Have you seen a vehicle with a plate that has QQ on it? You may wonder why it was in the U.S. and not replaced by a U.S. state plate. In this article, I’ll discuss the meaning of the QQ license plate.
There are two reasons you may see vehicles with QQ plates running in the streets of the United States. One reason is that it is a vehicle from Europe that is transported and is now being used in the United States. The other reason is that the car has a New Jersey plate, particularly an assigned antique vehicle, which is twenty-five years old.
Because they are already old or antiques, some plates have a QQ plate number as a form of historic registration. Renewal for these plates is every three years. Those from Europe are primarily military service vehicles, most of which come from Germany.
Read on to learn more about QQ plates’ meaning in some U.S. vehicles and relevant details.
QQ License Plate Meaning
A Vehicle from Europe
What does QQ on a license plate mean? If you see vehicles running on any street in the United States with a QQ plate, it could be for one of two reasons. It could be a European vehicle, but it is now being used in the country.
Old Vehicle Registered as an Antique Vehicle in New Jersey
An old or antique vehicle in the state of New Jersey can also have a QQ plate. Cars with this plate number as issued QQ plates under historical registration. To be given this QQ plate, the car should be at least 25 years old.
If the State of New Jersey issued the plate number, they are not the typical automobiles you can drive on U.S. streets and roads. They are purposely registered with QQ plates as display vehicles only. Usually, they are collector’s items for education and exhibits.
Still, the renewal of registration of vehicles with QQ plates in New Jersey state is every three years. But owners of QQ plated cars in New Jersey do not have to pay any registration fee. As motorized vehicles, they still have to carry automobile insurance.
German License Plate
Suppose the vehicle came from Europe, specifically from Germany. In that case, its plate is a German license plate with temporary USA authorization.
Perhaps a member of the United States Armed Forces service departments used it.
In other words, the vehicle with the QQ plate has a NATO plate. Often, such a plate has a blue sticker with a “USA” mark.
This sticker identifies the vehicle’s owner as an American while in Europe.
It also informs the authorities that the vehicle is registered under the provision of the treaties between the US and the host country. However, this authority is not transferrable to streets and roads of the United States.
What Is QQ on a License Plate?
To help you get an overall picture of this topic, let’s discuss the overview of QQ plates in these two areas: the New Jersey and the European license plates:
New Jersey QQ License Plates
The QQ plates in New Jersey are under the Historic Registration category. Only vehicles at least 25 years old can get this license plate; They are antique vehicles.
As such, they are regarded as collector’s items for exhibit and educational purposes. Additionally, the vehicle owner cannot modify or alter its original design.
While the vehicle is only for display and educational purposes, the state of New Jersey still requires its owner to register it every three years. The owner must also insure the vehicle, albeit with minimum coverage.
European QQ License Plates
The vehicles with QQ plates in the United States are probably the military vehicles of US armed forces personnel from Europe, particularly Germany.
You may ask: why did they not change it to a regular US vehicle state plate number? Most probably, it’s a vehicle with a German license plate with permission to stay in the United States.
That means the vehicle with the QQ plate is assigned to a member of the US armed forces. These plates are transferred to vehicles when shipped to the United States from overseas.
It is impossible to give vehicle license plates while crossing the ocean or when they are being transported.
But they still need valid or authorized plate numbers when they arrive on U.S. soil to be driven between the original port and their destination.
Authorities do not give plates to vehicles that are not present. So, QQ plates are provided to some cars to be driven temporarily in the country until they are provided with a local state plate.
In other words, when these vehicles leave Europe, their owners or drivers can use them in the United States right after they disembark from their port of entry. Usually, these vehicles have blue decals or stickers attached to the left side of the QQ plate with the “USA” text.
This decal shows the vehicle’s country of origin and permits the car to go anywhere across Europe. As a security measure, NATO forces are currently using local country plates rather than the plates in their original country of origin.
Again, what does QQ on the license plate mean? The QQ on a license plate means the car is a 25-yeat old (or more) antique vehicle. The vehicle is a collector’s item and is for educational purposes.
What Are the Requirements to Get New Jersey QQ Plates
In New Jersey, you just can’t get a QQ license for your vehicle. There are specific requirements that you should satisfy before getting this kind of license plate. What are these requirements?
