If you have just bought a brand new vehicle, one of the key items you will need to legally drive your automobile on the road is its license plate. While most of you already know this by now, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is currently encountering problems when it comes to issuing number plates. This means that even if your vehicle is already registered, it will take some time for it to get its official plate.
That being said, and in order to meet LTO requirements, car dealerships will give you a temporary plate that has been approved by the government agency. This will serve as a way to identify your vehicle while awaiting its official plate number to be released to you.
What is a temporary plate?
For those who don’t know, and as the name suggests, it is a temporary plate number that is given to your vehicle so that you can legally drive it on the road. It displays key information that will help better identify your vehicle on the road and will serve as proof that your vehicle is already registered and is awaiting a proper license plate. This also applies to motorcycles that have also been recently purchased but do not have official plates available.
Aside from brand new vehicles, this can also apply to vehicles that are transitioning from public use into private use, an example of which being old taxis being converted back into private vehicles. While these cars are awaiting their new official plate numbers, a temporary one can be used that utilizes the vehicle's old license plate as a basis albeit without the yellow color.
Temporary license plate format
Temporary plates that are given to vehicles in the Philippines must adhere to a specific format in order for them to be valid. The temporary plate must display the name of the dealership where the vehicle was purchased from and must be located either end of the plate. It also must display the word “registered” towards the upper part of the plate and must show your vehicle’s conduction number towards the middle. The temporary plate must also show your vehicle’s Motor Vehicle (MV) file number which is tied to the registration of your car. Aside from this the region in which the vehicle was registered must also be visible on the plate.
These temporary plates for cars must also adhere to a specific sizing format. The length of the plate must be 20-inches and with a width of 4.5-inches. As for the material used, there isn’t too much information about this, however, plastic is commonly used.
For motorcycles, on the other hand, there is a different format but still roughly displays the same information needed. It should display the region in which the motorcycle is registered in, along with the dealership and the vehicle’s MV file number in the middle. As for its sizing, it is much smaller than its car-related counterpart and does not come in a rectangular shape.
Why is it important?
With the backlog of plates still not yet fully addressed by the LTO, having a temporary license plate on your vehicle lets you legally drive it while you wait for your official plates. It also serves the purpose of identification that shows that you own the vehicle and that it has been registered. If you choose to drive your vehicle without these plates on you could face some serious fines as well as have your car or motorcycle impounded. It is always best to have these temporary plates on your vehicle at all times until your official plates have been released.
What if my temporary plate gets damaged, what do I do?
In the event that your temporary plate gets damaged or lost, you can always ask the dealership where you got your vehicle from for a new one. Optionally you can also have one made yourself provided it follows the LTO guidelines and has the proper paperwork associated with it. This will help you avoid future violations that you might incur later on with regard to improper plates. Better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your vehicle's registration.
When can I remove my temporary license plate?
The only time you can remove your temporary plate is when your official ones have been issued to you. The new official plates will now serve as the main method of identification for your vehicle thus making your temporary plates obsolete. Once you have received your new official plates you can then store your temporary plates for safekeeping. It is highly recommended that you do not throw it away as it could be used for illegal means by other people. You can also optionally return the plate to the dealership so it can be used on a different vehicle but without your conduction sticker number on it.
What if my official plates have not yet arrived?
In the event that your official plates have not yet been released to you, it is highly recommended you keep on using and taking care of your temporary plate. This will serve as its identification until your official plates arrive.
Don’t worry as the LTO has prioritized the release license plates for new vehicle owners and is currently able to meet that demand. However, those with older vehicles that have applied for the new plates will still have to wait as the government agency is slowly chipping away at this backlog.