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Wisconsin License Plate Search

License plates can be obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles in Wisconsin. All Wisconsin residents must register vehicles they intend to drive on state roads.

When registering a vehicle in Wisconsin, it is possible to apply for a variety of different license plates. For example, personalized plates can include a custom plate number.

Sample Wisconsin License Plate

Sample Wisconsin License Plate

Registering for License Plates in Wisconsin

All vehicles operated on Wisconsin roads require registered license plates from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

DMV offices can be found in various locations throughout the state, and applications to register vehicles should be done in person.

The DMV requires new vehicle drivers to register immediately after their purchase. They have 2 days after purchase to display a temporary or registered license plate.

For new state residents, it is mandatory to convert out-of-state vehicles with Wisconsin license plates.

Types of License Plates in Wisconsin

The standard Wisconsin license plate has a white background with black and red lettering. There is an image of a farm and the quote “America’s Dairyland” across the bottom.

Other types of license plates available in Wisconsin include:

  • Specialty license plates
  • Disability license plates
  • Personalized license plates

The above plates require additional fees, which vary by plate type.

There are also temporary license plates, which cost $3 and up to $5 for service fees.

Specialty License Plates in Wisconsin

There are various colorful and commemorative license plates provide by the DMV in Wisconsin. The following are a few choices available:

  • Amateur Radio
  • Antique
  • Celebrate Children Foundation​
  • Choose Life Wisconsin Inc.
  • Civil Air Patrol​ | Collector
  • Collector special
  • Cure childhood cancer
  • Disabled parking
  • Disabled veteran
  • Donate Life Wisconsin
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Endangered resources
  • Ex-prisoner of war
  • Firefighter
  • Freemason
  • Gold Star
  • Golf Wisconsin
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Harley-Davidson/Share the road
  • Historic military vehicle
  • Hobbyist
  • In God We Trust​​​​
  • Lao Veteran​
  • Law Enforcement Memorial
  • Lions Foundation
  • Marquette University​
  • Medal of Honor | Military
  • Milwaukee Brewers
  • Milwaukee Bucks​
  • Nurses change lives
  • Personalized
  • Rescue squad member
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • Sample
  • Scouting alumni
  • Special Group​​
  • Trout Unlimited
  • University
  • U.S. Veteran motorcycle
  • Whitetails Unlimited
  • Wisconsin National Guard​
  • Wisconsin Salutes Veterans​
  • Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation

Some of these specialty license plates have eligibility requirements to be met before they can be issued. For example, occupation plates require proof of particular employment.

Disability License Plates in Wisconsin

Disability license plates and placards give people with disabilities access to designated parking spaces in the state. To qualify for these plates or placards, medical proof may be required.

Disability license plates are issued to:

  • Vehicles offering transportation services to people with disabilities
  • People with permanent disabilities

Disability placards are issued to people with:

  • Temporary disabilities
  • Permanent disabilities
  • Veterans with disabilities

Personalized License Plates in Wisconsin

Most of the standard license plates issued by the DMV in Wisconsin can be personalised with a custom plate number.

Personalized plates, depending on the type, can be 1 to 7 letters and/or numbers long. It is not permissible to create license plates with:

  • Indecent suggestions
  • Misleading suggestions
  • Crude language
  • Inappropriate slang

It is possible to check availability before applying, to ensure that a plate number is available. Run a free personalized plate search by using the search bar above.

Replacement License Plates

Lost, stolen, or damaged license plates can be replaced by submitting an application to the DMV. Replacements can be provided for both license plates and decal stickers.

It may be required to report stolen plates to the police and obtain a police report.

When submitting an application, the payment required for the replacement plate fee is $10 for standard plates.

Transferring License Plates in Wisconsin

All license plates must remain with the registered person, even if they sell their vehicle. License plates cannot be transferred to a new person. They can only be transferred to a new vehicle that is titled in the same name.

If license plates are not transferred and are no longer needed, it is legal to destroy the plates to prevent others from using them.

It is not necessary to surrender license plates when they are no longer required for use.

Renewing License Plates in Wisconsin

Before a license plate registration expires, it is possible to apply for a renewal:

  • Online
  • In person
  • By mail

If you go to a DMV office in person, they can provide new decals immediately. Online and mailed-in renewals may require a couple weeks before the decals arrive.

Typically, a vehicle is valid for 1 year, though other options may be available for different vehicle types.

All vehicles must have up-to-date decals that are clearly visible to avoid penalties.

Fees for Wisconsin License Plates & Registration

Registering a vehicle in Wisconsin requires numerous fees, such as:

  • Service fees
  • Vehicle registration fees
  • Titling fees
  • Wheel tax (if applicable)

Here are some fees that are required when registering or renewing a vehicle with Wisconsin license plates:

  • Vehicle Registration Fee:
    • Passenger Vehicles: $75
    • Motorcycle: $23
  • Duplicate Registration Fee: $2
  • Temporary Plate Fee:
    • Order: $3
    • Service Fee: $5 (if applicable)
  • Replacement Fee:
    • Standard plates: $10
    • Decals: Free
  • Titling Fee: $69.50
  • Wheel Tax (for all vehicles less than 8,000 lbs):
    • Fees are determined by resident’s location
    • E.g., Lincoln County: $20

Looking Up License Plates in Wisconsin for Free

It is possible to look up license plates numbers in Wisconsin and other states in the U.S.

You can find information about a vehicle, such as:

  • Bad drivers
  • Car accidents
  • Car history (e.g., thefts)
  • Media (pictures, videos, etc.)
  • Submitted reports

When considering a used vehicle from a private seller, you can use this information to make an informed decision before you purchase.