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Rhode Island License Plate Search

Rhode Island residents and new car owners must register their vehicles in order to drive legally on state roads. When registering your vehicle, you can choose from a variety of custom plate designs.

If you want to personalize your license plate in Rhode Island, you can look up available license plate numbers online.

Sample Rhode Island License Plate

Sample Rhode Island License Plate

Applying for License Plates in Rhode Island

All license plates are handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles in Rhode Island.

If you are purchasing a new vehicle, you’ll require a temporary license plate. If you have an out-of-state car (i.e., for new residents), you are required to provide the following:

  • Rhode Island Driver’s License
  • Bill of Sale
  • Title
  • Valid Insurance
  • Payment for temporary plates: $10

Note: Out-of-state vehicles have 30 days from arrival to register with the DMV. People who purchase vehicles from a dealer will have their registration done by the dealers.

Alternative License Plates in Rhode Island

Aside from the standard plates issued by the state of Rhode Island (white with blue wave and dark blue characters), you can also obtain the following:

  • Specialty Plates
  • Vanity Plates
  • Charity Plates
  • Disability Plates

Additional documentation and fees may apply to these special types of license plates.

Specialty Rhode Island License Plates

Some of these specialty Rhode Island license plates may be the perfect alternative for the standard license plate. Keep in mind that there are additional fees on top of the standard registration costs.

  • Plates Requiring Eligibility:
    • EMT License Plates
    • Firefighter License Plates
    • Amateur Radio License Plates
  • Military Veterans Plates:
    • Former POW License Plates
    • Purple Heart License Plates
    • Veteran Gold Star License Plates
  • Antique License Plates

You should contact your local Rhode Island DMV to obtain more information about the specialty license plates you can register.

Vanity Plates in Rhode Island

Vanity plates allow you to create your own custom characters for your license plate.

Custom plates must follow these rules:

  1. Has 2 to 6 numbers or letters
  2. Is unique and original
  3. Cannot be offensive

Before you go to the DMV, you may want to check for available plate numbers. 

The fees for vanity plates do not include the standard registration fees. See the overview of costs for license plates, below.

Charity License Plates in Rhode Island

If you enjoy contributing to local charities, you can register your vehicle and represent your favorite cause. The fees for these plates do not include the usual registration fees, taxes, and any additional fees.

Charity plates available in Rhode Island:

  • Gloria Breast Cancer Resource Foundation:
    • $20 supports their cancer screening program
    • $41.50 specialized plate fee
  • Plum Beach Lighthouse
    • $20 supports lighthouse preservation initiatives
    • $41.50 specialized plate fee
  • New England Patriots
    • $20 supports New England Patriot charity
    • $41.50 specialized plate fee
  • Community Food Bank
    • $20 supports the food bank
    • $41.50 specialized plate fee

Remember, registering a charity plate supports the organization and assists their efforts.

Disability License Plates in Rhode Island

If you have a disability, you can apply for the following license plates and placards in Rhode Island:

  • Temporary Placard: issued for 2 to 12 months
  • Long-Term Disability Placard: issued for 1 to 3 years
  • Permanent Disability Placard: issued for 3+ years
  • Disabled Veterans Placard: issued to fully disabled veterans due to military service

Upon receiving a disability placard, you are permitted to park in parking spots designated for people with disabilities.

Transfer License Plates in Rhode Island

If you purchase a new vehicle, you can transfer your license plates without any problems. In the event that the name changes, you’ll have to surrender your plates.

You may have to pay a title transfer fee of $51.50 to obtain plates for your new vehicle.

Surrender License Plates in Rhode Island

Under the following circumstances, you must surrender your vehicle’s license plates:

  • You move to a new state or country
  • You upgrade to customized license plates

When you surrender your license plates, you can bring them in person to the nearest DMV or an AAA office (for members only).

Lost or Stolen License Plates in Rhode Island

If your license plates are lost or stolen, you must apply for replacements right away.

Stolen license plates should always be reported to the police to prevent abuse and misuse.

When you go to the DMV, you can apply for new license plates and request a duplicate of the original. You’ll be required to wait 90 days before receiving your original plates again.

Note: For damaged plates, you can mail them in with an application to have them replaced.

Overview of Costs for Rhode Island License Plates

When you register your vehicle at a Rhode Island DMV, fees are determined by your vehicle’s weight and type. In addition to the taxes you must pay, there are a few standard fees, including:

  • Vehicle Registration: Varies by weight
  • Other Fees:
    • Temporary Tags: $10
    • Replacement Fee: $31.50
    • Ownership document (vehicles with no title): $11.50
    • New Title Fee: $51.50
    • Title transfer fee: $51.50
    • Duplicate title fee: $51.50

Note: Your decals are free when you register your vehicle.

Looking Up License Plates in Rhode Island

Before purchasing a vehicle, you can find out whether it was stolen, and other vital information, by performing an online license plate search.

You can also check the availability of personalized plates and plate numbers using this online search tool.