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Texas License Plate Search

License plates from Texas can be obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

It is possible to apply for specialty, disability, or temporary plates instead of the state’s standard license plate.

Most Texas license plates can be personalized to have a custom plate number.

Sample Texas License Plate

Sample Texas License Plate

Applying for License Plates in Texas

Texas residents can apply for license plates at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.

New residents with an out-of-state vehicle must register within 30 days. Residents who purchase a new or used vehicle must also register within 30 days.

To register, the following is required:

  • Titling documents
  • Completed registration forms
  • Valid ID
  • Proof of insurance
  • Emissions test results
  • Lien information (if applicable)
  • Payment for registration fees

All vehicles must have license plates when being operated in the state of Texas. For cars, vans, and trucks, license plates are required at the front and rear. For motorcycles and trailers, it is only necessary to have license plates at the rear.

Types of License Plates in Texas

There are various types of license plates available in Texas in addition to the standard license plates. The standard plate issued by the DMV in Texas has a white background with black lettering.

Other types of Texas license plates include:

  • Temporary license plates
  • Specialty license plates
  • Disability license plates

Temporary License Plates in Texas

Temporary license plates are required to drive legally while completing the registration process for a vehicle.

If you purchase a vehicle from a private seller, you must obtain temporary plates in advance from an authorised provider (i.e., a Texas DMV office or car dealership).

Purchasing a vehicle from a dealership often includes temporary plates provided by the dealer.

Temporary license plates in Texas are valid for 5 days.

Specialty License Plates in Texas

Specialty license plates are available from the DMV in Texas, such as:

  • Military License Plates. For military personnel, honoring their service, awards, and experiences. For example:
    • Purple Heart Plates
    • Bronze Cross Plates
    • U.S. Army Plates
  • Organizational License Plates. Special plates that support a cause, charity, or organization. For example:
    • Boy Scouts of America Plates
    • Fight Terrorism Plates
    • American Quarter Horse Society Plates
  • School License Plates. Stylized plates with school crests for alumni, students, faculty, and supporters. For example:
    • Phi Beta Sigma Plates
    • Kelley Highschool Plates
    • University of Texas Plates
  • Occupational License Plates. Commemorate select services provided in Texas. For example:
    • EMT Plates
    • Firefighter Plates
    • Police Emblem Plates

To obtain a specialty license plates, you can apply online, by mail, or in person (when you register your vehicle).

A complete list of specialty plates along with their fees can be obtained from your local DMV office.

Personalized License Plates in Texas

It is possible to personalized most license plates in Texas. Personalization allows you to add a custom plate number as long as it follows these guidelines from the DMV:

  • Up to 7 characters long
  • No profanity or misleading suggestions
  • Available for registration

Personalized plates require approval from the DMV before being issued. If approved, there are additional fees for registering these plates.

Transferring License Plates in Texas

If you are the owner of another vehicle or purchase a new vehicle, you can transfer your license plates for free.

The vehicle to which you are transferring your plates, whether owned or leased, must be in your name.

It is not possible to transfer license plates from one owner to another.

If you do not require your license plates, they must be surrendered to the DMV.

Surrendering License Plates in Texas

You may be required to surrender your license plates if you:

  • Move out of state
  • Have damaged plates and apply for replacements
  • Cancel your vehicle’s insurance
  • No longer require your plates

Plates can be surrendered by mailing or bringing them in person to DMV office.

Lost, Damaged, or Stolen License Plates

If your Texas license plates are lost, damaged, or stolen, you must obtain replacements from the DMV.

To apply for replacements, you must:

  • Submit an application for lost, damaged, or stolen plates
  • Surrender any license plates remaining
  • Provide payment for replacement fees

Note: Old and faded license plates must also be replaced, to ensure your plates are visible on the road.

Renewing License Plates in Texas

You should receive a notification in the mail well before the registration for your vehicle’s license plates expires.

You can submit your renewal payment and any necessary documents:

  • By mail
  • In person
  • Online

Once your renewal has been processed, you’ll receive new registration stickers to apply to your rear license plate.

Summary of Fees for Texas License Plates

The following summarizes a few of the required fees when registering your vehicle with the DMV:

  • Vehicle Registration & Renewal:
    • Vehicles: $51.75
    • Heavy vehicles (6,001 to 10,000 lbs): $54
    • Trailers: $45
  • Transfer fee: Free
  • Replacement Plates:
    • Plates & Stickers: $6

Not shown are taxes, service fees, and any other fees required to obtain and maintain your license plates. Fees vary by plate type and vehicle. To obtain an estimate for registering your vehicle, contact a DMV office in your county.

Looking Up License Plates in Texas

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

After submitting your desired plate number for personalization, you can learn whether it is available or not.

You can also search for information associated with a vehicle, such as:

  • Vehicle history
  • Reports
  • Media (photos, videos, etc.)

FindByPlate offers you a free search tool to look up license plates in Texas and any other state in the U.S.