? In this case, you’re not registering a new vehicle. Instead, you just need a replacement of the physical plates themselves. You can request replacement license plates at your local DMV office or GG&D Motor Vehicle Services.

If you replace lost or stolen plates with us, for example, we’ll verify your identity (photo ID) and vehicle information. Then, we’ll issue a temporary license plate and mail you the replacement plates.

Let GG&D Motor Vehicle Services Help You With Your Tags

Want to know how to get a temporary license plate in Arizona as quickly and easily as possible? Visit us at GG&D Motor Vehicle Services. Our goal is to provide excellent service and make getting vehicle title transfers, license plate replacements, and motor vehicle registrations easy and convenient for Arizona residents like yourself. Why?

Because we know having access to these services without heading to the DMV is an especially helpful convenience — just visit any one of our locations now to get the help you need. Stop by today to find a location near you or click here to see answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we receive.


GG&D provides complete full service vehicle registration & title services. Driver License & ID Services available at all GG&D locations.


GG&D Motor Vehicle Services, LLC was a founding member of the 3rd Party Motor Vehicle Association. We offer vehicle title transfers, license plate replacement, motor vehicle registration, duplicate titles, notary services, temporary permits and other MVD Arizona services. GG&D has locations in Phoenix, Glendale, and Mesa. Find a location near you!

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