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New Mexico License Plate Search

Residents of New Mexico must register their vehicles with the Motor Vehicle Department. Upon registration, vehicle owners can apply for specialty, disability, or personalized license plates.

Sample New Mexico License Plate

Sample New Mexico License Plate

Applying for License Plates in New Mexico

All vehicles owned by residents of New Mexico must be registered with the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD).

If you have recently purchased a new or used vehicle, you have 30 days to register your vehicle.

If you have recently moved to New Mexico and own an out-of-state vehicle, you also have 30 days to register your vehicle.

To apply for a license plate in New Mexico, you are required to provide the following to an MVD office:

  • Completed application forms
  • Vehicle title documents
  • Proof of insurance
  • Valid ID (i.e., New Mexico driver’s license)
  • Payment for registration fees

When you have successfully registered your vehicle, you may receive standard license plates right away, or you may have to wait until they are mailed to you.

Types of License Plates In New Mexico

The standard license plate in New Mexico will be issued when you complete your vehicle’s registration. It has a yellow background with dark red lettering.

You can apply for one of the many decorative, specialty license plates. Some may require proof of enrollment to an organization or service to be eligible (e.g., special military license plates).

If you have a disability, you may be eligible for disability plates and placards. These license plates are issued if you have a permanent or temporary disability with medical proof.

Most of the license plates issued in New Mexico can be personalized to have a custom plate number.

Temporary License Plates in New Mexico

Before purchasing a new or used vehicle, you must pick up a temporary license plate from an MVD office.

A temporary license plate permits you to drive legally while you register your vehicle and wait for your license plates.

Temporary license plates are valid for 30 days. This gives you ample time to register and receive your new plates.

Specialty License Plates Available in New Mexico

These are some of the specialty license plates available in New Mexico:

  • Adopt a Child License Plate
  • Children’s Trust Fund License Plate
  • Breast Cancer Awareness License Plate
  • Eastern New Mexico University License Plate
  • New Mexico Tech License Plate
  • University of New Mexico License Plate
  • Organ Donor License Plate
  • Air Force License Plate
  • Ex-POW License Plate
  • Navy License Plate
  • Female Veteran License Plate
  • Horseless Carriage License Plate
  • Classic Car License Plate
  • Street Rod License Plate
  • Fraternal Order of Police License Plate
  • Firefighter License Plate
  • EMT License Plate

These specialty license plates have their own registration fee in addition to the standard registration fees you are expected to pay.

For example, any of the emergency responder plates will require you to provide proof of service (e.g., firefighter license) and a registration fee of $27.

There may also be additional fees when it's time to renew your specialty license plates.

Personalizing License Plates in New Mexico

Personalized plates can be registered only if the plate number is available.

When applying for a personalized plate, you are required to follow the guidelines provided by the MVD. Personalized license plates must:

  • Have up to 7 characters for vehicles
  • Have up to 6 characters for trailers and motorcycles
  • Use a combination of letters and numbers
  • Not use profanity or indecent suggestions
  • Be available to register and not appear like another plate that's already registered (e.g., “H1P P1E” vs. “HIP P1E”)

You may be able to submit several choices for personalized plates if your first choice is not accepted. To search for available plate numbers, use the search bar above.

Personalized license plates in New Mexico will cost $17 in addition to any registration fees required for your vehicle.

License Plate Renewal in New Mexico

You are permitted to register your vehicle for 1 or 2 years at a time. When the expiration date arrives, you should renew your vehicles license plates in advance to avoid any late fees.

License plate renewals can be made in person, online, or by mail.

After you receive your new registration stickers, you can apply them to your rear vehicle. They remain valid for the next 1 or 2 years.

Transfer or Surrender License Plates in New Mexico

Your license plates can only be registered to vehicles titled in your name. You are not permitted to transfer your license plates to a new owner if you sell your car.

The exception is for vintage license plates, which must remain with the registered vehicle when being sold or traded.

If you do not require your license plates after selling, trading, or auctioning your vehicle, you may be required to surrender them to a local MVD office.

Replacement License Plates in New Mexico

If your license plates have been damaged, lost, or stolen, you must go to the MVD office in person to apply for replacement license plates.

The MVD in New Mexico may require you to file a police report before replacing your plates. Be sure to save your police report and bring it to the office when you submit your replacement application.

In the case of damaged license plates, you may be requested to surrender your damaged plates.

It is possible to apply for the same plate number under some circumstances. Please contact your MVD office in New Mexico for more details about replacement plates.

Looking Up License Plates for Free

You can look up license plates in New Mexico and any other state for free using the search bar above or below.

When you look up a license plate, be sure to enter the plate number accurately and choose the correct state.

You will receive results that indicate whether a plate name is available. If a plate number is already registered to a vehicle, you may be able to obtain additional information about that vehicle’s history.