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Ohio License Plate Search

If you purchase a new vehicle in the state of Ohio, you can obtain a 45-day temporary plate to drive legally on the roads. When registering the vehicle with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, it is possible to apply for standard, specialty, or disability license plates, which can also be personalized.

There may be availability and eligibility requirements. The fees for license plates in Ohio vary by type.

Sample Ohio License Plate

Sample Ohio License Plate

Applying for License Plates in Ohio

All vehicles owned by Ohio residents must be registered with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

License plates must be securely attached to both the front and rear of cars, trucks, and vans—or, for motorcycles and trailers, only to the rear. Registration stickers must be up to date and clearly visible at all times.

When applying for license plates in Ohio, you can visit a local BMV office. You may be required to provide the following:

  • Vehicle title
  • Proof of insurance
  • Valid ID (i.e., Ohio driver’s license)
  • Completed application forms
  • Payment for registration fees (see Summary of Fees for Ohio License Plates)

If you become a new resident in the state of Ohio, or if you are a current resident purchasing a new vehicle, you must register with the BMV as soon as possible.

Types of License Plates in Ohio

The state of Ohio issues a standard license plate to you when you register your vehicle. You also have the option to apply for:

  • Specialty License Plates
  • Disability License Plates & Placards
  • Personalized License Plates

Fees and eligibility requirements vary by plate type.

Specialty License Plates in Ohio

Specialty license plates contain decorative designs of organizations, occupations, educational institutions, special causes, and more. The following are some of the specialty plates available:

  • Special Interest License Plates of hobbies, organizations, and causes; for example:
    • Breast Cancer Awareness Plates
    • Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame Plates
  • Collegiate License Plates of colleges, universities, fraternities, and sororities; for example:
    • Ohio State University Plates
    • Ohio Northern University Plates
  • Military License Plates of awards, military service, and experience; for example:
    • Purple Heart Plates
    • Persian Gulf Plates
  • Historical License Plates for vehicles at least 25 years old; for example:
    • Classic Cars
    • Street Rods

You can obtain a complete list of specialty license plates, pricing, and eligibility requirements by contacting an Ohio BMV office or online.

Disability License Plates & Placards in Ohio

If you have a disability, you can apply for special disability license plates and placards. You will be required to submit any supportive medical documents to be eligible for these plates.

Disability license plates and placards are available for:

  • People with temporary disabilities
  • People with permanent disabilities
  • Veterans with disabilities
  • Public vehicles providing transportation for people with disabilities

Note: Disability placards must be visibly displayed from your vehicle's rear view mirror.

Personalized License Plates in Ohio

To personalize your license plates in Ohio, you must follow the guidelines provided by the BMV. Those guidelines require license plates to be:

  • 4 to 7 characters long (varies by plate type)
  • Without profanity or indecent suggestions
  • Available to register
  • Approved by the BMV

You can look up available license plates online to find available numbers.

Surrendering License Plates in Ohio

You may be required to surrender your license plates if:

  1. You sell your vehicle and do not transfer them to a new vehicle
  2. You move out of state with your vehicle
  3. You cancel your vehicle’s insurance

License plates can be surrendered either by mailing them or by dropping them off to a BMV office in Ohio.

Transferring License Plates in Ohio

If you purchase a new vehicle, you can transfer your old license plates. You are not permitted to give away your plates when you sell, donate, or auction your vehicle.

To transfer your license plates, you must title and register your new vehicle and pay for the transfer fee.

Replacement License Plates in Ohio

If your license plates get lost, damaged, or stolen, you can obtain replacements from a BMV office in Ohio.

You can apply for replacements:

  • Online
  • In person
  • By mail

It can take upwards of 4 weeks to process any mailed replacement applications. You may be required to obtain temporary plates to continue to drive legally on the roads.

Renewing License Plates in Ohio

The decal stickers attached to your rear license plate indicate the date that your vehicle's registration will expire. To avoid any late fees, you should renew your vehicle with the BMV in advance either:

  • In person
  • Online
  • By mail

When you receive your new decal stickers, you can continue to drive your vehicle legally on state roads.

Summary of Fees for Ohio License Plates

In addition to any taxes and service fees, you may be required to provide payment for the following:

  • Registration Fees:
    • Motorcycle: $28.50
    • Vehicles: $34.50
    • Motor home: $49.50
  • Renewal Fees:
    • Motorcycle: $28.50
    • Vehicles: $34.50
    • Motor home: $49.50
  • Registration stickers:
    • 1 year: $3.50
    • 2 years: $5.25
    • 3 years: $8
  • Personalization fee: $50 + standard registration fees
    • Renewal: $50 + standard renewal fees
  • Specialty Plates (e.g., Breast Cancer Awareness Plate):
    • Registration fee: $35 + standard registration fees
    • Renewal fee: $35 + standard renewal fees
    • Note: A portion of the fee ($25) is contributed to support cancer patients
  • Transfer Fee: $4.50
  • Replacements:
    • 1 Plate: $10.50
    • 2 Plates: $11.50
    • Registration Stickers: $4.50
  • Renewal Late Fees: $10 (added after 30 days)

Looking Up Available License Plates in Ohio

You can use the search bar above to look up available license plates in Ohio. Simply submit the license plate you want to have, and click submit. The results will reveal whether that license plate number is already registered or available.

The results of your search will also reveal some information about a license plate registered to a vehicle. You can obtain information such as vehicle history, theft, and more.

License plates can be searched not only for Ohio but also for any other state across the U.S.