How to Return License Plates (Tags) to MDOT MVA

Maryland law requires you to return your license plates to the MVA when they are no longer needed.  We do NOT offer appointments for tag returns, simply stop by a location near you during normal business hours or visit at 24-hour tag return box​. Please read below for information on how to return your license plates to the MVA and additional information on refunds.

IMPORTANT:  Do not cancel your insurance until you are sure that the MVA has received your license plates. Failure to do so could result in fines.

Options for returning your license plates and obtaining a receipt:

Return tags IN-PERSON
You may return licenses plates in-person to any of our 24 MDOT MVA branch offices during normal business hours. We do not offer appointments for license plate returns. During normal business hours, you can visit our information counter with your plates to get a printed receipt.

Use a tag DROP BOX
Drop your tags in any of our tag return drop boxes across Maryland. Drop boxes with 24-hour access are located at the Baltimore City, Columbia, Cumberland, Gaithersburg, Glen Burnie, and Salisbury branch offices. To expedite your transaction, download the license plate return form​, print, and complete the form prior to returning your tags to a drop box. Forms are also available at the drop box.

MAIL your TAGS (Certified mail)
Mail your license plates to MDOT MVA headquarters, Attn: CRTR, 6601 Ritchie Highway N.E., Glen Burnie, MD 21062. Sending tags by certified mail with return receipt requested is recommended.
Return tags to any MDOT MVA authorized tag and title service. 

Note: When you return the license plates, always include​ your registration card.

GET YOUR TAG RETURN RECEIPT HERE. Using our Customer Correspondence Manager, you can download your tag return receipt anywhere from your phone, tablet or computer. **Please allow 72 hours (business days) from the time of the drop before searching for your tag return receipt in our systems.**

What should I do if one or both of my license plates have been lost or stolen?
If your license plates have been lost or stolen, report the theft to your local law enforcement agency. Be sure to obtain a copy of the police report, or at least the police report number. 

If your license plates are not recovered, you will need to obtain substitute license plates for your vehicle. These can be obtained by making and appointment for vehicle services.  Make sure to bring the police report to your appointment.

Can I get a refund of my registration fee if the license plates are not expired?
You may be eligible for a refund if your license plate expiration date is more than 12 months away. To receive a refund complete MDOT MVA form titled  Application for Registration Plate Refund and include it with the license plates you are returning.

Registration Return Refund Eligibility:
• Unused plates with sticker NOT affixed to plate - 100% refund.
• Plates with MORE THAN one year remaining - 50% refund.
• Plates with LESS THAN one year remaining - no refund available.
• Registration plates returned for cancellation where substitute plates and/or sticker issued – no refund available.

How long will it take for me to receive a refund?
Your refund is prepared by the Maryland Comptroller’s Office in Annapolis. You should receive the refund within 6 weeks of returning the license plates. If you never receive the refund, call one of the numbers below or contact MDOT MVA for assistance.

  • ​There is no fee for returning license plates.
  • There is a fee for substitute license plates.
  • Note: If you receive substitute license plates to replace license plates that are lost or stolen, you are not entitled to a refund.