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Delaware License Plate Search

In Delaware you must register your vehicle within 30 days of purchasing it or within 90 days of becoming a resident. You can retain your plates for a small fee, but you must surrender them if you are moving out of state or canceling your insurance.

Sample Delaware License Plate

Sample Delaware License Plate

Applying for License Plates in Delaware

All vehicles must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Delaware. This includes cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, and motorhomes.

If you are a new resident in Delaware, you have 60 days to register your vehicle.

If you are buying a new or used vehicle, you have 30 days to register your vehicle.

When you are registering your vehicle for license plates in Delaware, be sure to have the following:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Certificate of passing emissions test
  • Completed form MV-212: Certificate of Title Application
  • Valid Driver’s License from Delaware
  • Payment for all related registration fees

Note: When you buy a vehicle from a dealer, they will usually handle the registration of your vehicle’s license plates.

Costs for Delaware License Plates

These are just a few of the fees you’ll be required to pay when you register your vehicle at the DMV:

  • Registration fee: $40 a year
  • License Plate Replacement: $5
  • Replacement Sticker: $5
  • Retaining Licence Plates:
    • With a lien: $55
    • Without a lien: $35
    • Transfer fee (of retained plates): $20

Types of License Plates in Delaware

The standard license plate in Delaware has a blue background with gold letters. You can also choose from the following types of license plates:

  1. Disability Plates & Placards
  2. Personalized Plates
  3. Specialty Plates

Disability License Plates in Delaware

If you are eligible, you can obtain a disability placard, which is to be hung from your rearview mirror. Or you can get a disability license plate instead. These are available for:

  • People with permanent disabilities
  • People with temporary disabilities (license plates not available)
  • Disabled veterans (placards not available)

Whether you obtain the placard or the license plate, you will be permitted to park in any handicapped parking spaces.

Out-of-state placards and license plates are valid in Delaware. If you become a resident, you will be obligated to register your vehicle and obtain new plates or placard.

Personalized License Plates for Delaware

For just $40 (in addition to your standard registration fees), you can get a personalized license plate.

On this plate, you can:

  • Use letters, numbers, hyphens, spaces, and "&"
  • Use up to 7 characters, or up to 5 characters for motorcycles

You cannot:

  • Use profanity
  • Choose all numbers
  • Create a combination of 1s and 0s or Is and Os
  • Copy a pre-existing plate number

You can look up available license plates for free online.

Specialty License Plates in Delaware

There are many specialty license plates to choose from in Delaware, from ornamental styles to proud representations of your school, state, or charity. Here’s are some of the most common specialty plates you can get:

  • Fraternity & Sorority License Plates
  • In-State University License Plates
  • Out-of-State University License Plates
  • Charity & Non-Profit License Plates
  • Organizational License Plates
  • Military Honor License Plates
  • Antique Vehicles in Delaware License Plates

Additional fees are required for these specialty plates. For example, an antique-vehicle plate will cost you $25.

Placement of License Plates in Delaware

Delaware requires you to have only 1 license plate, which must be placed on the rear of the vehicle. This license plate must:

  • Be attached to the back
  • Be 12 inches from the ground
  • Have its registration sticker visible on lower right corner

Don’t get caught without a license plate; see lost or missing plates for more information.

Lost, Stolen, or Damaged License Plates in Delaware

Here are the fees for lost, stolen, or damaged license plates in Delaware:

  • License Plate & Sticker: $10
  • Sticker or License Plate only: $5

You must report your plates to the police if they were stolen. The DMV will provide you with temporary tags or plates until your new license plates are delivered.

You may be able to apply for the same license plate number. However, you may want to get a new one to avoid problems if your plate was stolen.

Transfer License Plates in Delaware

If you are the owner of a new vehicle, you can transfer your old license plates. You can also request to retain your license plates until you have purchased a new vehicle.

You must visit your local DMV office to apply for a transfer. When you do, remember to bring:

  • Your titles (for both vehicles)
  • Proof of insurance
  • Payment for transfer fees

If you are buying a new car from a dealership or trading in, often they will handle the transfer of your license plates for you.

Retaining License Plates in Delaware

Perhaps you want to use your license plates for a future vehicle, but you haven’t purchased one yet. In this case, you can retain your license plates at the DMV office. Here’s what you’ll pay:

  • $35 retention fee

When you purchase a new vehicle, you can return to the DMV to register with your retained plates.

Surrendering License Plates in Delaware

If you plan on moving to a new state or country, you’ll have to surrender your license plates. Other situations requiring you to surrender your plates include:

  • Applying for a new license plate
  • Canceling your vehicle’s insurance

If you cannot return your license plates in person, you can also mail them to a DMV office in Delaware.

How to look up Delaware license plates

In some situations, you may want to perform a background check on the vehicle you are purchasing, or check if a license plate number is available.

FindByPlate offers a free search engine allowing you to look up license plates in Delaware.

Find out if the car you’re thinking about buying was stolen, or whether “CUTECARE” is available to personalize your plate.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to look up Delaware license plates and report bad drivers:

  1. Open a web browser
  2. Go to
  3. Enter the plate number, and select state
  4. View the report
  5. View images submitted by the community
  6. View videos submitted by the community
  7. Add comments
  8. Add pictures of the vehicle
  9. Add videos related to the vehicle