You do have to give up your white plates, but you keep your black/yellow plates but you cannot install them. In the meantime they give you the "red/pink paper window tag" to live with and look at for a few months or more... That becomes your temporary license. Unfortunately, they only allowed 2 months on mine, which of course was not enough. If the car actually ran, I would have had to make another annoying trip to the DMV to extend the red/pink paper tag for a few more months. So, lesson learned. Ask for a 4 month period on the red/pink paper tag up front--maybe they'll give it to you.