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If you’re registering a vehicle in Illinois, you can choose a variety of customized license plates. Alternatively, personalization allows you to add custom characters for your plate number.

Sample Illinois License Plate

Types of License Plates in Illinois

When you register your vehicle with the Illinois Secretary of State (SOS), you can choose from a variety of different license plates available.

The standard Illinois license plate has a blue and white background with an image of Lincoln and dark red lettering.

If you don’t want to register a standard plate, you can also obtain a customized plate. See below for more information about customized plates.

There are also plates and placards for people with disabilities which allows them to park in designated parking zones throughout the state. 

All of these plates have the option to be personalized.

Customized License Plates in Illinois

There are so many license plates in Illinois that can capture your personality. Here are a few of the special designs available:

  • Military License Plates
    • Ex-POW
    • Purple Heart
    • U.S. Navy Veteran
    • Iraq Medal

To obtain these plates, you must have proof of enrollment with the American military services. If you are eligible, you must pay the required fees to obtain these plates. Some of these custom plates are provided for free, for example the Ex-Prisoner of War license plate.

  • Antique License Plates
    • Street Rods
    • Vintage Vehicles

Antique plates cost $30 (every 5 years) and will only be issued to vehicles that are 25 years and older. You must also keep the vehicle in original conditions, any modifications could disqualify your application for the antique license plates.

  • Collegiate License Plates
    • University of Notre Dame
    • Malcolm X College
    • Illinois State University

To register for these plates, you must pay $40 to order and $27 to renew. These fee contribute toward scholarships at the corresponding universities.

  • Organizational Plates
    • Chicago Bears
    • Police Officer
    • Support Our Troops
    • Autism Awareness
    • Prevent Violence

These organizational plates range from $25 to $40 to order. Some of the money from these fees will be donated to the organization. You will be expected to pay additional fees each year for renewal.

Contact your local Illinois SOS for more details about custom license plates.

Applying for License Plates in Illinois

You can apply for specialty plates online, in person, or by mail. You’ll be required to submit the following documents:

  • Title and registration documents
  • Proof of insurance
  • Valid ID (i.e. Illinois driver’s license)
  • Current license plate (if applicable)
  • VIN
  • Payment for fees

If you are registering a vehicle for the first time (i.e. it doesn’t have plates), you’ll have to pay the standard registration fees in addition to any fees for specialty or personalization of license plates.

Note: You have 20 days to register a newly bought vehicles and 30 days to register an out-of-state vehicle (for new residents).

Renewing License Plates in Illinois

Before the expiration date on your decal stickers, you must renew your vehicle with the Illinois SOS. You can renew your vehicle's registration:

  • In person
  • By mail
  • Online
  • By phone

After you have contacted or visited an office, you will receive new stickers to place on your license plate. You must renew your plates before the expiration date to avoid late fees.

Temporary License Plates in Illinois

If you have brought your car from out-of-state or have purchased a new vehicle, you may require temporary license plates. Temporary license plates in Illinois allow you to drive legally while your regular plates are being processed.

You can pick up temporary license plates from:

  • SOS office
  • Dealership
  • Remittance agent

Temporary license plates in Illinois are valid for 90 days.

Transfer License Plates in Illinois

The only way to transfer license plates to another person is if they are the joint owner (i.e. spouse or close relative). Otherwise, you are the sole owner of your license plate and you will keep your plates after selling or donating your vehicle.

If you purchase a new vehicle, you can transfer it over. You can complete the transfer of your license plates at the nearest SOS office and you’ll need:

  • Form VSD 190: Application for Vehicle Transaction
  • Vehicle registration papers
  • Payment for transfer: $25

If you’re transferring your plates over to another joint owner, you will also be required to fill out form VSD 393: Affirmation of Correction.

Lost or Stolen License Plates in Illinois

In the event that you license plates have been stolen, removed, or lost, you can get them replaced by the SOS. You can apply for replacements online or by visiting the nearest office.

You’ll require the following:

  • Form VSD 190: Application for Vehicle Transaction
  • Payment for fees:
    • 1 New Plate: $6
    • 2 New Plates: $9
    • New Stickers: $20

You may have to wait to receive your new plates and you should contact the SOS office in case you want to have the same plate number.

Surrender License Plates in Illinois

If you sell your vehicle and don’t get a new one, cancel your car insurance, or move to a new state, you’ll have to surrender your license plates to the nearest SOS office.

Summary of Fees for License Plates in Illinois

Through this article you saw a few of the fews required when you register, renew, or replace your vehicle’s license plates. The following is a summary of those fees:

  • Standard Plate Registration Fee:
    • Vehicles: $101
    • Motorcycles: $41
  • Plate Renewal Fee:
    • Vehicles: $101
    • Motorcycles: $41
  • Transfer fee: $25
  • Replacement Fee:
    • 2 Plates: $9
    • 1 Plate: $6
    • Decal Stickers: $20
  • Personalization:
    • Vehicles: $108
    • Motorcycles: $48

Look Up License Plates in Illinois

If you intend to personalize your license plate, you should always look up available license plates prior to going to the SOS office.

Here you can search for available plate numbers and get some background details for vehicles registered with a license plate.

Start your first search to look up license plates in Illinois.