1. Vehicle Must Be 25 Years Old
If you want a QQ license plate in New Jersey, your vehicle should be 25 years old.
2. A Collector’s Item
Your vehicle is a collector’s item.
3. Vehicle That Is for Exhibit and Educational Purposes
You cannot drive it around the streets of the United States. Its sole purpose is for exhibit and educational purposes only.
4. No Modifications
You should keep your car in its original form. No modifications.
5. Must Run Normally
While it is only for exhibit and educational purposes, the vehicle must still be able to operate normally on the streets and roads of New Jersey.
6. Must Be Insured
For a vehicle to have a QQ plate number, it should carry minimum insurance coverage.
7. Renewal of Registration
The registration of a QQ-plated vehicle is once every three years.
How to Apply for QQ Plate Registration in New Jersey
Follow the steps below to register your car in New Jersey for QQ plates:
- Get the required application/registration form from the concerned authorities
- Fill up the information required in the form.
- Prepare the following: a photocopy of your current New Jersey title issued in your name; two color photographs of your vehicle, precisely its front and side view; pay the required fee.
The usual fees depend on the type of vehicle you are trying to register. They are the following:
- Standard Historic Plates – $44
- Courtesy Historic Plates – $74
- Personalized Historic Plates – $94
- Personalized Fee – $50
What Is a US Army QQ License Plate?
If the State of New Jersey did not issue the QQ plate of the vehicle, it might be a vehicle from Germany. These are service vehicles for the US Armed Forces personnel for NATO-related work.
If you see the vehicle in the United States, it has a temporary authorization, not a permanent one.
Most of these vehicles originated in Europe. The majority of them have German license plates. But different authorities can also license them in the NATO countries.
These vehicles have decals or stickers attached to them. The decals on the stickers are different from each other. For instance, if it is a black sticker, it means the vehicle originated in Germany.
If it’s a blue sticker, it means the vehicle is allowed passage to countries that are European Union members.
The QQ plate also indicates that the vehicle has met the safety standards of the United States. It also tells you that the user has approval for its use in the country.
The U.S. government gave vehicles with QQ plates from Europe temporary plates starting in 2020. Previously, the letters SH were used and not QQ. One year later, the letters were abandoned, and bigger letters like the USA were used.
You may ask: why did the US Armed Forces personnel not use standard German civilian plates? The main reason is because of fear. The authorities were afraid of attacks on Army personnel in Germany. These plates used code systems that were not used in the German system to avoid confusion.
How to Get QQ License Plates in New Jersey
In 2008, New Jersey State introduced a law that regulates the issuance of QQ plates, or the Bill to Expand the Use of Historic Vehicles.
It was titled Legislation (A.B. 1495) which should amend the existing law regulating the use and registration of historic automobiles.
This law was meant to give owners of these vehicles the right to use them for pleasure. Assemblyman John Burzichelli authored it.
Under the existing laws of New Jersey, owners can only use historic vehicles in strictly limited cases, such as exhibitions and educational purposes. This new law, if passed, will also allow owners of such vehicles to use them at least once a week or on weekdays for recreational driving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are several answers to the most frequently asked questions about this topic. Reading them will help you remember the points that I have given in this article:
What Do the QQ Letters in a Vehicle’s Plate Number Mean?
The letters “QQ” on the plate numbers of certain cars in the United States means two things:
- The vehicle is from a European country.
- The vehicle is under the State of New Jersey Historical registration system.
How Does the U.S. Government Issue the QQ Plates?
Two conditions regulate the issuance of QQ plates. These two conditions are:
- A US Armed Forces personnel uses the vehicle as a service vehicle in the European NATO countries
- The vehicle is under the State of New Jersey’s Historical registration rules.
How Different Are the Two Types of QQ Plates?
Those from Europe are service vehicles for US Armed Forces personnel. The QQ vehicles issued by the State of New Jersey are only for exhibition and educational purposes.
In Closing: Meaning of QQ License Plate
If you see a vehicle in the United States with a QQ plate on it, it is for one of two reasons. One reason is that the car is from Europe and is now being used in the United States.
The second reason is that the vehicle has a New Jersey plate number. It could be an antique vehicle, at least twenty-five years old, used for educational and display purposes.