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New York License Plate Search

You can register your vehicle and obtain license plates in New York from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

There are various license plates to choose from, such as standard plates, specialty plates, or disability plates. Most of these plates have the option to be personalized with a custom plate number.

To look up available plate numbers in New York, use the search bar above.

Sample New York License Plate

Sample New York License Plate

Types of License Plates in New York

Vehicles owned by New York residents must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

You can choose from a variety of license plates, such as:

  • The standard New York license plate
  • Specialty license plates
  • Disability license plates

Most of these license plates can be personalized to have a custom plate number. Personalization requires an application and has to follow the DMV’s guidelines.

In addition to the plates listed above, there are also temporary license plates. Temporary plates are required if you are purchasing a new vehicle and permit you to drive legally while you wait for your vehicle’s registration to be processed.

Temporary plates are valid for 30 days only and cannot be renewed.

Specialty License Plates in New York

You can apply for the following speciality license plates in New York:

  • Special Causes License Plates. Show your support for a local charity or non-profit organization; a portion of your plate fees goes toward helping their cause. Examples:
    • Blue Bird Environmental
    • Erie Canal
    • Drive for the Cure
  • Alumni and Collegiate License Plates. For people who want to express their support for their college or university. Examples:
    • University of Albany
    • Notre Dame
    • West Point
  • Sporting License Plates. Special license plates are available to show your support to a local or national team. For example:
    • Nascar—Jeff Gordon or Dale Earnhardt
    • NBA—Brooklyn Nets or New York Knicks
    • NHL—New York Rangers or Buffalo Sabers
    • NFL—Buffalo Bills or Giants Super Bowl 2012
  • Military License Plates. These plates honor those who have enrolled to protect their nation by providing them with a plate for their awards, service, or experience. For example:
    • Army Reserve
    • Purple Heart
    • Vietnam Veteran
    • Ex-Prisoner of War
  • Classic Car License Plate. For vehicles older than 25 years, antique or special plates can be issued. For example:
    • Historical Cars
    • Street Rods

The fees for specialty plates vary by type. To obtain a complete list of available plates and the prices to register, please contact your local DMV office.

Personalized License Plates in New York

Any personalized license plate in New York must be approved by the DMV. Here are the guidelines that must be followed:

  • Up to 8 characters (i.e., letters and numbers)
  • Up to 6 characters for motorcycles and some specialty plates
  • Must use 1 letter but not:
    • 1 letter after 6 numbers
    • the letter “O” between numbers
    • the letter “I” as the first character
    • using “O” and “0” to represent a word
  • No profanity or inappropriate suggestions
  • Must be available for registration

Your application will be processed by the NY DMV, and you may be required to provide alternative plate numbers if your first choice is not approved.

Renewing License Plates in New York

The decal stickers on your rear license plate indicate when your vehicle’s registration will expire.

You may receive a notification in advance, reminding you that it is time to renew your registration.

Renewing your vehicle before the stickers expire lets you avoid any unnecessary late fees.

Note: Vehicle inspections are required every 12 months, and you may be required to submit a certificate upon renewal.

Lost, Broken, or Stolen License Plates in New York

It is possible to replace any lost, stolen, or broken license plates at the NY DMV.

If your license plates were stolen, you may be required to submit a police report.

All replacements require the following:

  • Replacement application and documents
  • Surrendering of license plates (for damaged plates, or if 1 license plate remains after a theft)
  • Vehicle’s registration documents
  • Payment for replacement

You may have to wait for your replacement plates to arrive by mail.

Note: Replacements for stolen license plates are free with a valid police report.

Transferring and Surrendering License Plates in New York

You may transfer your license plates to a new car if you have sold your previous vehicles. Your license plates cannot be transferred to anyone when sold.

When you transfer your plates, you’ll be required to pay a transfer fee at the DMV.

If you are not going to purchase a new vehicle, you may be required to surrender your license plates. You are also required to surrender your license plates when you move to a new state.

Note: Motorcycle license plates do not have to be surrendered.

Summary of Fees for New York License Plates

License plates fees in New York vary by plate type and vehicle type. You may be required to pay state taxes and service fees in addition to the standard registration fees.

The following is a summary of some of the standard registration fees in New York:

  • Registration for License Plates: $25
  • Temporary License Plates: $12.50
  • Personalized License Plates:
    • Passenger Vehicles: $60
    • Motorcycles: $35
  • Replacement License Plates:
    • Application Fee: $3.75
    • Replacement per Plate: $12.50
  • Plate Surrender Processing Fee: $1

Your renewal fees will be based on your vehicle type and the type of license plate that you chose to register.

Looking Up License Plates in New York

You can look up license plates in New York using the search bar above.

All you need is the plate number and the state, and you can find out whether the plate number is available.

If the license plate is registered to a vehicle, you can obtain additional information, such as:

  • Car ID
  • Submitted reports
  • Related media