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Maryland License Plate Search

Vehicles in Maryland can be registered with the Motor Vehicle Administration. License plates and validation stickers are issued and must be attached to a vehicle in order to drive legally.

There are various specialty license plates available which can also be personalized.

Sample Maryland License Plate

Sample Maryland License Plate

How to Apply for License Plates in Maryland

All vehicles owned by Maryland residents must be registered with the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).

It is possible to register your vehicle by mail or in person at a county MVA office.

When you register a vehicle in Maryland, you’ll be required to submit the following:

  • Vehicle title
  • Application forms
    • VR-005: for vehicle registration and titling
    • VR-217: applicable if there’s a lien on your car
  • Proof of insurance
  • Bill of sale
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Lease agreement (if applicable)
  • Power of Attorney (if someone is registering your car on your behalf)
  • Safety inspection certificate (valid for 90 days)
  • Payment for fees
    • See “Summary of Fees for License Plates in Maryland” (below)

Check with your MVA office to ensure you have everything necessary to register your vehicle.

Types of License Plates in Maryland

Maryland offers a standard license plate for those who register their vehicles. The standard license plate has a white background with black lettering and the state’s crest in the centre.

If you prefer something unique, you can choose from a range of specialty plates.

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

All of the above plates can be personalized (see “Personalizing License Plates in Maryland,” below).

Specialty License Plates in Maryland

If you want to stylize your vehicle by adding a specialty license plate, here’s a list of available plates in Maryland:

  • Calvary Baptist Church License Plates
  • Faith United Baptist Church License Plates
  • Cure Autism Now License Plates
  • Food Bank License Plates
  • Crescent Yacht Club License Plates
  • East Carolina Alumni License Plates
  • Alpha Phi Alpha License Plates
  • Air Conditioning Contractors License Plates
  • Boys Latin School License Plates
  • Fraternity Order of Police License Plates
  • Ex-POW License Plates
  • Military Veterans License Plates
  • Chesapeake Bay License Plates
  • Kosovo Campaign License Plates
  • Street Rod License Plates

The fees for these specialty plates vary, but some are as follows:

  • License Plate with Logo: $25
  • License Plate without Logo: $10
  • Classic Car Plates: $50

These fees are required in addition to the standard registration fees for your vehicle. Contact your nearest MVA for more information about specialty license plates.

Personalizing License Plates in Maryland

Personalized license plates allow you to create a custom plate number. Whether you want to show off your personality or express your opinion, you must follow the state's guidelines:

  • Must use 2 to 7 characters (i.e., letters or numbers)
  • Plate number must not be in use already
  • No vulgarities, rude slogans, or obscene language
  • Cannot suggest association to a public group (e.g., police)

If you do not follow these guidelines, the MVA can reject your application for personalized plates. You can search for available plate names for free online.

If approved, you must pay the $50 fee in addition to any registration fees required.

Installing License Plates in Maryland

When you receive your license, you must attach them to the front and back of your vehicle. If you have registered a motorcycle or trailer, you may only be required to attach a license plate to the rear.

In addition to your plates, you must also display your validation stickers in the designated corners of your license plates. The stickers display the month and year which indicate when your vehicle’s registration expires.

Renewing License Plates in Maryland

Typically, license plates in Maryland are valid for up to 2 years. When your plates are about to expire, you can renew them:

  • In person
  • By mail
  • Online

You’ll receive new decals either at the MVA office or in the mail. When you receive them, you can place the decals right over the old ones.

Replacing License Plates in Maryland

It may be necessary to replace your license plates if they have been lost, damaged, or stolen.

You can submit an application for replacement plates in person or by mail. You’ll require the following:

  • Completed Form VR-009: Application for Substitute Plates/Stickers/Moped Motor Scooter Off-Road Vehicle Decal/Duplicate Registration
  • Return license plate
  • Any remaining license plates
  • Your registration card
  • A form of ID, if you're applying in person
  • Payment for the appropriate fee:
    • License plate and stickers: $20
    • Stickers: $5
    • Month sticker only is free

Surrender Maryland License Plates

You are expected to surrender your license plates if you:

  • Move to a new state
  • Cancel your vehicle’s insurane
  • Sell your vehicle and no longer require the license plates

To surrender your plates, you can either:

  • Mail them to a nearby MVA office
  • Drop them off in person at an MVA office

If you are surrendering your plates before the expiration date, you may be eligible for a refund. Check with your local MVA office to learn more.

Summary of Fees for License Plates in Maryland

The fees for vehicle registration, sticker renewal, and replacement are summarized below:

  • Standard License Plate Fee:
    • Vehicles less than 3,700 lbs: $135 for 2 years
    • Vehciles more than 3,700 lbs: $187 for 2 years
    • Motorcycles: $104 for 2 years
  • Replacement
    • License Plate & Decals: $20
    • Decals: $5
    • Monthly Decal: Free
  • Transfer
    • Transfer Fee: $10

Looking Up License Plates in Maryland

When you are purchasing a used vehicle from a private seller, it is possible to look up a license plate and obtain background information about the vehicle. You can use this to verify whether the person selling you the vehicle is the real owner.

Additionally, this license plate search tool lets you find available license plate numbers in Maryland and other states across the USA.