Licence plates

A valid licence plate must be displayed on your vehicle at all times

Get a licence plate

You can purchase a licence plate at a registry agent. To get a licence plate, you will need:

  • your driver’s licence
  • a Bill of Sale, or proof that the vehicle is owned by you

Your licence plate must be located in one of these places:

  • if the vehicle is a tractor-trailer, to the front of the vehicle
  • if the vehicle is a motorcycle, to the back mudguard or back fender so that it can be seen easily
  • on the back of the vehicle for all other types of vehicles

You’ll also get a validation sticker with your vehicle registration. The back of the sheet with the sticker on it will show you where to put it on the plate.

You can’t display more than one licence plate on your vehicle or any other type of plate that could be mistaken for a valid licence plate.

Some vehicles don’t have to have a licence plate or registration. For more details, see the non-eligible vehicles page.

Temporary licence plates

Alberta does not have a temporary licence plate. We can issue you a special permit called an in-transit permit, which will be discussed below.

Transfer a licence plate to a new vehicle

If you already have a valid licence plate and registration and want to use it on a new vehicle, you can request it to be transferred. For more details, see the transfer a registration.

Lost, stolen and damaged licence plates or year stickers

If your licence plate or year sticker (also known as a validation tab) is lost or stolen, report it to the police.

To replace the licence plate and/or validation tab, visit a registry agent office and:

If your licence plate becomes difficult to read due to wear or damage, it could result in a fine. You must apply for a replacement licence plate through a registry agent.

Types of licence plates

Alberta issues a variety of standard and specialty licence plates and permits.

For short-term registrations we offer an in-transit permit.

Antique

An antique passenger or motorcycle plate is available for vehicles or motorcycles that are 25 years old or more and will be only used in the following ways:

  • as a collector’s item in exhibitions
  • in club activities
  • in parades
  • as transportation to and from these events
  • as transportation to servicing appointments

To get an antique plate, you must meet the following criteria:

  • provide acceptable identification
  • the vehicle must be a minimum of 25 years old
  • if it’s imported, you need an import form
  • have proof of ownership
  • if the vehicle is from outside Alberta, you have a vehicle inspection

Consular corps

Consular corps plates are issued to diplomats that are serving in Alberta on behalf of their country.

Consular Corps plates can only be issued by one of the Motor Vehicles District offices in Calgary or Edmonton. To book an appointment call:

Ham radio operator

Ham radio operator plates can be issued to Albertans who have a valid Amateur Radio Operator Certificate issued by Industry Canada.

Ham radio operator plates bear the ham radio operator’s call sign shown on their Amateur Radio Operator Certificate. Canadian ham radio operator call signs have a national prefix for each province that has 2 letters and a number. They also have the 2 or 3 letter suffix of your call sign.

Alberta’s assigned prefixes are:

  • VA6
  • VE6

Albertans may request personalized veterans’ plates displaying their ham radio operator call letters if it doesn’t have more than 5 total characters.

If you’re moving to Alberta from another jurisdiction, you cannot use the prefix from the other jurisdiction. Your plate will be printed with the Alberta prefix and your call sign.

To obtain you Alberta ham radio operator’s plate, you need:

  • acceptable identification
  • a valid Amateur Radio Operator Certificate

Personalized

A personalized plate cannot be requested for dealer, antique, consular corps or disabled plates.

Your plate must follow these guidelines:

  • must be letters and/or numbers – special characters are not permitted,including - (hyphen), ’ (apostrophe), ! (exclamation mark), ? (question mark)
  • have a minimum of 1 character and/or a maximum of 7 characters for regular plates
  • have a minimum of 1 character and/or a maximum of 5 characters for motorcycle plates
  • have a minimum of 1 character and/or a maximum of 5 characters (for veteran plate (3-pass, 2-58 and ham radio operator plates)

Personalized plates are issued on a first come first served basis. Plate configurations cannot be reserved.

