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Massachusetts License Plate Search

License plates are issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Massachusetts. New residents must register their out-of-state vehicles within 30 days of their arrival.

There are various speciality license plates to choose from, which can also be personalized.

Sample Massachusetts License Plate

Sample Massachusetts License Plate

Types of License Plates in Massachusetts

You are required to register your vehicles in the state of Masaachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).

The license plates you receive must be attached to the rear and front of your vehicle (except for motorcycles and trailers). You must also attach validation stickers that show when the license plates expire.

For people with disabilities, it is possible to obtain special license plates and placards which permit them to park in designated spots.

There are also specialty plates which represent various organizations, charities, and groups in Massachusetts.

The standard plate issued by the RMV has a white background with red lettering (including the slogan, “The Spirit of America”).

All license plates in Massachusetts can be personalized.

Specialty License Plates in Massachusetts

To add a custom style to the back end of your vehicle, you can choose from the following specialty license plates in Massachusetts:

  • Support Our Troops License Plates
  • University of Massachusetts License Plates
  • Conquer Cancer License Plates
  • Animal Coalition License Plates
  • Olympic Spirit License Plates
  • Red Sox Fun License Plates
  • Cape & Island License Plates
  • Leaping Trout License Plates
  • Blackstone Valley License Plates
  • Fraternity Order of Police License Plates
  • Ex-POW License Plates
  • Miltiary Veterans License Plates
  • War Survivors License Plates
  • Classic Car License Plates

See the “Summary of Fees for License Plates in Massachusetts” to get a general idea of the cost of some of these specialty license plates.

Personalizing License Plates in Massachusetts

You can create a custom plate number for your license plate for just $80 ($50 to order the plate and $30 to register it).

The Massachusetts RMV requires you to follow these guidelines if you want to personalize your license plates. Massachusetts license plates must…

  • begin with 2 letters
  • contain up to 6 characters (or 5 characters for motorcycle plates)
  • not mix numbers and letters
  • not use offensive or discriminatory phrases or words
  • be unique and not already registered

Here’s an example of a plate you can have: “ZZ9876” or “AB1234”. You cannot have “AA19BB” or “123ABC”.

Applying for License Plates in Massachusetts

If you’re a new resident, you must register your out-of-state vehicle within 30 days.

If you recently purchased a new vehicle, registering it will vary according to how it was acquired (gifted or purchased) and which county it came from.

When applying for license plates in Massachusetts, you’ll require the following:

  • Titling and registration documents
  • Bill of sale
  • Proof of insurance for vehicle
  • Valid ID (i.e., Massachusetts driver’s license)
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Payment for registration fees

If your vehicle was gifted, you may be exempted from paying sales tax.

If purchasing your vehicle from a dealership, some dealers will handle the registration of your vehicle.

Renewing License Plates in Massachusetts

Your license plates have decals attached to the rear one. The dates on these stickers refer to when your registration expires.

You may receive a reminder in the mail, but payment for renewal must be made before the plates expire, to avoid late fees.

You can renew your vehicle’s license plates:

  • In person
  • By mail
  • Online

You’ll receive a new sticker after your payment is processed. You can place these over the old stickers on your license plate.

Transferring License Plates in Massachusetts

You may transfer your Massachusetts license plates from your old vehicle to a new vehicle if:

  • Your new vehicle is registered in your name
  • You transfer the plates within 7 days of registering the new vehicle

It will cost you $25 to transfer your plates, along with any other registration fees required for your vehicle.

Surrendering License Plates in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, you are required to surrender your license plates if:

  1. You move to a different state
  2. You cancel your vehicle’s insurance
  3. You do not need your plates after selling or donating your vehicle

You can use the RMV’s online services to cancel your plates. Afterward, you can surrender your plates by mailing them or bringing them to the nearest RMV office in Massachusetts.

Alternatively, you can destroy and recycle your own plates if you no longer need them. You should still cancel your plates online if you choose to do this.

Summary of Fees for License Plates in Massachusetts

The following list will give you a general idea of the costs required when registering your vehicle with the RMV:

  • Standard License Plates (+ Renewal):
    • Motorcycles: $20
    • Passenger Vehicles: $60
  • Replacement
    • Plate Replacement Fee: $10 / plate
  • Titling
    • Titling fee: $75
  • Transfer
    • Transfer fee: $25
  • Specialty License Plates
    • Antique Plates: $20 + $30 registration fee
    • Year of Manufacture Plate: $50 a year
    • Ex-POW Plate: Free
    • Military Veteran Plates: $100 for 2 years
    • Organizational Plates: $40–$50 + $60 registration fee
  • Personalized License Plates:
    • Order Fee: $50 + $30 registration fee
    • Renewal Fee: $80

Registering your vehicle may also require payment of taxes, titling fees, service fees, and additional fees. Contact your local RMV for more details.

Looking Up License Plates for Vehicles

If you want to see the history of a used vehicle before purchasing, it is possible to look up license plates in Massachusetts.

All you need to look up license plates is the plate number and the state name.

You can use this license plate search tool to find available plate numbers for personalization.