In Arizona, all vehicles must be registered in person at a DMV office, and you will be issued a license plate accordingly. Costs vary based on the type of vehicle and style of plate.
When you're buying a new or used vehicle from a licensed dealer, they should provide you with a temporary plate. This allows you to drive your vehicle until your Arizona license plate arrives.
In addition to the temporary plate, you can also apply for a restricted permit if you're buying a vehicle from a private owner. This allows you to drive your vehicle for inspection, registration, titling, and returning to your home.
You can apply for an Arizona license plate by registering your vehicle at the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). Offices can be found throughout the state, and you should choose the one nearest to your residence.
When you purchase your vehicle, you must register it right away. Remember, the temporary permit is valid for only 3 days. Failure to register your vehicle within that time can lead to other consequences.
While you're obligated to register your vehicle the moment you become a resident, you must also take your vehicle for an emissions test. If you're bringing your own vehicle from the previous state you lived in, any emissions test from there will be invalid—the test will need to be redone.
Your vehicle must pass Arizona’s smog and emissions test in order for you to complete the registration and obtain your Arizona license plates.
A few vehicle types are exempt from an emissions test:
Note: If you modify or reconstructed a vehicle that is exempt, this may nullify its exemption.
After you have registered your vehicle, you can choose between standard and specialized license plates.
The standard license plate in Arizona comes with the catchphrase “Grand Canyon State,” with a beautiful scene of a setting sun behind mountains.
Alternatively, you can apply for specialty license plates that come in the following designs:
In addition to getting custom-style license plates, you can also personalize the characters on your plates. For example, if you wanted ILOVEAR or SLORIDER or something else, you simply have to pay an additional $50 for personalization.
There are a few rules to follow if you decide to personalize your Arizona license plates:
If you want to check which plates are available for personalization, use this free arizona license plate search tool.
When you go to the MVD in Arizona, you can register and title your vehicle at the same time. The fees for this are:
If you require a permit to bring your vehicle to the MVD, here’s the cost:
In the state of Arizona, you are also obliged to pay a vehicle license tax whenever you are registering or renewing a vehicle. You will be charged in increments of $100 using these rates:
This tax is assessed by calculating your vehicle’s overall value, using 60% of the manufacturer's original retail price. Each year you renew your vehicle, the cost will be lowered by 16.25% to reflect depreciation.
Note: People purchasing specialized or personalized license plates will have additional fees.
If you lose your license plates or have them stolen, make sure to replace them as soon as possible. If you suspect that your plates have been stolen, you should contact the police and file a report. This can prevent your plates from being abused and misused.
You can apply for a replacement either in person or by mail.
Note: If standard plates are in stock, the MVD can prepare your plates and return them to you on the same day. If you have specialty plates, you’ll receive them a few days later in the mail.
There’s a free online tool you can use to look up license plates in Arizona. Find My Plate allows you to look up a vehicle’s driver history and vehicle history. If you’re buying a car privately, this tool can tell you whether a vehicle is stolen or not.
You can also use FindByPlate to search for available license plates in Arizona. If you want to personalize your license plate, you can use the tool to see which numbers are available to register.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to look up Arizona License Plates and report bad drivers: