At the time of sale, a Georgia licensed motor vehicle dealer is required to issue one free dealer issued temporary operating permit (TOP) for the customer’s use. DOR Rule 560-10-32 provides all the requirements of a dealer issuing a TOP:
- Customers are allowed to apply for a new license plate or transfer a valid same category license plate from a vehicle they no longer own (i.e. a trailer license plate cannot be transferred to a car, etc.).
- The dealer cannot issue an extension or additional TOP nor can the customer operate the vehicle legally with an expired dealer-issued TOP.
- The customer will be unable to register and obtain or transfer a license plate if the title has not been issued in their name (when a title is required).
- The dealer is responsible for applying for the title for the customer when the vehicle requires a title but is not required to apply for new or transferred license plate.
- The dealer is not allowed to charge the customer for the TOP.
If the selling dealer fails to obtain a title to the customer within five days before the expiration of the license plate (25 days from date of purchase), the customer may apply for one 30-day TOP at their County Tag Office. The customer will be required to provide:
- The original dealer-issued TOP for destruction.
- Proof of ownership (dealer’s invoice)
- Valid Georgia driver’s license or state-issued identification card
- Completed Form T-226 Application to Extend the Registration Period of a Motor Vehicle Purchased from a Georgia Motor Vehicle Dealer
The dealer cannot issue a TOP when the vehicle is:
- To be registered under the International Registration Plan (IRP)
- A salvage vehicle
- Not self-propelled
- Not sold by the dealer
Format for Issuing Temporary Operating Permits
Dealer issued temporary operating permit card stock shall:
- Be the same size as the state-issued license plate.
- Be made of heavy stock paper to resist deterioration or fading due to exposure to weather conditions.
- Provide a rectangular box centered at the bottom of the card stock for adhering the official TOP sticker.
- White or light colored background.
- Contain a delaminating feature that will, if removed, destroy the official TOP sticker.
- Repeal commercially available inks and marking pens.
- Reflect your dealership’s name and address in spaces around the TOP sticker.
The Law Prohibits:
- The words “tag applied for” or similar statements added to the TOP sticker or card stock.
- Use by dealers whose primary business is the sale of salvage and other vehicles where loss claims have been paid from issuing TOPs.
- Extending or renewing the TOP beyond the initial expiration date.
- Placing the TOP on a vehicle other than the one sold.
- Issuing to a non-self-propelled vehicle (i.e., trailer, etc.)
- Issuing to a demonstrator, or for employee’s use, or for transporting vehicles from one location to another.
- Produced license plate resembling any license plate or temporary permit issued by the state.
- Issue to a vehicle to be registered under the International Registration Plan (IRP).
- Charging a fee for TOPs.
Storage and Shipping Requirements
- TOPs shall be stored in a secure area (not visible or accessible except in the course of a business transaction).
- Delivery or shipment of TOPs shall be secure in order that any delivery is traceable from the point of origin to the point of delivery.
TOPs are the responsibility of the licensed dealer.
The TOP sticker can be obtained from the dealer associations:
Used Car Dealer Association
Georgia Independent Automobile Dealers Association (GIADA)
6903-A Oak Ridge Commerce Way
Austell, Georgia 30168
Toll Free: 800-472-8101
New Car Dealer Association
Georgia Automobile Dealers Association (GADA)
2255 Cumberland Parkway
Atlanta, Georgia 30339-4515