Q: Can a license plate be transferred to someone who is not a family member?
— Mary Ann C.
A: You can “gift” most plates to anyone. It just depends on the plate type and the registration sequence. Without knowing what the registration is, I can only offer you the following information:
If it is a Governor’s Preferred Plate, immediate family members just need a gift letter as long as the plate is still active for the person who is gifting it. Please establish the relationship in the gift letter.
If it is not an active registration, a request would need to be put in with that office for that plate and, most times if it is still available, a “Governor’s Preferred Plate” card will be issued.
If it is active and is not an immediate family member, then you would write a gift letter for that person and that gift letter would need to get to the Governor’s Office so they can issue a “Governor’s Preferred Plate” card. This card will be needed to effectuate the transfer.
For a list of Governor’s Preferred Plates, please visit our website (www.dmv.ri.gov) and go to the “License Plates Overview” tab. You’ll see a complete list of all the plates that fall under that category as well as a link to the “Application for Preferred License Plates”.
If it is a general issuance plate (###-###, #AA-###, AA-###), then a notarized gift letter is needed.
Military plates (i.e. Veteran, Disabled Veteran, Purple Heart, Gold Star Family, etc) each have their own rules. Our website has links to the RI General Laws that specifies what is allowed in the transfer of military plates and they can be found in the “License Plates – Veteran Plates” tab.
A completed TR-1 form is needed and the old plates that are no longer going to be registered should be turned in. There are fees associated with the transfer too.
Remember that if you cancel the insurance on a vehicle, you can not have an active registration associated with that vehicle.
Q: We had a registration plate issued to our son-in-law some years ago. We worked with then Senate Minority leader Mike Flynn to initially have the plate issued. When our son-in-law sold the car, he turned in the plate. Any chance we can have the plate reissued to us?
— Joe W.
A: That is a Governor’s Preferred Plate. The request to get that plate has to be made through that office. Here’s the information you need to request that plate:
Preferred plates are requested through the Office of Governor, State House Room 144, 82 Smith St., Providence, 02903; phone: (401) 222-2080; fax: (401) 222-8096. Email: email@example.com
You can find the application at https://governor.ri.gov/constituent-services/preferred-license-plate-request
Preferred Plates are defined as "Passenger plates with 1 letter with 1-3 digits; 2 letters with 1-2 digits; and 1-4 digits (1-9999); Commercial, Combination, Motorcycle plates with 1-4 digits (1-9999) and Antique plates (1-2000); Suburban and Veteran plates with 1-3 digits (1-999), and National Guard and Public plates with 1-2 digits (1-99)."
Chuck Hollis is assistant administrator of the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Ask the DMV” in the subject field.
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Can a license plate be transferred to non-family member? | Ask the DMV