Chapter 3, Section B:
Issuance of License Plate and Validation Sticker

Revised September 28, 2011

  1. Issuance of License Plate

    Issue a new license plate to every new vehicle being titled for the first time, except in those cases when the applicant has a previously-issued new format license plate or prestige plate which can be transferred to the new vehicle (see paragraph 3 below).
  2. License Plates Issued by Vehicle Type

    Issue license plates to new vehicles according to the type of vehicle. Passenger vehicles, trucks and farm trucks have the option to register with the lemon yellow or turquoise centennial plate. If you are issuing a turquoise centennial plate on these types of vehicles enter “PC” as the special plate code.

  3. Transferring Owner’s Previous Plate to New Vehicle

    The owner of a registered vehicle sold or traded-in on a new vehicle is responsible for removing the license plate from the vehicle sold or traded-in.

    An applicant may transfer a license plate previously registered in the applicant’s name to a new vehicle when the plate was removed from a vehicle of the same class or plate type within 30 days, before applying for the new vehicle Title and Registration.

    When applicant fails to remove the license plate from a traded-in vehicle and the applicant's new vehicle is of a type that has the same plate format, MVD will issue a replacement plate for a fee of $17.00. The owner must re-register the plate to his new vehicle within 30 days.

    Clerk must be able to verify by computer that the plate belongs to the applicant or the applicant must provide proof (copy of registration or Title).
  4. Issuing Validation Sticker

    A validation sticker must be affixed to the license plate registered to a new vehicle at the time of registration. Exceptions: Fleet Vehicles, manufactured homes and freight trailers are not issued validation stickers.

    A vehicle registered into the staggered registration program shall be issued a year/month sticker showing the month in which the vehicle is originally registered and the year of expiration.

    Off-Highway motor vehicles are issued license plates. Registration is for two (2) years. A staggered registration sticker of the current month shall be affixed to the license plate.

    Utility trailers and travel trailers with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) under 6001 lbs. and not used in commerce may be registered permanently. Issue a permanent registration sticker. Enter “P” for registration type and registration expiration date will be 01/31/2050. Other utility trailers and travel trailers (i.e. those that are used in commerce or have a GVW of 6001 lbs. or more) may only be registered for one or two years.


    GVW <6001 lbs.

    GVW >6000 lbs.

    Not used in commerce

    permanent registration

    1-year or 2-year registration

    Used in commerce

    1-year or 2-year registration

    1-year or 2-year registration

    Commercial vehicles driven exclusively on New Mexico highways (intrastate) are issued a Weight Distance (WD) plate with a validation sticker.

    Commercial Vehicles that operate in other states as well as New Mexico (interstate) are registered through the International Registration Plan (IRP). These vehicles are registered on a staggered basis with the expiration consistent for all units in a fleet. IRP registrations are processed by the Commercial Vehicles Bureau (CVB).