Vehicle owners must apply for a DMV license plate in Alaska through the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which is managed by the state Department of Administration (DOA). All passenger vehicles must display two car registration plates with a month and year sticker on the back plate. Moreover, motorcycles or trailers must display one car tag with a month and year tab.

As a general rule, drivers must obtain new registration plates within 10 days of establishing state residency or within 30 days of acquiring a new or used vehicle. However, the process to get a license plate varies depending on whether motorists purchase a vehicle from a dealership or private seller. To learn more about the various ways to obtain a car tag, as well as how to renew, transfer or replace an existing one, review the information below.

Types of License Plates in Alaska

The Alaska DMV provides vehicle owners with various new car tags options to choose from. For instance, standard car registration plates include the following types: standard gold, grizzly bear, mountain and caribou. Other types of tags include disability plates, fraternal orders, military plates, specialty plates, university plates or license plates that allow drivers to support their favorite causes or organizations, such as the Blood Bank of Alaska or the Veterans Commemorative tag.

If you purchase your vehicle from a car dealership, the dealer will provide you with a temporary tag to use until your new license plate arrives. Conversely, if you purchase your vehicle from a private seller, you may obtain a one-time trip permit from your local DMV branch.

How to Apply for a License Plate in Alaska

You must obtain a DMV car tag in Alaska whenever you register a new or used vehicle with the Division of Motor Vehicles for the first time. In order to get car registration plates, you must register your vehicle in person with your local DMV office and pay all of the applicable license plate and registration fees.

In addition, you must submit your vehicle’s current registration card, title certificate and a completed application form for your title and vehicle registration. If you purchase your vehicle from a car dealership, however, be mindful that most dealers will complete this application process and apply for your new registration plates on your behalf.

Note: If you need to get a license plate but live more than 50 miles from a DMV office, you may register your vehicle and apply for new license plates by mail.

How to Renew License Plate Tags in Alaska

Vehicle owners must renew license plate tabs every two years. Upon renewing a license plate in Alaska, drivers must also complete the vehicle registration renewal process and pay the registration renewal fees.  As a reminder of a car’s upcoming license plate renewal, the AK DMV will mail motorists a registration application or a pre-bill renewal notice two months prior to the vehicle’s expiration date. After renewing your car tags, the DMV will send new month and year tabs to your mailing address, which you must place on their rear license plate.

Many motorists wonder how to renew license plate credentials. Overall, Alaska residents may complete this procedure online, in person or by mail. In order to apply for a car tag renewal online, applicants must refer to their vehicle’s registration renewal notice and find their vehicle’s registration renewal number (RRN). Otherwise, they must enter their vehicle’s license plate number or the last two digits of the vehicle identification number (VIN).

Conversely, if you wish to renew car tags by mail, you must complete a registration application or renewal notice and send it back to the DMV, along with a payment method for the registration renewal. Furthermore, if you wish to renew AK license plates in person, you may visit a local DMV office and submit your current registration certificate, registration renewal notice or completed application form.

How to Replace License Plates in Alaska

If you damage or misplace your AK car registration tags or stickers, you may request replacement tags in person at a DMV facility. Otherwise, you may request these replacement credentials by mail. However, you may only replace car tags by mail if you are out-of-state or live further than 50 miles from a motor vehicle office.

When replacing license plate credentials, you must complete the appropriate application form and submit it along with a copy of the vehicle registration certificate. You must also include an acceptable payment method for all of the applicable replacement fees.

How to Transfer License Plates in Alaska

If you wish to transfer your current car registration plates from one vehicle to another, you must do so in person. That is also the case if you recently purchased a vehicle and the certificate of title is not yet in your name. However, you may transfer your DMV car tags by mail if both vehicles are already titled in your name. As a general rule, you cannot place your registration tags on your new vehicle until you receive your new registration certificate and tabs. Thus, to transfer your DMV license plates, you must complete the following steps:

  • Complete the appropriate application form and include a statement in the affidavit section notifying the DMV that you wish to transfer your current plates to a new vehicle.
  • Provide the Alaska DMV with copies of the registration certificates for both vehicles. Alternately, you may submit a letter with the serial numbers and descriptions of each vehicle.
  • Pay the applicable transfer fees.

Alaska License Plate Fees

When applying for new registration plates in Alaska, vehicle owners must pay a fee for the specific type of license plate they choose. Overall, the fees for car registration plates vary according to the particular type of vehicle you own. The standard plate fee is $30. Specialty plates supporting various vary in price. On the other hand, disability plates are typically free of cost to vehicle owners who qualify for them.

When replacing car tags, motorists must pay a replacement fee per license plate or year tab. Moreover, vehicle owners must typically pay a transfer fee if they decided to transfer a car tag, unless they are transferring the certain specialty license plates. Furthermore, the DMV license plate renewal fees vary depending on the vehicle type and its model year. When undergoing this procedure in person, drivers must pay an additional walk-in fee.

License Plate Lookups in Alaska

When purchasing a new vehicle and applying for car registration plates in Alaska, you may perform an online license plate lookup to find out details about your vehicle’s manufacturer, as well as its safety ratings and recall information. You can also get car tag ownership information, details pertaining to the vehicle’s history and more.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.