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Michigan License Plate Search

You can apply for a license plate in person by registering your vehicle a SOS office in Michigan.

You’ll receive a standard license plate for Michigan or choose from a list of specialty styles.

Sample Michigan License Plate

Types of License Plates in Michigan

Michigan requires you to register your vehicle with the Secretary of State (SOS). You can find offices within each county and applications must be done in person.

The standard license plate for Michigan has a white and blue background with blue lettering and “Pure Michigan” across the top. This is the license plate that will be issued to you after registering your vehicle.

Alternatively, you can select a specialized license plate that has a unique design of a local organization, charity, or cause.

If you have a disability, it is possible to obtain disability license plates and placards which allows you to park in special parking spaces.

All plates, with a few exceptions, can be personalized with a unique set of characters.

Specialty License Plates in Michigan

In Michigan, you can obtain a beautifully ornament specialty license plate. The following are a few examples of what’s available:

  • Military License Plates
    • Spouses of Veterans
    • Military Veterans
    • Air Force
    • Coast Guard
    • Marine Corp

Registering military plates may require additional fees and documents that prove eligibility.

  • Charitable License Plates
    • Awareness for Breast Cancer
    • Veterans’ Memorial
    • American Red Cross Initiatives
    • Food Bank

Typically, the fees for the charitable plates above start at $35 to order ($25 will be donated to the organization) and $10 to renew.

  • Organization License Plates
    • Fraternal Order of Police
    • Fireman’s Association
    • Free Masons of Michigan

These plates require proof of membership along with a $25 fee to register.

You can find a complete list of specialty license plates by contacting an SOS office.

Personalizing License Plates in Michigan

After checking plate number availability, you can apply to get your license plate personalized. These are the guidelines that must be following to have your application approved by the Michigan SOS:

  • Uses only letters, numbers and spaces
  • Does not contain profanity or inappropriate messages
  • Within the limit of allowable characters

There is a $30 service for personalizing your license plates in addition to the standard registration fees. At renewal, you will be charged an additional $15 for personalized plates.

Applying for License Plates in Michigan

When you buy a new vehicle, you must register and title within 15 days of purchase. If you have obtained a title certificate for your new vehicle, you are permitted to drive on the roads legally for 3 days.

Within those 3 days, you should register your vehicle with an SOS office in your county.

If you are a new resident to Michigan, you must register your out-of-state vehicle promptly.

Renewing License Plates in Michigan

Before you’re license plates expire, you can renew your vehicles registration by payment any required fees:

  • Online
  • In person
  • By mail

You’ll receive a new set of validation stickers which you can place over the old ones on your rear license plate.

Transferring License Plates in Michigan

You are permitted to transfer your license plates under these conditions:

  • To a new vehicle under your name
  • To a family member under their name

When you transfer your vehicle you’ll require the following:

  • Registration information from the vehicle plates are being transferred from
  • Title for vehicle plates are being transferred to
  • Completed forms and documents for transfer
  • Payment for transfer fee: $8

If you sell your vehicle and don’t have a new vehicle to transfer them to, you’ll have to surrender your license plates.

Surrendering License Plates in Michigan

You must surrender your license plates in Michigan if:

  • Cancel vehicle’s insurance
  • Move to a new state / country
  • Do not transfer plates to a new vehicle or buyer
  • Upgrade to a custom / personalized license plate

Contact the Michigan SOS to get more details about surrendering your license plates.

Replacement License Plates in Michigan

If your license plates have been lost, stolen, or damaged, you can get replacements from your county’s SOS office. You must apply for replacements in person and you’ll require the following:

  • Valid ID (i.e. Michigan driver’s license)
  • Vehicle’s registration documents
  • Payment for replacement fees:
    • New Plate: $5
    • New Stickers: $5

If your plates were damaged, you may have to surrender the damaged plates to the SOS office.

In the event that your license plates were stolen, you should contact the police immediately. Although you are not required, doing so prevents your previous plates from being abused by criminals.

Summary of Fees for License Plates in Michigan

The following is a summary of fees associated with license plates in the state of Michigan:

  • Standard Plates:
    • Plate fee: these fees are determined by your vehicle’s value or weight, age is also factored in. Contact your Michigan SOS office for more details.
  • Transfer:
    • Transfer fee: $8
  • Replacement:
    • Plate fee: $5
    • Sticker fee: $5
  • Personalized Plate:
    • To order: $30
    • Renewal: $15
  • Specialized Plates
    • Charity Plates
      • To order: $35
      • Renewal: $10
    • Military Plates
      • Fees vary by plate type
    • Historic Plates
      • To order: $30 (valid for 10 years)
    • Special Organizations:
      • To order: $25

For the most recent and updated version of these fees, please contact your nearest SOS office. These fees should be used for reference purposes only.

Looking Up License Plates in Michigan

It is possible to look up license plates in the state of Michigan to obtain information about a vehicle’s history.

You can also use this to search for available plate numbers should you want to personalize your license plates.

Lookup a license plate in Michigan here.