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West Virginia License Plate Search

You must register your vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles if you are a resident of West Virginia.

Application forms, relevant documents, and payment of fees must be submitted to have your vehicle processed.

When you apply, it is possible to order special license plates.

Sample West Virginia License Plate

Sample West Virginia License Plate

Applying for License Plates in West Virginia

If you are a resident of West Virginia, you can register your vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

New residents have 30 days to register their vehicles.

If you purchase a vehicle from a private dealer, you may be required to pick up temporary license plates to be able to drive legally on state roads.

Applying for license plates in West Virginia can be done at a local DMV office.

Types of License Plates in West Virginia

West Virginia’s standard issued license plate has a white, blue and yellow striped background with yellow and navy blue lettering. It has “Wild, Wonderful” and “West Virginia” written on it.

In place of the standard license plate, you can also apply for:

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

Most plates can be personalized with a custom plate number.

After you receive your license plates, they must be secured to both the front and rear of your vehicle. Motorcycles only require a license plate on the rear.

You will also receive decals, which must be placed on the rear plate only.

Specialty License Plates in West Virginia

You can choose from a variety of colorful and decorative specialty license plates for West Virginia. These plates commemorate and support special groups, organizations, occupations, and more. For example:

  • College License Plates. Commemorate and support universities, scholarships, sororities, and fraternities.
    • Virginia Tech Plates
    • West Virginia Plates
    • Penn State Plates
  • Special License Plates. Decorative and supportive plates for organizations, occupations, charities, nonprofits, and more.
    • League of Postmasters Plates
    • NASCAR Plates
    • Support Our Troops Plates
  • Military License Plates. Available only to those who served in the U.S. military to remember their experience, awards, and service.
    • Veterans of War Plates
    • Honorary Medal Plates
    • U.S. Army Plates
  • Other License Plates. Special plates for older vehicles of a certain age.
    • Classic Car Plates
    • Vintage Vehicle Plates

You must apply for these plates and show any required proof of eligibility (e.g., occupational plates require a copy of your employment).

Disability License Plates in West Virginia

Disability license plates and placards are issued to:

  • People with a permanent or temporary disability
  • Veterans with a disability
  • Vehicles providing transportation to people with disabilities.

Placards must be clearly visible from within the vehicle. They permit the owner to park in designated parking spaces in the community.

Personalized License Plates in West Virginia

You can personalize your license plate only if it:

  • Has up to 7 characters (i.e., letters and numbers)
  • Is original and available
  • Does not use inappropriate language

Applications will be reviewed before being approved or rejected. The cost for registering personalized license plates varies by type.

Transferring & Surrendering License Plates in West Virginia

If you purchase a new vehicle in West Virginia, you can transfer your license plates. When transferring your plates, you must submit the following:

  • Transfer application forms
  • Payment of transfer fees

You are not permitted to transfer your license plates to a new person. If you no longer require your license plates, you should surrender them to a local DMV office.

You may also have to surrender your license plates if you:

  • Apply for replacements plates
  • Upgrade to a specialty plate
  • Move to a new state
  • Cancel your vehicle’s insurance

Replacement License Plates in West Virginia

If your license plates are lost, worn out, damaged, or stolen, you can submit an application for replacements.

You’ll be required to provide:

  • Completed application forms
  • Copy or proof of vehicle’s registration documents
  • Payment of replacement plate fees

It is possible to apply for replacements either online or in person.

Renewing License Plates in West Virginia

You may receive a notification that your license plates are soon to expire. It is your responsibility to renew your license plates prior to the expiration date on the rear plate.

After you have completed the renewal process (i.e., paid the renewal fees), you will receive new decal stickers that remain valid for the duration of their time.

Renewal fees vary by plate type and vehicle type.

Paying for License Plates in West Virginia

When you are submitting payments for registration fees, you may use the following:

  • Cash
  • Credit card
  • Money order
  • Check

You should write your checks and process your money orders to the DMV accordingly. It is not advised to send cash in the mail. 

Overview of Fees for License Plates in West Virginia

There are various registration fees required in West Virginia. The following are a few that may be required:

  • Vehicle Registration:
    • 1 year registration: $51.50
    • 2 year registration: $103
  • Personalization:
    • Standard Plate: $66.50
  • Replacement License Plates:
    • Plates: $10.50
    • Decals: $10

The fees above do not include state taxes, service fees, or any other additional fees required during registration.

You can contact the DMV on (800) 642-9066 if you have any questions about your vehicle's registration (e.g., fees, required documents).

Looking Up License Plates in West Virginia

If you want to check for available plate numbers, use the search bar above.

You can also use it to submit known license plates in West Virginia or to obtain any submitted background information, like bad reports, vehicle history, and images.