1. Get Started With License Plate Assistance Online

In most states, you cannot apply for or replace a license plate online. Instead, most states require you to request a new or duplicate license plate in person at a DMV office. However, certain states or counties may allow you to complete these transactions online. In any case, you must apply for a new license plate within a few days of your vehicle’s date of purchase. To do so, you must provide a certificate of title, odometer disclosure, smog certification (if applicable) and bill of sale (if needed). Then, you must pay any applicable DMV service fees. To prepare for this procedure and save time, download our informative online guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know about standard and custom license plates. In it, you will also learn about requesting, renewing and replacing a car registration.

2. By Mail

In most states, you cannot apply for a license plate by mail. However, many states allow you to replace or surrender a license plate by sending the required materials through the mail. When replacing a plate, you will be required to send a completed application form containing personal details and vehicle specifications to the appropriate DMV mailing address. If you wish to surrender an existing license plate after selling your vehicle, you may do so by mailing the plate to the correct DMV branch in your state. Due to mailing and processing times, be mindful that the mail-in method may subject you to certain delays.

3. In Person at a DMV Office

You will most likely need to visit a DMV office in person to apply for a license plate in your state. During your visit, you will be asked to provide proof of identity, documents that verify your car ownership and a completed application form. In addition, you will be required to pay the applicable DMV fees, which vary depending on whether you apply for a standard or personalized license plate. When visiting a DMV, you may also replace or transfer an existing license plate, as long as those procedures are offered in your state. To avoid mistakes or taking additional trips to the DMV, make sure that you are fully prepared for license plate transactions prior to filing your application.


Car owners may pick an Illinois DMV license plate among the several different types offered by the Office of the Secretary of State (SOS). Overall, motorists must apply for new registration plates when they register and title their cars in the state. Moreover, all vehicles must display two car registration plates and license plate validation decals.

Furthermore, car owners must renew license plate credentials before their registration period expires, or replace car tags that have been stolen or have become damaged over time. To learn more about how to get a license plate in IL after purchasing a new or used vehicle, review the information below.

Types of License Plates in Illinois

When drivers need to obtain car registration plates and decals in Illinois, they may choose from several different types of car tags. For instance, popular IL car registration tags include basic passenger vehicle plates, disability plates, military tags, specialty plates, vanity plates and personalized plates. Specialty SOS car tags include B-truck plates, antique vehicle or motorcycle plates, first responder plates, university tags, or plates containing professional sports teams as themes.

How to Apply for a License Plate in Illinois

Vehicle owners may apply for new registration plates when they register their cars with the Illinois Office of the Secretary of State. After purchasing a vehicle from a private seller, drivers may visit a local SOS facility to apply in person. Otherwise, they may apply by mail. In any case, when applying for IL car registration tags, motorists must complete the appropriate application form, which may be obtained online or in person at an SOS office. Moreover, drivers must complete a tax form and submit a separate tax payment to the SOS. Furthermore, be mindful that there are different tax forms for motorists who purchase a vehicle from a car dealership and those who purchase a car from a private seller.

After completing an SOS license plate application form, car owners may submit all of the necessary paperwork in person or mail it to the appropriate SOS mailing address. For example, in addition to the application forms, applicants must submit tax forms and a payment method for the vehicle registration and licensing fees.

On the other hand, if you purchase a vehicle from a dealership rather than a private seller, the dealer will likely get a license plate through the SOS on your behalf.

How to Renew License Plate Tags in Illinois

Drivers must renew a license plate in Illinois before their registration credentials expire. As a reminder, the IL Office of the Secretary of State sends motorists a notice to complete the car registration renewal process before the vehicle’s tags are set to expire. In most cases, drivers may complete the process of renewing license plate credentials online, in person, by mail or over the phone. In general, applicants do not need to submit the renewal notice when applying by mail or in person, but they do need a renewal notice to renew their car tags online or over the phone. Additionally, drivers may only renew SOS car tags online through the official state portal if they do not need to change their name in their credentials.

For car owners wondering how to renew license plate stickers or tags over the phone, it is important to note that they may only request a renewal through this method if they can provide a credit card as a payment method and can provide the SOS with a registration ID and PIN.

How to Replace License Plates in Illinois

Motorists must begin the process of replacing license plate stickers or tags as soon as these documents become illegible, sustain significant damages or disappear from the vehicle. To replace license plate in Illinois, vehicle owners must complete an application form and submit it along with a payment method for the replacement fees. Overall, license plate stickers or tags can be replaced in person or by mail. Anyone missing license plate stickers after ordering replacements or completing a renewal may need to complete additional steps. Furthermore, if you lose both license plates you were given, the SOS will provide you with a new license plate number, unless you specify that you want to retain your current plate number.

How to Transfer License Plates in Illinois

If you wish to transfer your Illinois SOS car tags from one vehicle to another, you may do so by completing an application form and submitting it in person or by mail. Additionally, make sure to submit your completed car registration tag application form along with a copy of the vehicle’s current registration card for the license plate number that you are transferring. On the other hand, be mindful that you can only transfer a license plate from one vehicle to another if you own both vehicles.

Illinois License Plate Fees

Fees for purchasing new registration plates in Illinois vary depending on the type of vehicle and the specific car tag you are applying for. In addition to the standard SOS license plate cost, vehicle owners must pay general car registration and titling fees. Furthermore, additional fees will be charged in the case of renewals, replacements and transfers.

The fee for a non-personalized standard license plate is $101. This the actually the fee to register your car in Illinois, as you are issued a license plate at the time of registration.

License Plate Lookups in Illinois

Before you purchase a used vehicle, you may perform an online SOS car tag lookup to learn more about the vehicle’s history and performance. Generally, an Illinois SOS license plate lookup can provide you with details about the vehicle’s manufacturer, safety ratings, recall information (if applicable) and details pertaining to the vehicle’s previous owner. Thus, license plate lookups can provide you with peace of mind when purchasing a used vehicle.

Last updated on Friday, January 18 2019.

Have a Question? Get Quick Online Answers!