There are also restrictions on what you can have on your personalized plate:

  • can’t be a look-alike or similar plate to one that already exists
  • can’t use the letter O, only a 0 (zero) may be used
  • no ethnic slurs
  • no religious slurs
  • no foul language
  • no sexual connotations
  • no political slurs
  • no illegal acts
  • no text that may cause identification problems, such as MLA, Mayor, Doctor, etc.
  • no text message abbreviation that may be offensive.
  • no words when translated are offensive.
  • no reference to alcoholic beverages, controlled substances or paraphernalia used in the consumption of these
  • must not be a configuration used by Motor Vehicles for regular licence plates

Transferring and changing a personalized plate

You may request a change to your personalized plate after the order is placed, within the first 90 days to:

  • cancel and refund – you must return both unused licence plates
  • exchange the unused plate for a new configuration

A personalized licence plate can only be transferred:

  • to an immediate family member, such as mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, spouse, common-law spouse and in-laws
  • between a company and the company owner, when the person is the only owner of the company

Once a personalized licence plate is issued, you don’t pay any additional fees to retain the special plate. You only pay the standard vehicle registration renewal fee.

Support our troops

The Government of Alberta introduced the special Support Our Troops licence plate in 2014. The Support Our Troops licence plate honours current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The majority of the revenue from the sale of this plate will go towards the Support Our Troops Program managed by the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services.

  • The design features artwork in honour of the first 4 Alberta-based Canadian soldiers whose lives were lost in Afghanistan in April 2002.
  • The plate is available for a one-time fee of $75 plus a $9 (plus GST) registry agent service charge.
  • This plate is only available for passenger vehicles used for personal transportation only.
  • You cannot choose the letters and numbers on the Support Our Troops plate. They are issued in sequential order and mailed directly from the manufacturer.

The Support Our Troops plate doesn’t replace the veterans licence plate and you cannot exchange a veterans licence plate for a Support Our Troops plate.

Unlike the veteran plate, anyone can order the Support Our Troops plate.

Veterans

The Government of Alberta introduced a special veterans' licence plate in 2005 and a motorcycle veterans' licence plate in 2012 to honour the contributions of Alberta veterans.

The Royal Canadian Legion (RCL), Alberta/NWT Command must approve all applications before you can be issued a veterans plate.

You can print an Application for a Veterans' Licence Plate (1.4 MB) or from the following address:

Alberta/NWT Command Veterans’ Plate
The Royal Canadian Legion
2020 15th Street NW
Calgary, Alberta T2M 3N8

Once you have an approved application form from the legion, you may request the plate from your local registry agent.

Standard veteran licence plates or veterans personalized licence plates can be used on:

  • passenger vehicles
  • commercial farm vehicles
  • motorcycles
  • ham radio operators

Veterans’ licence plates cannot be used on:

  • commercial vehicles (except commercial farm)
  • trailers
  • off-highway vehicles

When the veteran passes away, the veterans' licence plate may be retained only as a memento but can no longer be used on a vehicle.

In-transit permit

Alberta doesn’t have a temporary licence plate but we can issue a temporary vehicle registration permit in some situations.

An in-transit permit allows a person to move a vehicle or trailer that doesn’t have a valid vehicle registration and licence plate.

The in-transit permit can be used in the following situations:

  • moving a vehicle between 2 points in Canada
    • maximum 3 days within Alberta, maximum 7 days out of province
  • towing
    • maximum 3 days within Alberta, maximum 7 days out of province
  • for car dealership demonstration/test drive purposes
    • maximum 7 days
  • repairs/servicing
    • maximum 7 days
  • salvage vehicles
    • maximum 24 hours

When you’re moving the vehicle from one province to another, the starting point or ending point must be in Alberta.

Request an in-transit permit

To request an in-transit permit when using it in Alberta only, you need the following documents:

  • identification
  • proof of insurance

To request an in-transit permit when using inside and outside of Alberta, you need the following documents:

  • identification
  • proof of insurance
  • proof of ownership

When an unregistered vehicle or trailer is carrying a load, a load licensing permit is needed in addition to the in-transit permit.

Returning licence plates

If you have moved out of Alberta or no longer need your licence plate, you can return it to any registry agent office in-person or by mail.

To return a licence plate by mail, complete the Licence Plate/Parking Placard Cancellation Declaration form (0.2 MB).

Once the licence plate is returned, your file will be updated to show that you are no longer in possession of it.

You can also cancel your vehicle registration by submitting a Registration Cancelation.

Contact Drivers and Motor Vehicles

Edmonton and area: 780-427-4088
Other areas in Alberta (toll free): 1-877-427-4088
8:15 am - 4:30 pm, Mon - Fri. Closed statutory holidays.

mv@gov.ab.ca